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Awareness for Postpartum Depression
by Tascheleia Marangoni

January 2011 marks the first ever awareness month in Edmonton for Postpartum Depression. In support of this and to help spread awareness on this very important subject an Information Event was held on January 29th at Willowby Community League Hall. Many different experts from Psychologists to Doulas to Naturopaths attended the event to answer questions on the topic of Postpartum Depression. This was a free event open to everyone and anyone who wanted to learn more about postpartum depression and where to get help. A special thank you to everyone who attended and helped to support the event. A yummy thank you to Happy Camel, a really great local business for supplying some of the food for this event.

Approximately 15% of new Moms are affected by postpartum mood disorders in some way, postpartum depression being only one type. Some Moms also suffer from postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder and in extreme cases postpartum psychosis. These mood disorders are very different from Baby Blues which affect about 80% of new Moms in the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Baby Blues are often part of a normal adjustment period after having a baby. New Moms are tired, filled with mixed emotions from elation to sadness and often need a bit of good nutrition and supplements to feel normal again. It is normal to feel overwhelmed the first few weeks. That is Baby Blues. Beyond the initial adjustment if a new Mom begins to feel unlike herself in anyway she should seek help. A good place to start is by seeing ones doctor but there are many other resources available and now easier to find. The PPDA project includes a website which endeavours to list all of the resources available in Edmonton and area to families dealing with PPD.

If a Mom is feeling unlike herself possible symptoms could include: sleeping too much or too little, changes in appetite, difficulties with motivation and concentration, anxiety and panic, sadness, irritability, reduced libido and many more. If something does not seem right it is important to reach out and talk to your spouse, a friend or a relative. Ironically, this can be a very difficult thing for Moms to do. PPD is pretty elusive. It is not easy for a Mom to recognize that she needs help and even if she does, the symptoms of PPD can be difficult to describe to someone else who has not had it. Support and understanding are hard to find for PPD. So again, maybe the best place to start is with a visit to your family doctor and if for some reason he or she does not take you seriously or provide you with what you think you need then see someone else.

I think it is also important to note that Fathers sometimes suffer for postpartum depression as well and should also seek help if they are having a difficult time after the birth of a child. Parents who adopt children can be affected by what is called Post Adoption Depression Syndrome.

The PPDA project can help. Founded and managed by Tascheleia Marangoni, the project's goal is to create Awareness and provide Resources and Help. To learn more about this project or to find valuable resources for PPD please visit the website at www.ppda.ca.

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