If you’ve ever experienced postpartum depression, please know you’re not alone. In the United States, postpartum depression is quite common: According to the CDC, around 1 in 5 new mothers experience symptoms.
Postpartum depression is characterized by various symptoms, including anger, crying (more frequently than usual), withdrawing, feeling disconnected from the baby, feeling numb, worrying about hurting the baby, and feeling guilty about not being an adequate mother (or even feeling like you are unable to care for the baby).
The precise symptoms vary among moms, as do the intensity and the length they last. For moms already faced with various challenges (physical recovery from childbirth, caring for a newborn, dealing with changing relationships), postpartum depression can be devastating.
One woman in New York is trying to help moms who are dealing with depression. Chirlane McCray told The New York Times that after a difficult birth, she wished she’d had someone to talk to besides doctors and nurses.
Enter The New Family Home Visits Initiative
The New Family Home Visits initiative (run by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Administration for Children’s Services) means that all first-time parents in New York City will be able to have up to six home visits from professionals. The initiative will cost $9 million when it launches in Brooklyn, and will later be expanded, costing $43 million … and in our books, it’s worth every penny.
New mothers will get better access to at-home screenings for anxiety and postpartum depression as well as information about mental health services.
These types of programs are already available in certain cities, including Chicago, but the one in New York will be the largest once it’s in full gear.
Thank you to Chirlane McCray and every other hero out there fighting to get new moms the access to mental health services they so desperately need and deserve.
Let’s hope one day a program like this is available for every new parent in the country.