The title of this blog is pretty heavy. The weeks and months following a baby’s arrival can be full of ups and downs. We have all heard stories about postpartum depression or anxiety and we know that no new parent wants to feel sad after their baby arrives. However, the statistics show that around 1 in 5 women will have a “perinatal mood disorder” – the term often used to identify the full range of experiences in postpartum maternal mental health. In fact, perhaps surprisingly, perinatal mood disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy. The good news – there is help and with help virtually EVERYONE GETS BETTER!
In stark contrast to the topic of baby blues, anxiety and depression is a woman I met recently that specializes in helping women get better, Dr. Katie Sardone. Dr. Sardone is a licensed psychologist specializing in issues that effect women. We met for lunch and she is a lovely woman to chat with about life and our passion for serving families. (She also picked the restaurant and as it was amazing. I have to assume she has wonderful taste in food too!)
Dr. Sardone is the founder of Behavioral Health Dallas. She is also a faculty member at UT Southwestern Medical Center *and* is a trustee on the board of the Dallas Psychological Association. She is a member of one of my favorite organizations – Postpartum Support International. She has worked with families in many areas of life (seriously, this woman is one smart cookie!), but she is currently focusing a lot of her time on clients with perinatal mood disorders.
I asked Dr. Sardone what would be some red flags for a perinatal mood disorder and here are a few she mentioned:
- Sadness or frequent tearfulness
- Feeling guilty or blaming yourself
- Feeling anxious or worried for no reason
- Feeling scared or panicky
- Feeling apathetic or numb
- Experiencing scary thoughts
- Having thoughts about running away or harming yourself
- Having regrets about becoming a mother
Obviously these are just a few thoughts from our conversation, however, if you think you may have a perinatal mood disorder, consider checking out the Edinburgh Scale. It is an excellent tool to self screen so that you can gauge where you are at postpartum and then get the help you need. Even better, the Edinburgh scale is free and online. Dr. Sardone and I also talked about how postpartum depression, as we have traditionally referred to it, often does not present as depression at all but instead women may have symptoms that are expressed by anxiety or even with anger.
Dr. Sardone offers research-based and supportive treatments to women who are experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. Her medical background as a psychologist gives her tools to diagnosis the best treatment options for each individual (which may include medication, but certainly that is not the only course of successful treatment for women with postpartum depression). She is able to take an interdisciplinary approach to each of her client’s care and collaborates with physicians, psychiatrists, and any other specialists in order to provide comprehensive care. I asked her how it works when you start using her services and she walked me through the process which seems very straightforward.
However, we also discussed that women who are considering professional care for a perinatal mood disorder may sometimes have trouble taking that first step. I asked about ways that doulas, other healthcare providers, and family can get involved to make that first step easier. If Great Expectations can help you take that first step (or hook you up with resources for a friend)…let us do it. Mothers deserve to feel well and we love connecting families with resources like Dr. Sardone and Dallas Behavioral Health. Remember, no matter the symptoms – perinatal mood disorders are treatable and temporary.
Would you like to make an appointment with Dr. Sardone? Here is all her contact information.
Dallas Behavioral Health
214-383-8145 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.behavioralhealthdallas.com
7557 Rambler Rd. Suite #425
Dallas, TX 75231