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Postpartum depression symptoms worse during the holidays

Click to play video 'Living with post-partum depression' Living with post-partum depression
Living with post-partum depression can be very difficult but it can be especially tough at this time of year. Sarah Komadina reports. – Dec 20, 2018

Postpartum mood disorders are one of the most common birth complications for women, and during the holidays symptoms are amplified. That’s why it was important for Family First Maternal Wellness Centre’s owner Sara Beckel to write a blog highlighting why this time of year can be difficult for new moms.

“Who can think about Christmas when we are just trying to get through the day and survive, so the level of guilt just fuels the anxiety and just fuels the depression,” Beckel said.

“I really wanted to write this piece to reach the moms right now that are struggling, feeling hopeless and don’t know how they’re going to get over this and bring a message of hope.”

The blog titled ‘Why holidays can hurt the most as a new mother‘ offers tips and ways to deal with the pressure of the holidays while living with postpartum depression (PPD).

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The blog hit home for Riki Schmidt, who is part of the 20 per cent of women who suffer from PPD.  She didn’t recognize the symptoms until after she had her second child, Bodhi, on Dec. 8th, 2015.  It also marked a time when her sister was losing her battle to cancer.

“It was tough, I didn’t want to be around people, I didn’t want people to hold my baby, I didn’t want to put on that mask and pretend that everything was okay and celebrate the happy, joyous time,” Schmidt said.

“You’ve got the trees and the food and the (gatherings) and all of those things. You want so badly for it to be such a good time, and that’s not always the case, it could be a really hard time, trying to put on that face of ‘Oh, hi how are you, how is the year?’  And you want to say ‘it’s good’ and it’s just not.”

“For the first few years, I thought I was a terrible mom, I had every single mom guilt you could have out there,” Schmidt said.

After years of seeking help and gaining control of her depression, this is the first year Schmidt is feeling the Christmas spirit since her son was born.

“I’ve got those tools and resources and a little bit more knowledge, because it’s taken a lot of work to realize that I’m not alone and I’m doing O.K.,” Schmidt said.

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“I feel really excited and I’m looking forward to the festivities and my kids opening their presents.”

Both Beckel and Schmidt hope sharing this information will lead to more moms seeking help and learning what they can do to make their experience as a parent better.

“We really need to stop sugar coating what motherhood is, let alone what maternal mental illness looks like,” Beckel said.