Physical pain can be debilitating and limit the body’s mobility. But we also know how much mental anguish or pain can affect the body.
We know that Black women in general struggle to make the time to take care of themselves in addition to taking care of their loved ones. The ability to seek help may be more difficult during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Research studies have shown that Black females may struggle to seek help for mental health issues during and post pregnancy because of the concern and fear that they may not be viewed as adequate caretakers and that their child may be taken away. They may feel ashamed of their psychological state during this “happy time” or they may not be able to recognize the reason for their emotions or psychological turmoil during this time of their lives.
It is important for Black females to understand that depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses might manifest as physical symptoms such as sleep problems, headaches, decreased appetite, muscle aches, joint pain, etc.
◾️I would encourage Black females to write their feelings and thoughts in a journal and keep track of her emotions and daily mood.
◾️Stress reduction techniques like engaging in yoga, brisk walking or meditation may also help her stay with anxiety during the pregnancy and the postpartum period.
◾️The physician is a crucial resource to help the female seek cost effective options like online stress reduction and psychological programs as well as medications at a reduced cost through pharmacologic programs.
It is crucial for all Black women but especially those in low-income neighborhoods to feel that they have support in the medical community and their children will not be taken away from them by seeking assistance for a common disorder that they have no control over. They need to know that with counseling and treatment, their mental health can improve and they do not need to suffer in silence or sacrifice their psychological wellbeing and desire to care for their families.