Dare to be DIFFERENT-Non-traditional approaches to perinatal mood and anxiety symptoms

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In this country, a whopping 1 in 7 moms will experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. For women of color, this number jumps to 1 in 3. Moms aren’t the only ones affected. 1 in 10 dads will experience postpartum depression. In fact, if a mom experiences postpartum depression, there is a 50% chance her partner will be affected. However, less than 75% of persons affected by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders will ever receive care.


Our brains are amazing organs. They are so…shall I say “smart”?! In a matter of nanoseconds, our brains have the ability to problem solve-bringing up past hurts and traumas, looking for danger, and visualizing escape routes. Thanks brain!

But darn it if they aren’t lazy.

What is the number one, go-to, default solution our brain offers up for anything that causes unpleasant feelings-anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, overwhelm, panic, etc.? You got it-AVOIDANCE. Tricky that, since it doesn’t work. At least not long-term. And, oh the cost!

Quick experiment-when you finish this paragraph I want you to close your eyes for 60 seconds and NOT think about chocolate. Not the smell, the way the wrapper crinkles, the firmness that dissolves to sweet, delicious softness. Not the way it sticks to your tongue and roof of your mouth, not the urge for cold milk to wash down the chocolatey goodness. Right now do not think about anything chocolate.

How did that work for you? Not so great? I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest you may even want to find a piece of chocolate later after all that thinking about chocolate you did NOT do.

In fact, you should have extra time to go get that chocolate after NOT thinking about it since surely you got lots of other needed tasks completed during your 60 seconds of not thinking about chocolate. Right?!

Wrong. The cost of avoidance is that the energy it takes wastes precious time and attention from the other parts of our life we want to embrace, squeeze, love, and raise up.


What is the opposite of anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, overwhelm and panic? Easy-peasy-peace, pride, joy, balance, and calm. And if avoidance is a dead-end path, the choice that leads to mental wellbeing is leaning into BRAVERY (Brene Brown was right).

So this year, dare to be different. It turns out the radical new approach to perinatal mental health is getting care in the first place. Access the spring mental health support you need. Actually, demand it. Rebel against tradition and “normal” and get help. Whether that looks like reading self-help, taking a workshop, working with a trained professional, or setting intention to practice what you already know…GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED! Fun fact, when you join the 25% of moms who get mental health support, that number changes. More importantly, so do you. Do it with confidence and BOLDNESS. “Of course I go to therapy…EVERY mom needs support!” What’s yours?

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