The number one complication of childbirth is a perinatal mood disorder (postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.) Up to 1 in 7 women will experience a perinatal mood disorder during or after pregnancy. I was one of them following the birth of my daughter in 2013. My obstetrician did administer a postpartum screening assessment, but at just 6 weeks postpartum I was not yet ready to face my depression following what was supposed to be the most joyous event of my life, so I was not honest about what I was feeling. This is an unfortunate reality for many mothers struggling with a perinatal mood disorder. Up to 85% of these women will not get the help they need. Efforts are being made to improve screening and detection to include pediatricians who will see the mother/infant dyad several times during that first year. If I had been screened at one or several of the well child visits that first year as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics it could have saved me from one of the worst years of my life. I am joining efforts with the California maternal mental health collaborative by helping to spread the word and improve screening and detection. I want to help close the gap in maternal mental health by improving screening and education for mothers. For more information visit www.2020mom.org and www.thebluedotproject.org.
Marissa Zwetow, LMFT