May 8, 2014 8:06 am

Maternal mental health day draws attention to postpartum depression

Watch above: one mother opens up about her battle with postpartum depression

SASKATOON – One in every five women in Saskatchewan will experience depression during or after their pregnancy. In light of this statistic, May 7 was designated Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day.

One local mother was brave enough to speak to Global News about her experience in the hopes she can help even just one mom come forward who’s suffering.

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Four years ago, Amy Plowman said she couldn’t have been happier to find out she was expecting. The pregnancy was planned, what wasn’t were the feelings that came after her baby boy arrived including nightmares, vivid images of dropping her son down the stairs and trouble sleeping.

“I felt more overwhelmed than I think an average mother does, it just felt like too much all the time,” said Plowman.

Not aware of what postpartum depression was, Plowman approached her midwife with her concerns.

“She said ‘Okay, let me grab my screening sheet.’ She asked me a bunch of questions and said ‘Okay, yep looks like you have some postpartum’ and said you are so good at hiding, she said I would have never guessed at all.”

Plowman’s course of treatment included medication and group therapy but she admits things did get worse before they got better.

Considered the leading cause of disability for women in their childbearing years, a push continues in the province for all women to be screened for depression during their pregnancy and postpartum.

“We found early on that what screening does, yes it identifies women who are at potential for risk for anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts but it also opens up communication.” said Angela Bowen, associate professor in the college of nursing and department of physiology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Experts say data on postpartum-related deaths are difficult to track, not only in the province but throughout the country.

From one mother to another, Plowman says don’t suffer in silence if you suspect you maybe experiencing postpartum depression, reach out.

“Seek help, absolutely seek help, talk to your doctor, talk to a family member, let friends know the ones that you trust and feel comfortable with. You don’t have to tell everybody but just tell someone and seek support,” said Plowman.

Experts say data on postpartum-related deaths are difficult to track, not only in the province but throughout the country.

For more information on the universal screening and care guide and where to get help in your region for postpartum depression visit Saskatchewan Maternal Mental Health.

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