1 In 4 Moms In AK Suffer From Depression During, After Pregnancy
For those who feel they’re out of options, health officials remind mothers of “safe surrender” options
ANCHORAGE—State health officials say more than one in four mothers in Alaska suffer from depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy.
Kris Green is the parent support services manager for the state’s women’s, children and family health section. But before she worked for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Green worked at the Children’s Hospital at Providence Medical Center for 15 years.
“When I was at the hospital, I heard from families that this was an unmet need,” said Green, who then helped set up a state-wide support system and network for mothers, and parents, overwhelmed by the sudden new responsibilities of parenthood.
New mothers told her they were overwhelmed and felt alone in their feelings of desperation.
Turns out, though, Green said, more than 25 percent of Alaska moms feel the same way, although the degree of the desperation and anxiety varies—“from just feeling kind of sad and down to ‘Why don’t I love my baby? What is the matter with me? Why am I so tired? Why am I crying all the time? I should be happy I have a healthy happy baby’ to the woman who becomes very despondent.”
“Psychosis,” however, is “extremely rare,” Green said.
For extreme cases, there's the safe surrender for infants act, which was signed into law in 2008.
The law only allows for the surrender of an infant younger than 21 days, who has not been physically injured, to a peace officer, physician or hospital employee in a hospital or hospital emergency room or a volunteer or employee of a fire station.
Providence also provides postpartum support with a weekly support group for mothers on Mondays at 2 p.m. at the maternity education center on the hospital campus. The family support counselor can be reached at (907) 212-2065.
There is also a 24-hour national hotline for postpartum support. That number is (800) 773-6667.