The first of three pillars that drive our mission.
There is just so much to share about why so many people in our country traversing the prenatal, birthing and postpartum experience need safe spaces, both emotionally and physically. Despite advances in medicine and deeper understandings of early infant brain development, birthing and postpartum individuals are struggling more mentally and negative outcomes continue to rise.
Perinatal Mood Disorders are the most common complication of childbirth - perinatal depression, anxiety, OCD, rage, bipolar disorder and psychosis. One in five birthing people will experience one (1 in 3 for Black birthing people), one in ten partners or adoptive parents will experience one.
In all of these instances of need, about 75% won't reach out for help for a treatable condition that can have lifelong impacts when unsupported. It's important to note here that one of the three main causes of maternal death (in delivery and through the 1st year postpartum) is suicide.
We, at Mind Body Baby, understand that the four main reasons parents don't get help they need and deserve are the same reasons they don't get help for many challenges that come when caring for a brand new human:
Shame & Stigma
Shame and stigma around mental health issues has a long history in our country and is not relegated to perinatal mental health, but the connotation that we might not be able to handle the task of caring for our baby can help a difficult and isolating barrier.
Cost & Access
Perinatal mental health care falls through the cracks just like every other mental health care need. However, in perinatal mental health care the timing of need can be acute, families are already dealing with big increases of new costs and the nuances of how perinatal mood disorders and their symptoms present are not commonly studied - not even by OB's and gynecologists. So finding help you can access and afford has many real time barriers.
Lack of Understanding
A birthing and postpartum person and their partner don't become experts the moment baby is born. Understanding how the most common mood disorders look under the fog and immense learning curve of early parenting. Often, those who struggle express feelings of being good enough to be a parent for their baby, or feel little no connection with the baby, they can experience a barrage of scary intrusive thoughts or debilitating insomnia - not what they think of as depression or anxiety.
Fear of Repercussions
This fear is essentially a direct by product of the extensive bias that exists in perinatal care (which we will dive into a bit more later in our awareness campaign). For marginalized birthing populations in our communities - by race, culture, class, language, or size - can and do have their outreach for help judged as lack of capacity or safety for the infant, triggering potentially negative consequences by targeting or separating families.
These main obstacles are one of the driving forces behind our mission to provide nurturing, knowledge and community for perinatal families so they can be all they need to be for their children. Taking care of the parent IS taking care of the baby.
Please continue to follow us to learn more and commit to becoming a monthly Advocate for Safe Spaces, the survival of this unique community care model depends on it.
* Stat source - Postpartum Support International