Things are not as they appear, at least not when it comes to postpartum and the ease (or lack thereof) of new parenting.
Friends, social media and tv personalities tend to make parenting look effortless. Clients sit in my office crying (sometimes sobbing), asking me what they’re doing wrong and why their friend, neighbor or sister is able to take on the role of new mother so easily.
The answer: it’s NEVER easy.
Some of us are just better at outward appearances. However, it is this exact thing-this lack of honesty about the challenges and the very real struggles of being a new parent that drives women to suffer alone in silence. Utah has the second highest reported rate of Postpartum Depression in the Nation and hiding the truth about how the postpartum period can feel is only going to drive this rate up. So what can we do? Share with your friends, neighbors and sisters your struggles, and share your solutions too. Reach out When you see a new mother in your community give her a kind word.
So many mothers are crushed by disparaging statements that you may not realize. Here are some examples of what NOT to say:
Oh! Your baby is so skinny! = Your baby is not eating enough, do you have enough milk?
You’ve really got your hands full! = You don’t appear to be doing this well/You’re not a great mother
Wow, your baby cried all night (said the neighbor) = Your baby isn’t normal and you don’t know how to help him/her
Do something unexpected: Leave an iced tea (because its 102 in Farmington right now!) on the front porch. Pick a few flowers and leave them in a mason jar. Drop lunch off (everyone thinks of dinner but no one thinks of lunch). In Utah we live at an increased elevation, which scientist are finding means we are at higher risk of depression overall. This includes postpartum depression. It is important to recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety and seek out solutions.
Postpartum Support International has an extensive list of symptoms for every type of postpartum mood disorder, for purposes of this article I’d like to focus on a lesser known issue: Postpartum Anxiety. Postpartum Anxiety is seen in our practice on a weekly basis. This may be because we recognize it keenly considering one of our own suffered from acute postpartum anxiety (she’ll share her story below). Postpartum Support International lists the symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety as:
· Constant worry
· Feeling that something bad is going to happen
· Racing thoughts
· Disturbances of sleep and appetite
· Inability to sit still
· Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
Sounds just like normal postpartum right? No sleep, constant worry, the inability to ever sit down, time to eat? Really? This is what makes it so difficult for friends and family members to recognize postpartum anxiety. It masks itself as a normal worrying parent who only wants to the best for the baby and family. But postpartum anxiety is a monster who hides in a cloak of normalcy. What starts out as your average concern turns in to hours and hours of research online, dozens of calls to the doctors office, staying up all night worried about a healthy baby, skipping meals in order to focus on these concerns, pacing, jogging, worrying, researching, disconnecting from family and friends, more research, calls to doctors, check ups, late night pacing, and on and on. There’s more, so much more. Showers? No showers. Who would watch the baby? What if he/she stopped breathing? What if my spouse didn’t hear the baby? What if… what if… no shower. That’s the safest option. These are just some of the symptoms of postpartum anxiety. Postpartum anxiety may appear on its own or in combination with depression or other forms of mood changes.
What can you do? Visit: http://www.postpartum.net/ Contact your Midwife or Dr : Need a referral? https://www.miraclemidwifery.com/contact.html
Attend a local Support Group: https://www.themothersnestutah.org/for-moms-and-families/ is a Davis County Postpartum resource program
You've got this momma.
The Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative (UWNQC) this week released their report and findings for out of hospital birth trends in the state. The report identifies a staggering increase in home and birth center birth in Utah (planned home births increased by 46% and births at birth centers increased by nearly 340%). Go Utah! With Utah ranking as one of the top states in the nation for planned out of hospital births, it's important that we recognize one of the key findings of the report. Most women in Utah experiencing out of hospital birth identify as White and non-hispanic.
Right here we were going to feed you a lot of data about health disparities in Utah. But we think you know. And if you don’t we will tell you briefly that Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino, African American and Asian populations suffer the greatest health disparities in Utah. While in some of these populations infant mortality rates are dropping, overall care in early pregnancy has decreased across the board. Add to which, adolescent pregnancy has increased in all areas and postpartum health has decreased rapidly. Sadly, no agency in Utah (that we are aware of) is tracking birth and postpartum disparities among our LGBTQ+ community.
Miracle Midwifery strives to decrease the disparities among communities of need and those who are most likely to experience unfair prenatal and obstetrical treatment. However, we must strive to decrease these disparities as a community by increasing access to services and options for families in need. Read: more government and private assistance for out of hospital birth and more midwives offering services to those most at risk.
As a multi racial Native American (Shoshone) and Latina woman, Krista is one of the only women of color to own a midwifery practice and birth center in Utah. She's made it her mission to ensure Miracle Midwifery supports all families and has set up a private birth scholarship fund and accepts many payment options such as insurance, medicaid and tricare.
Read the Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative report and press release below:
(Salt Lake City, UT) – A new report from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) shows that from 2000 to 2015, planned home births increased by 46% and births at birth centers increased by nearly 340% in Utah. While the overall rate of planned out-of-hospital births is small, at 3.2% in 2015, Utah ranks in the top five states nationally for planned out-of-hospital births.
“In the early 1900s, almost all U.S. births happened outside of a hospital,” said Heather Bertotti Sarin, with UDOH and the Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative. “Today, around 1.4% of U.S. births occur in an out-of-hospital setting. For the Central and Southwest areas of our state, we see about 5% of planned births occurring in a home or birth center.”
Findings from the report showed that women who planned out-of-hospital births compared with women who planned hospital births, were:
Approximately 6.6% of planned out-of-hospital birth attempts in Utah resulted in a transfer to a hospital facility.
“We acknowledge that women have the right to choose to deliver at home or in a birth center, and women are choosing this option more frequently. Our goal is to ensure that, when necessary, maternal or neonatal transfer to the hospital is as safe and seamless as possible. We want women and their families to get the best possible care, across birth settings, by creating tools that facilitate communication and interprofessional collaboration between out-of-hospital midwives and hospital staff,” said Dr. Erin Clark, a maternal-fetal medicine physician and chair of the Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative, Out-of-Hospital Birth Committee.
The Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative is a statewide, multi-stakeholder network dedicated to improving perinatal health in Utah. The collaborative was created in November 2013 and has since created the Utah Best Practice Guidelines: Transfer to Hospital from Planned Out-of-Hospital Birth to help hospital providers and midwives ensure the health and safety of women and their infants.
“The majority of women transferred to the hospital from a home or birth center have successful deliveries. We created the transfer guidelines to increase communication and safe hospital transfer for mothers and their newborns,” stated Bertotti Sarin.
To download a copy of the report, Planned Out-of-Hospital Births in Utah, 2013-2015, visit https://bit.ly/2wIG3HB. For more information about the Utah Women and Newborns Quality Collaborative, visit http://health.utah.gov/uwnqc/index.html.