Being a new mom can be stressful, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you add COVID into the equation. If you’re a new mom or just had your second, third, or more, you may be looking for some more support during this challenging time when in-person groups are on hold. Fortunately, there is help —RWJBarnabas Health is offering virtual support for moms experiencing Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) with an upcoming webinar addressing PMAD and weekly virtual groups for new moms. Read on for more ways RWBJBarnabas is ensuring all moms stay healthy and supported right now.
Featured Photo Credit: Istock/ilkercekic
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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and COVID
As a new mom, you may be feeling things you never expected or don’t feel like yourself. The lack of sleep can add to it, but feelings of anxiety, rage, OCD, sadness, and crying may have you worried there’s something more. It can be tough to know if it’s all the stress of having a new baby during the pandemic, but if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it could be PMAD. Stress will come and go, but a PMAD is more consistent. Try jotting down how you feel each day and for how long to track your emotions and share this record with your doctor. If you are diagnosed with a PMAD or want to know more about it, you’re not alone, explains Lisa Tremayne, RN, and Director of The Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders at Monmouth Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health Facility in Long Branch, NJ. “In the PMAD field, we have anecdotal evidence showing an uptick of patients as high as 30%. Where we used to receive an average of five calls a day from pregnant and new moms looking for help, since Covid, we average ten or more each day,” she says. And because the pandemic is so isolating and uncertain, many of the symptoms are the same as Perinatal Mood Disorders. “It’s hard for new moms to identify what they are suffering from. The signs are similar, and overall, the environment is adding to their anxiety,” says Tremayne.
For a clearer idea of how you’re feeling, the Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders at Monmouth Medical Center suggests taking the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale Test. If you have any of these symptoms and worry about stress or a PMAD, make an appointment with your physician and talk to them about how you feel. You can also contact a medical center that focuses on helping mothers with their well-being and mental health.
Since in-person support groups are not happening right now, you may wonder how to find help, which is crucial when you feel isolated at home. “The silver lining of the pandemic is how well we here at the PMAD Center were able to pivot to the virtual space successfully,” says Tremayne. In addition to an upcoming webinar—Understanding Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders on January 26, health professionals also lead weekly virtual group meetings. “Women, now even more than ever, need to be validated by other women, who are in the same season of life, trying to manage a career, new motherhood, and everything else, while in a consistently uncertain time in our lives. The virtual groups from RWJBarnabas Health help you to do that in a safe space,” says Tremayne.
RWJBarnabas Virtual Support For New Moms
Understanding Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Webinar
January 26 at 10:30 AM
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth, yet many don’t know what signs and symptoms to look for. Join health expert Lisa Tremayne, RN, PMH-C, CBC, to discuss maternal mental health.
Postpartum Maternal Morbidity and Its Impact on Quality of Life
January 26 from 2 PM – 3 PM
Patricia D. Suplee, Ph.D., RNC-OB, FAAN, director of professional education and research at the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, will be moderating this panel, including speakers Jessica Montalto, a perinatal mood and anxiety disorders survivor, and Vu-An Foster, MPH, founder of Life After 2 Losses.
Sponsoring Facility: Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School RWJBarnabas Health
Virtual Mommies Moods Group (Cooperman Barnabas)
Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center offers free Zoom Support Groups for expecting and new moms facilitated by Lauren Meisels, Ph.D. Mommies Moods Group focuses on mother-care rather than child-care. Discussions address anxiety, depression, irritability, and feeling scared and overwhelmed by the transition to motherhood during the pandemic.
Sponsoring Facility: Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
Virtual New Moms’ Circle Support Group (Cooperman Barnabas)
Saint Barnabas Medical Center offers free Zoom Support Groups for expecting and new moms facilitated by Lauren Meisels, Ph.D. New Moms Circle provides an opportunity for moms to discuss all facets of becoming a mother during this precarious time. Conversations generally focus on child-care topics but are dictated by the interests of the women attending the meeting. It’s an excellent opportunity for moms to connect and bond around a shared experience. New moms and their babies are welcome to participate occasionally or each week. A Breastfeeding Support Group follows at 11:30 AM. Please register online in the event of a cancellation (you only need to register once).
Virtual, Cooperman Barnabas Wellness Institute at Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC MetroWest – 760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
Sponsoring Facility: Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
Virtual Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Support Group
RWJBarnabas is pleased to offer our communities a safe place and a judgment-free group for new and expecting moms to connect online. Joining a virtual community led by a Perinatal Mood Disorder certified specialist in this field can help validate your feelings and concerns and offer more resources if needed.
Sponsoring Facility: Clara Maass Medical Center, Community Medical Center, Jersey City Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, RWJBarnabas Health, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center