Despite the progress that has been made in educating care providers and parents alike about Postpartum Depression (PPD), it is still widely under-reported. Research estimates that about 20% of new mothers experience this complication of childbirth. However, this is most likey an inaccurate percentage, as PPD is underreported. Sadly, there still exists a stigma about mental health disorders and mothers face pressure to enjoy every moment. We’ve all heard this one.
In fact, I sometimes hear, “I had postpartum” from the mothers I work with, possibly because saying depression may feel too scary or shameful to them. Perhaps, if we called PPD something different like postpartum adjustment condition or the like, more women would discuss their symptoms. The truth is, most of us mamas are painfully aware that there is a very real possibility we may face a postpartum mood disorder. We hope and pray that we will be the lucky ones. The good news for all of us is that this experience is not shameful or an indication that we are crazy or are a bad mother. Our brain has simply been affected by the aftermath of postpartum hormones and at times a family history of mood disorders.
Even though it feels like you will never sleep again, which is a very real fear, know that many mothers have traveled the path you are traveling and were able to recover. You will too. This complication of childbirth is very very treatable and many times doesn’t require medication. My hope is for all new mothers to form a sisterhood with one another, to feel more comfortable talking about their worries and difficult feelings. Maybe then more mothers will follow and less women will suffer needlessly.