September is Suicide Prevention Month and we at Foundations Family Therapy want to be part of the solution to end the stigma of suicidal thoughts and help everyone know the signs that someone you love could be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The first thing to note is there are different tiers of suicidal behavior. The first is suicidal ideation. This can range from thoughts of “I don’t want to do anything” to “hurt or kill myself” but sometimes “I wish I could just not wake up” to contemplating suicide on a regular basis.
The next step is suicidal plans. This could be someone who has moved from the desire to be dead into making a plan of how they would kill themselves.
Lastly, suicide attempts are the last stage of suicidal behavior. This is someone who has moved from thinking, to planning, to taking action and is the most serious.
Many people who experience suicidal thoughts have some common signs. These include talking about death or suicide, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, verbalizing that they are a burden to others, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, extreme mood swings, giving away possessions, or saying goodbye to people they care about.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child or someone you care about if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. You are not going to “give them the idea” if they are already having these thoughts. Many times, people want someone to ask and acknowledge how they are feeling and will tell you honestly.
If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, don’t wait, act. If they verbalize a suicide plan or have attempted suicide, please call 911 immediately or take them to your local hospital.
If they are voicing suicidal ideation without plans or means, please reach out to a licensed mental health provider about getting them help or reach out to their doctor immediately. You are not alone and there is help available.
*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*
You have waited 9 months for your little bundle of joy to arrive and the time is drawing near. But now, instead of total elation, you may be experiencing anxiety and disappointment due to the threat and restrictions of COVID-19.
Suddenly, the way you pictured your birth and postnatal period going is totally different without you having much say in it.
You may be experiencing anxiety as you think about the unknown of what the restrictions could be, the health and safety of you, your baby, and your family, and what that could mean for help when you get home.
Many mothers right now are feeling the same thing.
We are in uncertain times which no one could have predicted or planned for. It is normal to feel some anxiety and disappointment. If you or someone you love is preparing to have a child, here are some things to remember during this time.
Adjust Your Focus
Remember, it’s best to focus on what we CAN control rather than what we CANNOT control. Currently, we have no control over mandates from our government officials, the doctors and nurses who are making regulations based on their knowledge, or the unknown direction of this virus. This could mean, the people you wanted with you in the delivery room or shortly thereafter will not be able to be there. That is outside of our control.
What is under your control is your own coping skills and relaxation techniques for the safe delivery of your child. You might start creating a relaxing playlist or plan to have your loved ones video call in. When our minds start wondering about things we cannot control, we can easily spiral to a lot of “what ifs”… and this will not be beneficial to you.
Your attitude is the number one thing that you can control during this time. The way you choose to respond will set the tone for everything else. Find things in this process that you can control and focus your energies there.
Prioritize Health and Safety For All
We must trust that these regulations are in place for a reason. The number one goal for your doctors and nurses is a safe and healthy delivery for you resulting in a healthy mother and baby.
Secondly, they are also invested in keeping as many people healthy as possible. Find the good in this situation. This is something that most people have to practice. This could mean creating a gratitude journal to remember this challenging time. Start by thinking about 10 things that you are looking forward to with your upcoming delivery and new baby’s arrival!
Does this situation mean that your support person (who you thought was only going to have a week off) is now going to be working from home and more present than originally thought?
Does this mean you don’t have to entertain visitors that stay too long when you just want to sleep?
Find some humor in this situation, too! Find that one friend who always makes you laugh and talk to them, laughter always does the heart good.
Stay Focused On The Big Picture
Hopefully, at the end of the day, you will be holding your precious baby! What greater gift and joy! The pain and disappointment will be swallowed up by the gratitude and joy you feel holding your baby.
Soon enough, the world will be back to its normal pace and life will go on. Cling to this time of togetherness with your immediate family and be thankful for it.
Surround Yourself With Support
We are all in this together. We can grieve with you because your birth is not going to look the same as you were hoping. Video chat with family/friends as much as you can to provide safe connections and support from miles away.
Many restaurants are now offering free delivery- use this! Be thankful for others who are willing to drop off helpful meals or supplies. Even though your support system may not be able to be physically present as you originally planned, their emotional presence can help you in many ways.
Most importantly, please remember that most cases of postpartum mood disorders begin in the last trimester of the pregnancy. If you find that you are experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms more than 2-4 weeks postpartum, please feel free to reach out for support.
We are here for you. We have teletherapy services for connection and support from the comfort of your own home. Also, if you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy, check out a group we’re forming for pregnant moms HERE .Give us a call today.
Elizabeth Edwards, LMFT