Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are a bundle of psychological states under two umbrellas: anxiety and mood disorders. These disorders affect at least 10-15% of women during the perinatal period. This is the period beginning from conception up to one year post birth and perhaps longer.
Anxiety is quite common during pregnancy but for some women it occupies their thoughts in ways that interefere with their behaviour and feelings towards their pregnancy and their newborn. Some women develop a strong fear of childbirth that may present serious consequences following the birth of their baby that leads to post-traumatic stress disorder. At least 3% of women develop obsessive-compulsive disorder following the birth of their baby.
Depression is as common as anxiety during pregnancy and soars post-birth for at least 1 in 6 Greek women according to recent studies. In fact, postnatal depression is the single most common complication of pregnancy (affecting 1/8 pregnant Greek women). It is more common than gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth, low body weight for baby and preeclampsia. There are more serious mood disorders such as bipolar mood disorder and postpartum psychosis. Maternal depression affects the way in which the mother relates and responds emotionally and physically to her baby’s needs.
PMADs interefere negatively within the mother-baby relationship but regardless of the seriousness of these disorders ALL are treatable and can be overcome with the proper care and support.
At SOPHROSYNA our efforts to destigmatise maternal mental health is a priority. It is important for women and new mothers to start talking about the issues that overwhelm them and prevent them in fulfilling their role as mothers. Motherhood is a milestone for every woman and the transition is not an easy one. SOPHROSYNA works with pregnant women and new mothers in order to educate them on how to develop a securely attached mother-baby relationship.
The first three years of a childs life are the most critical. It is this period where they learn the most and fast. Their brain is developing at rapid speed. Neural connections are being made with every new experience, cognitive and social stimulation through communication, play, music and reading. This is the period they learn how to crawl, talk, eat, walk and discover their self. A mothers ability to respond to these demanding emotional and physical needs in a caring, nurturing and loving manner lay the foundation for the childs emotional health. This is when the child first learns that mum and dad love me, care for me, encourage me or they don’t like me, no-one comes when I cry, I can’t do anything right.
If you are pregnant or a new mother and would like to learn more about motherhood, parenting and the mother-baby relationship SOPHROSYNA offers workshops that will help you help yourself, your baby and the relationship between the two of you. SOPHROSYNA is a maternal-infant mental health service run by a psychologist who is a mother of three small children under 7. This service is non-profitable and has no service-user fee in memory of Sophronia, who was born still and whom this entire effort honours in order to help other babies develop productive social and emotional lives through their relationship with their parents.
Chrissa Georgiades, MSc LP Psychologist & SOPHROSYNA Founder