For Moms

Resources for moms with symptoms of Perinatal Mood Disorders

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What are Perinatal Mood Disorders? 

Perinatal Mood Disorders include:
- Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder and PostPartum Psychosis.
- They can happen anytime from conception to one year post partum. 
- They can happen to moms, dads, surrogacy or adoptive parents.

They are common
They are not your fault  
There are treatments that work  

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Depression

Some symptoms include: 
- Sadness 
- Lack of enjoyment in things you used to enjoy 
- Lack of interest in baby 
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits 
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby 
- Ruminating thoughts
- Regularly feeling like you're a bad mom 
- Regularly feeling guilty
- Insomnia
- Feeling like it will never get better 
- Feeling powerless over feelings 
- Irritability 
- Persistent, Pervasive Anxiety 

It is different from the 'Baby Blues' - which lasts 2 weeks or less and the predominant emotion is happiness. 

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Anxiety or Panic

Some symptoms include: 
- Constant worry
- Feeling that something bad is going to happen
- Racing thoughts
- Disturbances of sleep and appetite
- Inability to sit still
- Extreme worries or fears over health/safety of baby 
- Panic Attacks 
(can include shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling.) 

2/3 of women with Perinatal Depression also had Perinatal Anxiety. 

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Some symptoms include: 
- Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.
- Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.
- A sense of horror about the obsessions
- Fear of being left alone with the infant
- Hypervigilance in protecting the infant

Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them. Read the Toronto Star Article here or click below to learn more. 

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PTSD

Approximately 9% of mothers develop symptoms of perinatal PTSD. Perinatal PTSD can be caused by; a traumatic or frightening childbirth, trauma surrounding miscarriage or stillbirth, fears for their life or the life of the baby during pregnancy or past life traumas.

Symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma, feelings of anxiety when experiencing reminders of the trauma, avoidance of reminders, hyper-vigilence (about safety of self or baby), anger, irritability or dissociation. 

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Bipolar

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

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Psychosis

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:

- Delusions or strange beliefs
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Feeling very irritated
- Hyperactivity
- Decreased need for or inability to sleep
- Paranoia and suspiciousness
- Rapid mood swings
- Difficulty communicating at times
The most significant risk factors for postpartum psychosis are a personal or family history of bipolar disorder, or a previous psychotic episode.


If you found yourself identifying with symptoms that are listed, if the symptoms are getting in the way of you living your life or if you worry about the safety of yourself or your baby, tell someone you trust and seek professional consultation as soon as possible. This professional could be your OB/GYN, Family Doctor, your child's Pediatrician or a Psycholgist who specializes in Perinatal Mental Health.  

Professional Listing

Representation on this list does not equal endorsement, but these are professionals in Edmonton, Alberta who have experience treating Perinatal Mood Disorders. 
Click on the name to email the professional. 


- Professionally Trained and Experienced - 
Edmonton
Kristine Aanderson - Registered Psychologist - www.I-Listen.ca
KristineAandersonPsychologist@gmail.com 

Dr. Gina Wong - Registered Psychologist 
ginapsychologist@gmail.com

Calgary 
Shannon Kane, MSW, RSW -  403-880-2367
www.birthnarratives.ca

When looking for a psychologist or counsellor, be sure to ask where they were trained to specialize in pregnancy/post partum mood disorders. 

Supports and Resources

Once you have connected with a professional, these resources may help to ease symptoms. 


Phone or Electronic Support 

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PSI Warmline

The PSI Warmline is a toll-free telephone number anyone can call to get basic information, support, and resources.
The Warmline messages are returned every day of the week. You are welcome to leave a confidential message any time, and one of the warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible. If you are not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect. The volunteer will give you information, encouragement, and names of resources near you.
This is not a crisis phone line, if you are in crisis phone the Distress Line or proceed to the nearest Emergency Room. 

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PSI Weekly Online Meetings

The PSI weekly online meeting is a group chat moderated by a professional to help provide information, support and resources. 

Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Get comfortable, grab a cup of tea and listen and share your story as a mom. 

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Distress Line

If you’re in distress, call 780-482-HELP (4357). If you’re outside of the greater Edmonton region, call our Rural Distress Line at 1-800-232-7288.

All Distress Line Listeners complete a comprehensive training program before taking calls on the lines. Our Listeners are non-judgmental, understanding and compassionate individuals who volunteer their time to support people in the community who are experiencing crisis. In addition to listening to a caller’s main concern, Listeners discuss each caller’s strengths and resources and can also offer information and referrals to community services and programs that can provide further support. 


Online Support Communities 

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Post Partum Stress Center

We have created this sign-up on fb to direct you to the closed support group created so moms can find support from other new moms 24/7 in a more private setting. This is especially helpful if you are concerned about the way you are feeling and the emotions you are experiencing.

Also, please keep in mind that facebook is not an appropriate forum to address clinical concerns or requests for professional guidance. If you need individual assistance, please contact your healthcare provider. If you feel this is an emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

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Facebook

Facebook has many support groups related to Perinatal Mood Disorders. These include open groups (anyone can look at posts): 
Prenatal and Postnatal Depression Support Group
- A New Day: Peer Support for Moms with PostPartum Depression 

and closed groups (you must join, but then only those in the group can see/respond): 
- Perinatal Peer Support Forum - Canada 
- Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Support 
- Pandas Foundation (Pre and PostNatal Depression Advice and Support) 


Self-Help Books

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This isn't what I expected: Overcoming Post Partum Depression

If you or someone you love is among the one in seven women stricken by PPD, you know how hard it is to get real help. In this definitive guide, postpartum experts Karen Kleiman and Valerie Davis Raskin offer compassionate support and solid advice on dealing with every aspect of PPD. 

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Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook: Practical Skills to Help You Overcome Anxiety, Worry, Panic Attacks, Obsessions, and Compulsions

New moms have a lot to be anxious about, and it's perfectly natural to have some fears during and after pregnancy.  The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook provides proven-effective strategies drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for keeping anxious thoughts at bay and getting back to the productive and positive thinking you've been missing.

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Dropping the Baby and other Scary Thoughts 

What if I drop my baby when I go down the steps? 
Thoughts like these can be frightening to new mothers, but are a common symptom pregnant and postpartum women can experience. Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts addresses the nature of these intrusive, negative and unwanted thoughts. Kleiman and Wenzel offer answers to the women who seek information, clarification, and validation in this useful resource for healthcare professionals working with these mothers.

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Moods in Motion 

Moods in Motion is a unique coloring book which addresses the specific areas of distress facing new mothers. Each illustration depicts a symptom followed by an adjoining illustration along with descriptions of recommendations for healing.


Specific Information 

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Specific Areas

Plus Sized Pregnancy/Birth
It's time we start empowering rather than shaming plus size pregnant women. Here are helpful plus size pregnancy & birth resources.

DMER
Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.
Handout for Mothers click here. 

And click HERE for an article about understanding DMER. 



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Podcasts

--> Mom and Mind This podcast focuses on the Maternal Mental Health struggles related to becoming pregnant, being pregnant, birth and early parenthood. We talk about all of the stuff that you wish someone would have told you BEFORE you tried to be pregnant or have a baby. 

--> Honest Mommas  Supporting women emotionally & spiritually on the motherhood journey. Three psychotherapists, moms, and friends share stories & interviews about pregnancy, fertility, parenting, motherhood and much more.

--> Delivering Miracles A podcast on the real, raw side of family-building including infertility, loss, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest, prematurity and healing after baby comes home.


Feeling Supported/You're not weird
(some real depictions of motherhood - and a little humour)

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Stories

6 Awesome Moms Help Break Down The Stigma About Maternal Mental Health By Sharing Their Postpartum Stories. 

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Myth Busting!

Not Feeling Like Yourself After Having a Baby?
These are the 7 Myths and Truths You Need To Know About Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

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Specific Symptoms

Perinatal Mood Disorders have many forms. Here is information about different types of symptoms: 

--> Study showing Anger is an often-overlooked sign of Perinatal Mood Disorders 

--> Study: Lack of sleep intensifies feelings of anger and irritability 

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Inspirations

We all need a little inspiration as we walk through this together. 

"Thank you Post Partum Body" is a body-positive video about our bodies


 

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Birth of a Mother

When a baby is born, so is a mother. It's important to recognize the changes to identity that happen when you become a mother. Read an article about this here. 

A new way to think about the transition to motherhood - a TED talk

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Validating your experience

Everyone's experience is unique. Getting help doesn't need to be justified. 


The Funny Stuff

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The Longest Shortest Time

The parenting show for everyone.
Stories about the surprises and absurdities of raising other humans—and being raised by them.

The Longest Shortest Time is a bold, daring podcast about parenthood in all of its forms. But you don’t need to be a parent to listen.

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Momsplaining with Kristen Bell 

In this series, creator of two tiny humans, Kristen Bell, reveals how hilariously hard motherhood can be, offering moms everywhere a fun and light-hearted escape and a few tips when it comes to the perils of parenting. New episodes every Friday!

Ali Wong's new stand up comedy special "Hard Knock Wife" also has some real, hysterical bits about pregnancy, birth and parenting. 

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Scary Mommy

We are the history makers and the memory keepers.
We are the snot catchers and the ass wipers.
We've seen it all, heard it all, and smelled it all,
but we wouldn't have it any other way.
We are millions of unique women, united by motherhood.
We are scary, and we are proud.
(warning - these posts could be activating for moms with active mood disorders) 

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Funny, yet helpful things

Mage the Vag - Hilarious YouTube video series. This episode talks about your post-baby body.

Mr. Guilt - A funny video about how guilt tries to sneak into our lives 

F*CK THAT - This guided meditation video uses humor to help you relax and breathe while acknowledging all of the craziness that is happening in your life. 

Real Life Dad - An instagram dad refuses to sugarcoat the difficulties of parenting 

PostPartum Edmonton is Operated by:

Kristine Aanderson, Registered Psychologist

I Listen Counselling Psychology
Edmonton, AB 

Contacts

Email: KristineAanderson Psychologist@gmail.com 

www.I-Listen.ca