Postpartum depression is the most common medical complication of pregnancy in Canada yet only one in three pregnant or postpartum women get the mental health treatment they need. May 2, 2018, World Maternal Mental Health Day, recognizes that a mother’s mental health is critical to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of herself and her children.
“There was once a time in my life where I felt having children was unattainable due to my struggles with mental health,” says Cheryl Botas. “Not only has working with the IWK’s Reproductive Mental Health Centre given me the courage to embark on the journey of motherhood but it has also allowed me to grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I am the best version of myself and in turn the best parent to my child.”
The adjustment to mothering is always a big step in a woman’s personal development. One in seven women will develop a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the postpartum. The good news is that treatment is available. Talk therapy is a safe and effective treatment for both depression and anxiety. In some cases, medication treatment is needed or preferred.
The IWK Reproductive Mental Health Service is a clinic dedicated to the treatment of mental health conditions in pregnancy and postpartum. Together with family doctors, midwives and obstetricians, they can help women decide what type of treatment is best for their health as they adjust to motherhood.
“Too many mothers suffer in silence. We want families to know that there is help available,” says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, psychiatrist for reproductive mental health at the IWK. “Children need their mothers to be healthy in order to grow and thrive. If you or someone you know is struggling with motherhood, please reach out to someone you trust. You are not alone.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association, in consultation with Dr. Tulipan, will be launching a website with resources for new parents. Caringtogether.ca will go live on May 7, 2018.