What is Postpartum Depression?

According to PostpartumProgress.org, about 10 to 15% of women suffer from postpartum disorders. So what does postpartum really mean? From Merriam Webster, “postpartum” means “relating to or happening in the period of time following the birth of a child”.

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Image from WebMD

There are many signs and symptoms to look for in your behavior if you recently gave birth to a newborn. One of my initial questions prior to mastering the knowledge of this topic was what was going on in these depressed mother’s minds? Having PPD or experiencing the baby blues include symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, constantly crying, reduced concentration, appetite problems and having trouble sleeping. (Mayo Clinic) Although these symptoms seem normal to feel when you’re having a bad day, these indications are prolonged, intensified and “eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks” and may not even be prevalent until six months after birth! While reading the symptoms for postpartum depression, its very similar to characteristics when you are mentally exhausted and depressed except that it impacts your mentality on how you mother your child. There’s no doubt that the majority of mothers find themselves in denial about having this mental illness and are “reluctant or embarrassed to admit it” but if these symptoms progress to get worse, mothers are more prone to increasing the longevity and severity of this disease.

Prior to deeply researching and understanding the concept of my topic, I had various questions I’ve been awaiting to be answered.

I simply wondered what the world is doing to help these miserable mothers. To answer this, I’ve learned that The United States Preventive Services Task Force has extremely pushed the notion of screening mothers before and after they give birth to test whether they are in danger of advancing into this illness. This screening is a simple questioned test asking the mothers how they are feeling, how their recent behavioral acts have been like, etc. This screening is helpful so, doctors can diagnosis mothers before, during and after giving birth if they are prone to this disease.

Another question I found myself speculating was if treatment is effective. I understand that effectiveness can vary from mother to mother but, for the majority of women… is the treatment their getting from PPD specialists really working? Treatment varies depending on how severe you experience these symptoms and can range from simply getting enough rest at night to psychotherapy and antidepressants. When reading what women who have recovered from PPD in the past has said about their treatment, I have come to conclusion that the real remedy for this illness is acceptation, support and patience. Women found it easier when they discovered they weren’t in this battle alone and when they felt like they were important again. Depression and postpartum depression are very similar and even from personal experience, feeling loved, welcome and accepted are the greatest feelings.

Although screening mothers for depression can be beneficial, I believe mothers should be shown the same amount of love that they give to this world.

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