Medically reviewed by Carissa Stephens, RN, CCRN, CPN on March 3, 2020--Written By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS
"We're advised to plan our registries and plan our births, but what about planning for our mental health?
I distinctly remember standing in the bedding aisle at Babies "R" Us (RIP) for 30 minutes, simply staring.
I spent longer than that trying to figure out the best bottles and stroller and swing for our baby girl. These decisions, at the time, seemed life or death.
Yet I barely spent anytime on what's truly important: my mental health.
Of course, I am not alone. Many of us spend hours researching the right crib, care seat, and paint color for our baby's room. We pen meticulous birth plans, hunt for the best pediatrician, and secure solid child care.
And while these are critical, too (the paint color perhaps less so), ouir mental health becomes an afterthought--if we think about it at all."
By: Ali Rosen
"When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t announce anything. I let photos of my growing bump speak for themselves. With twins on the way now, I’ve given a lot of thought to how to share the news because this pregnancy is completely different. Even people who have seen me in person would never even know, because my children will be born through a surrogate.More and more, children are born through assisted reproductive technology. But where in vitro fertilization has become more commonplace, there remains an air of mystery, suspicion and misunderstanding around surrogacy. I certainly didn’t understand it until it became my only biological option to have more children.
My decision started with a medical mystery that yielded a diagnosis seemingly more fitting for a sci-fi novel. After numerous miscarriages and multiple failed rounds of IVF, I learned I am a genetic carrier of HY-restricting HLA class II alleles, which means that my son’s Y chromosome lingers and attacks all subsequent pregnancies. In essence, if you have this small genetic component and you have a boy, your odds of successfully carrying another child are slim to none. My husband and I could create an embryo, but my body could not carry it. So I started down the rabbit hole of surrogacy."
Women's Mental Health At Key Stages In Life
Photo: Katherine Streeter for NPR
Menopause Can Start Younger Than You Think: Here's What You Need To Know
By Emily Vaughn & Rhitu Chatterjee
"Would you recognize the signs that your body is going through the big hormonal changes that lead to menopause? Here's what to look for-and what you can do about it."
"Sarah Edrie says she was about 33 when she started to occasionally get a sudden, hot, prickly feeling that radiated into her neck and face, leaving her flushed and breathless. "Sometimes I would sweat. And my heart would race," she says. The sensations subsided in a few moments and seemed to meet the criteria for a panic attack. But Edrie, who has no personal or family history of anxiety, was baffled.
She told her doctor and her gynecologist about the episodes, along with a few other health concerns she was starting to notice: Her menstrual cycle was becoming irregular, she had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and she was getting night sweats. Their response: a shrug.
It wasn't until Edrie went to a fertility clinic at age 39 because she and her partner were having trouble conceiving that she got answers. "They were like, 'Oh, those are hot flashes. It's because you're in perimenopause,' " she says.
If you haven't heard the term "perimenopause," you're not alone. Often when women talk about going through menopause, what they're really talking about is perimenopause, a transitional stage during which the body is preparing to stop ovulating, says Dr. Jennifer Payne, who directs the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University."
HOW PUBERTY, PREGNANCY AND PERIMENOPAUSE AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH
Listen to the four podcasts below:
"January 14, 2020 • NPR's Morning Edition explores the key reproductive shifts in women's lives — puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause — and how the changes during those times could impact mental and emotional health."
"January 16, 2020 • Women with a history of depression and anxiety are at a higher risk of having a flare-up during the time leading up to menopause. And getting doctors to take the issue seriously can be challenging."
"January 15, 2020 • Nearly 1 in 7 women suffers from depression during pregnancy or postpartum. But very few get treatment. Doctors in Massachusetts have a new way to get them help."
"January 17, 2020 • NPR's Rachel Martin talks to menopause expert Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, division director of the Midlife Health Center at the University of Virginia, who answers listeners' questions."