This week marks the first annual maternal suicide awareness week. Did you know such a movement existed? In my humble mom opinion, this should be more than one week on the calendar, but I will accept this as a start.
So, why have such a campaign? Let’s look at some facts (thank you 2020 Mom!):
- Depression and anxiety are the most common complications of pregnancy and postpartum, affecting 1 in 7 women. How many moms do you know….?
- Suicide is one of the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. and THE leading cause in many other countries.
- Sleep disturbance significantly increases chances of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation in adults.
- There is an approximately 5% suicide rate for women diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.
- Maternal suicide risk can last for up to one year postpartum, not just during pregnancy or immediately following birth, with the HIGHEST risk being 9-12 months postpartum.
- The U.S. does NOT currently report maternal suicide rates.
I don’t know about you, but I have lots of moms in my life…including myself. Postpartum is not something that you shake off or focus on positive thoughts about your new baby to ward off. Sometimes you need intervention to combat the hormones, the hormonal downfall, and the side effects of being a new parent to a completely dependent being. Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance are the biggest contributors to maternal suicide. For anyone who has been pregnant or given birth, you know what that those things can be daily occurrences.
If you or someone you know has recently become pregnant, given birth, or juggling multiple small children and struggling to take care of your own mental and emotional wellness, please reach out or reach out for your fellow mama. Reaching out does NOT need to be a counselor or a medical doctor, though it IS OKAY if it that is who you need to reach out to for the assistance you need.