7 Tips for Advocating for Your Mental Health Postpartum

Protecting your mental health postpartum is a vital priority. Here, one licensed mental health counselor shares tips for navigating both the joys and challenges of new motherhood.
how to advocate for your mental health postpartum

Maternal mental health has gained significant attention in recent years, highlighting its crucial role in the overall well-being of both mothers and their children. 

As both a mother of two who has experienced postpartum depression firsthand and a mental health counselor who’s worked with mothers from diverse backgrounds, I’ve gained a profound insight into the complexities surrounding maternal mental health. 

The period after the birth of my first child was challenging, lonely and nerve-wracking for both myself and my husband. I vividly recall wondering why there wasn’t more discussion surrounding postpartum depression and why there seemed to be a lack of support for new moms. It often felt as though all attention shifted solely to the needs of the newborn, leaving new moms to grapple with challenges on their own.

Maternal mental health in America

Maternal mental health is a critical issue that affects many new mothers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that up to 20 percent of women experience anxiety during pregnancy or after giving birth. These statistics highlight the urgent need to address maternal mental health and provide support for new mothers. 

Too many new mothers struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, yet there is a pervasive stigma surrounding these topics. By breaking the silence, we can raise awareness and offer much-needed support to mothers who are struggling with their mental health. Let’s acknowledge that maternal mental health is just as important as physical health and provide the necessary resources and support to help mothers overcome these challenges and ensure that they receive the care they need.

How to advocate for your mental health postpartum

In this section, we’ll explore practical strategies and empowering tips for advocating for your mental health postpartum, equipping you with the tools and resources you need to navigate this transformative journey with confidence and resilience.

1. Know your rights 

As you embark on this journey of motherhood, it’s essential to equip yourself with knowledge about your rights regarding postpartum mental health care. Postpartum mental health care laws vary, but a great starting point for information in the United States is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.

You can explore their resources online or reach out to their National Helpline for guidance. You can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. Remember, knowledge is power, and knowing your rights ensures you receive the care and support you deserve during this vulnerable time.

2. Speak up

Your healthcare journey should be a partnership between you and your provider, which means that open communication is key! Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel like you’re not receiving the care you need. Your voice matters, and you have the right to ask questions, state your concerns, and even request a different approach to your treatment, so you can receive the best possible care. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your well-being. You deserve nothing less!

3. Build a support network

During this important period, make sure to surround yourself with a strong support network. It will be invaluable! For me it meant, leaning on family, friends, and mental health professionals who offered guidance, comfort and understanding during a difficult time. Consider connecting with other moms who have walked a similar path and can provide you with a sense of community and support.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey, and seeking support is the right step towards healing and resilience.

4. Practice self-care

As mothers we tend to forget that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of others. That’s why self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a vital component of your overall well-being. This includes nurturing your body with nutritious food, engaging in regular exercise to help boost your mood, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish! It’s essential for your physical and mental health and if that isn’t enough for you, think of it this way—it’s an act of love that enables you to show up for yourself and the ones you love. 

5. Educate yourself

Take the time to educate yourself about postpartum mental health, so that you can use it as a tool throughout your journey. Knowledge is power, and by learning as much as you can, you can advocate for your needs in the best possible way. Consider visiting trusted sites like Postpartum Support International (PSI), which offers information and support for mothers like you. Visit their website or call their helpline at 1-800-944-4773. You are not alone and help is available. 

6. Keep a record

Motherhood is a busy time and although it may seem as if we can’t keep days straight, keeping a record of your experiences can provide valuable insights into your mental health journey. Consider keeping a notebook or journal by your bedside and take note of your symptoms, treatments, and interactions with healthcare providers. This not only helps you track your progress but ensures that you have a clear record of your experiences to share with your care team. Best of all, it can help ensure that you are getting the exact care you need.

7. Don’t give up

Remember that advocating for your mental health is a journey filled with ups and downs. In your most difficult moments, don’t lose hope. Instead if you encounter obstacles along the way, keep pushing forward and know that every step you take towards prioritizing your mental health is an important act of self love that will help you thrive as a mother. 

Maternal mental health is not just a personal issue—it impacts the well-being of families and communities.

By prioritizing maternal mental health through early screening, education, and access to support services, we can create a world where every mother feels empowered to seek help when needed. Let’s work together to prioritize and support the mental health of mothers, eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health issues and ensuring that every mother receives the care and support she needs. 

Author

  • Dr. Rachna Buxani Mirpuri

    Dr. Rachna Buxani-Mirpuri is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with nearly two decades of experience. She passionately advocates for women's mental health and as the founder of Buxani Counseling Care, she serves globally as a BC-TMH, providing compassionate, non-judgmental therapy rooted in resilience-based approaches. Her multicultural counseling expertise fosters meaningful change, ensuring accessible, high-quality mental health support for all. Beyond her professional endeavors, Rachna enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering to support its mental health needs. She resides in South Florida with her husband and two children, where she continues her mission to empower and uplift others.

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