New Jersey 101.5 (January 24, 2021) covering the rise in Postpartum Anxiety and depression due to the COVID Pandemic.
It was a rough time for Montclair resident Cassandra Bodhi postpartum due to the COVID Pandemic. “I was having probably five to six panic attacks a day,” Bodhi told New Jersey 101.5. “All I could think of was, what am I supposed to do?”
Bodhi’s perinatal mood and anxiety disorder continues today, but not at as extreme levels. The 30-year-old said, thanks to therapy, she can spot herself “going into a downward spiral” and pick herself up again. “He doesn’t know people except through FaceTime,” Bodhi said of her son. “He doesn’t get to meet friends the way he should be meeting friends. The grieving process, it still happens.”
Pre-pandemic, postpartum depression and anxiety reportedly impacted about one in every seven mothers. According to research out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, 36% of pregnant and postpartum women experienced “significant levels of depression” in May through August of 2020, compared to 15 to 20% prior to the pandemic. More than 20% of women during the pandemic reported feeling significant levels of anxiety, and about 10% reported having post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Isolation is sort of the overlying theme, whereas pregnancy and childbirth, historically, has been a time of togetherness,” said Dr. Daniel Finch, co-founder of Care Plus New Jersey’s Maternal & Family Center in Paramus.
Finch said people have an idealized vision of what pregnancy and birth will look like, and the threat of COVID-19 stripped most of that vision away.
“It’s one thing to talk to a professional, but it’s another thing to talk to people who are going through the same thing that you’re going through, or have just been through what you’re going through,” Finch said.
Therapy has “always been a perfect match” for telehealth, Finch said. He’s hoping it’s proven itself enough during the pandemic so that access for patients can continue beyond COVID times. Bodhi sees a therapist through CarePlus weekly, and is on medication to manage symptoms.