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The birth of a child can be one of life’s happiest milestones. But most mothers will tell you the changes that come with a baby can hit in unexpected and powerful ways. Hormone changes, sleep deprivation, social pressures and more can trigger emotions ranging from joy and contentment to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed or depressed.

Amy Parks, coordinator of the UCSF Fresno Pediatric Residency Program, is on a mission to help moms get the mental health support they need. The key to her plan is pediatricians.

“Your pediatrician is a perfect place to go for help. It’s a safe, supportive space and in the first year of your baby’s life, you’re there a lot,” said Parks, noting between regular checkups, immunizations and the inevitable earaches and teething fevers those pediatric visits to the clinics on Community Medical Centers’ campuses could be nearly every month. She urged mothers to feel free to “Just say ‘hey, this is how I’m feeling. Is this normal?’”

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