Since we are currently living through unprecedented times with a global pandemic, we doulas are scrambling to find ways to best support our clients since we cannot hold our normal in-person meetings. The Shoals Doula Group has recently implemented a virtual strategy to communicate with our clients via Zoom. This past week we gave our clients a little bonus option of attending a virtual support group. We plan to hold this once or twice a month where we will be hosting local professionals to discuss certain topics pertaining to pregnancy, birth or postpartum.
Our guest speaker for our first meeting was Amy Moor, LPC-S
She has been practicing for 9 years and hopes to one day focus on perinatal and postpartum mental health.
She is also currently pregnant with her second child!
We asked Amy the following questions and wanted to share with you her insight.
- Why should we be concerned with our mental health during pregnancy?
Amy says that she considers mental, physical and spiritual health very important and true healing involves these 3 components. Mental health is especially important during uncertain times such as these that we are in. Studies have shown that babies in utero can sense stress and when mom’s fight or flight kicks in, so does the baby’s, which can have an effect on brain development. Amy also says that stress can’t be avoided completely but being mindful, balanced, a good support system and resources are key. There will be good days and bad days and planning ahead on how to cope and deal will be beneficial. She also says it’s a good idea to practice your breathing with meditation or yoga and also working with word puzzles and coloring pages are also therapeutic.
- For those of us unfamiliar with mental health, what would be some signs to look for that we might be struggling?
Amy: Listen to your body. Tense muscles, clenched jaw, subconsciously holding breath, increased heart rate, feeling of overwhelm are a few physical factors that can happen. Practice deep breathing. Anxiety cannot exist where oxygen is present.
- Is there a way to avoid stress or is it inevitable?
Amy: Stress is going to happen. Life happens. Stress doesn’t have to run your life. The important thing to remember is to take control of what you can during this time of uncertainty. There are alot of things out of our control but we still have control over other things. For example, if seeing the news or looking at social media upsets you, limit yourself on those types of things.
You can expect stress but don’t let it run your life.
- Is there a way to deal with less human interaction during this time? This is hard during pregnancy when you are excited for baby showers etc. and showing off baby after he/she is born.
Amy: Take advantage of facetime, Zoom and other means of video conference. Don’t be afraid to go outside. Seeing other people even while practicing social distance will be helpful. Zoom baby showers are becoming popular as are drive by parties. Staying on a schedule: going to bed at the same time, getting enough sleep. Get some sun. Vitamin D is essential to good health. Get creative with staying connected with your significant other. Let’s improvise. Plan an evening talking on the porch after small kids are in bed since you can’t get a sitter. And remember, this is only temporary. This will pass!
- How can one be aware of mood disorders during postpartum with the current safe practices we are following and limits on interactions with other family, friends and support people?
Amy: Be aware of the warning signs. Not connecting with baby, fear, excessive over-protection, such as being afraid to sleep when baby sleeps because you’re afraid he’ll stop breathing.
Also, dads can get postpartum depression/anxiety. Learn what to look for and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to speak out and get help.
We would like to thank Amy Moor for taking time out of her evening to speak with us. We all took away some great information and are glad we could give you a sneak peek into some of the information shared by Amy. Some of her recommended (and ours) resources are listed below. Take some time to visit these sites. Share them with others so that we can familiarize ourselves and all be aware of mental disorders and lessen the stigma behind them.
Hang in there. Your local doulas are here to help you.
Jamie Wallace, CLD