Postpartum Support International has declared May to be National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. This is especially fitting since Mother’s Day is celebrated smack in the middle.
“Maternal depression” is the term that is often used to cover depression both during pregnancy and after delivery (postpartum). It’s quite common during both of these time periods – around 15 to 20%. Although it makes no rational sense, moms can feel quite guilty about not being happy while pregnant and after the baby arrives. These moms (I was one of them, as you know) often believe their condition is their fault – that somehow they’re lacking the character or strength needed to be a good mother.
Excellent and specialized care for maternal depression can speed recovery tremendously. If you’re suffering with maternal depression or know someone who might be, the most loving thing you can do is remind her that she deserves to be happy, the depression is not her fault, and give her my contact information. Offering her support and making sure she receives proper help is the best gift you can give a depressed mom in May and any other month of the year.