When you hear of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD), you most likely think of war veterans, accident survivors, victims of abuse, etc. - but what about new moms? It is often believed that new moms bask in the euphoria of having a child, but understandably tis is not ever moms story. In this article, author Inioluwa Fadairo will be telling us more about new moms struggling with P-PTSD as well as sharing tips on how to get support locally. POSTPARTUM ONE.jpg Did you know that there are over 1.5 million cases of Postpartum P-PTSD per year in Nigeria? What Is Postpartum P-PTSD? Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress-related disorder that is evoked when there are reminders of traumatic child delivery. It's also known as birth-trauma. Risk Factors Of Postpartum PTSD P-PTSD is triggered by traumatic or sudden events during childbirth. Such traumatic events vary from women to women and they include; • Difficult, long labor with extremely painful delivery. • An emergency cesarean section or any emergency treatment. • Stillbirth or an early loss of a child. • Inadequate support or medical care during childbirth and more. Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD It's a general belief that the joy of motherhood is enough to overcome any trauma experienced during childbirth and any anomaly is regarded as normal due to insufficient or no knowledge of the symptoms of Postpartum PTSD. Below are some symptoms of P-PTSD in case you are a struggling mother or you know someone who is: 1. Deprivation of sleep and nightmares: If your baby isn't keeping you up at night and yet, you find it difficult to sleep, that's a problem. Also, constant nightmare about delivery should not be taken lightly. 2. Experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, and being hyper-reactive. 3. Avoiding places and people that remind you of such traumatic events, such as; hospitals, medical personnel, clothes, childbirth and even avoiding spending time with the baby. 4. Depression and the constant desire to be alone. Please note; Postpartum PTSD (P-PTSD) is different from Post-Partum Depression (PPD). P-PTSD is the result of a traumatic experience during childbirth, while PPD happens because of hormonal changes in a woman's body after delivery. POSTPARTUM THREE.jpg “…Post-partum stress disorder is not a "White woman's disease…” Post-Partum treatment and how to get support locally: Fortunately, Postpartum PTSD is treatable. The very first step to take when one or more of the symptoms above is noticed is to confide in a trusted family member or friend and visit your physician. 1. Watchful waiting: This mode of treatment is used for women with mild symptoms and conducted at a medical location. The patient is closely observed and any form of stressor is subdued until they recover naturally. 2. Psychotherapy: This can be done in two ways: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). There are several online counselling services these days that can help you find out your next course of action. One of our favorites: Ndidi, a private practice providing warm and non-judgmental psychotherapy services. (More at end of the article) 3. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This comes in the form of talk therapy to help the doctor and patient discover the triggers, stressors, and chain of thought and the way to deal with it effectively. CBT may require several months of treatment. 3. Group therapy/support groups: Sharing and talking about your experience with people who have similar experience(s) help to overcome your trauma. It also helps a struggling mom to open up to various solutions and how to manage her condition for better results. 4. Medication: This is the last stop of treatment in case other forms of treatment don't work. In cases like this, antidepressants are used in the treatment of severe P-PTSD. Every struggling mom should know that they are not alone and neither are they at fault, everyone experiences motherhood differently and there is no clear-cut rule on how to be a mum. It is okay to confide and rely on family, friends, spouse, or medical personnel if you don’t feel supported by family and friends, reach out to one of the services below or feel free to contact us directly so that we may be able to point you in the right direction. POSTPARTUM TWO.jpg “…Asking for help doesn't make you vulnerable, it makes you human…” RESOURCES: 1. Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI): Launched in June 2016, this Lagos-based nonprofit focuses on creating awareness on mental health and illnesses as well as helping its clients connect to mental health professionals. MANI has a suicide/distress hotline and is planning on launching a mobile app to connect mental health professionals to people in need of help. The organization promotes its advocacy campaigns online using channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and its website to draw attention to different mental health illnesses or other related topics each month. Since 2016, MANI has managed to expand its work to four Nigerian states and provide support to more than 5,000 people. 2. She Writes Woman: This organization has made great strides since its inception in April 2016. The organization launched the first privately-held, 24-hour mental health line in July 2016 and in April 2018 added a helpline chat service that has received 6,000 messages to date. The organization also founded and curates Safe Place – a support group where women in Nigeria can meet, discuss mental health issues and get the help they need. So far, more than 800 women have benefitted. In partnership with Airtel Nigeria, they have grown and founded Safe Place Nigeria – a walk-in clinic where young people can seek mental health care. 3. NDỊDỊ is a private practice providing warm and non-judgemental psychotherapy services. Tues - Sat; 9am - 5pm. Join their support group here: @ob.odo, check out: inioluwa.jpg About the author: Inioluwa is a student of Communication and Language Arts and a creative writer who draws inspiration from life experiences and events. She is also a fashion enthusiast and the founder of Aniker Clothier (anike_clothier). She loves listening to music, watching movies and reading books. You can reach out to her by sending a mail to @firstname.lastname@example.org
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