New mothers may experience changes to their mental health after giving birth. The "Baby Blues" are common for approximately 80 percent of new mothers. Women may feel sad, overwhelmed and tired for a few days after giving birth. Symptoms of the blues are brief and usually disappear on their own. Post Partum Mood Disorder (PPMD) is experienced by ten to twenty percent of new mothers and is defined as depression or anxiety that does not go away after a short time. It can occur within days of the delivery or adoption of a child, or can appear gradually, sometimes up to a year later. Post Partum Psychosis is a rare and severe reaction affecting one or two women in a thousand. It is characterized by loss of contact with reality for extended periods of time. Post Partum Psychosis requires immediate help.
Causes of Post Partum Mood Disorders:
- The causes are not fully understood.
- Hormonal, biochemical, and psychological changes after childbirth do affect a woman’s mood and behaviour.
- Isolation, lack of support, and the stress of adjusting to the new role of a parent can also play a role.
- Previous experience of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse may be a factor.
The Women's Connection Program offers a weekly maternal support program aimed at individuals who are experiencing symptoms of post partum mood disorders or would like to learn more about PPMD and live in the west end of Toronto. This group takes place on Tuesdays from 2-4PM. Childcare is provided.
For self-referral for intake and assessment regarding postpartum mood disorders, please call Grazyna at 416.537.8222, ext. 303.