Postpartum Experience During COVID-19
June 01, 2020 05:00PM
They say it takes a “village to raise a child.” But in this stage of social distancing and isolation due to COVID-19, the village feels far away. The social networks we depend on for our physical and emotional needs are less accessible. Those parents birthing and welcoming infants during this pandemic are especially vulnerable and impacted by a lack of support systems and resources that would otherwise help to protect and optimize their mental health.
As a lactation consultant and seeing families in the clinic, I am hearing common themes of missing friends and family, sadness that grandparents are unable to hold the newborn, feeling exhausted and wanting a “break” and mourning the loss of what many parents had anticipated to be a joyful experience of introducing their newborn to loved ones. These same families share that maintaining connections by phone or video chats has been helpful. And food and diaper drop-offs at the door are still well-appreciated.
Many experts report that new mothers are at an increased risk for postpartum depression, anxiety and mood disorders during COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember that postpartum mood disorders are not a sign of weakness or inadequacy. It is, however, important to seek early professional help from a medical provider or therapist. As Healthychildren.org shares, “Your pediatrician is an excellent resource for understanding your baby and your own needs, including those related to postpartum depression.”
Under “normal” circumstances, caring for a newborn and recovering from delivery is challenging. It is more important than ever for new parents to prioritize their emotional health and reach out for care if needed. The village may look and feel a little different, but it still exists. You are not alone, we are here to listen and connect you with supportive resources.