Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Postpartum Depression - Myths

Today while doing some browsing during naptime, I was looking around at Jenny's Light and wanted to share some information with our readers about postpartum depression. Mama Christa and I have both been diagnosed with significant PPD and want to share what we are learning along the way with our readers. I thought I'd start with this list of of myths from Jenny's Light:

Postpartum MYTHS as Developed by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  1. Postpartum depression is normal -- all new mothers feel tired and depressed.
  2. If you don't get postpartum depression right after you give birth, you won't get it at all.
  3. Postpartum depression will go away on its own without treatment.
  4. All women with postpartum depression have thoughts about hurting their children.
  5. Women with postpartum depression look depressed or stop taking care of themselves.
  6. Women with postpartum depression are bad mothers.
  7. If you have postpartum depression, you must have done something wrong.
  8. You'll get over your postpartum depression if you just get more sleep.
  9. Women with postpartum depression can't take antidepressants if they are breastfeeding.
  10. Pregnant and postpartum women don't get depressed.

If someone you know is suffering from PPD, please don't say insensitive things like "well, you're the one who wanted children so bad," or "just get a grip, s/he is just a baby," both of which I've heard in recent weeks. Be careful that the things you say to moms with PPD don't make them feel like they are to blame for their depression or the symptoms of their depression. Mama Christa and I can both tell you that those moms are feeling crappy enough about the thoughts and feelings they are having, about their worth as mothers, wives, and friends. Offer to help if you can, even if all you are doing is keeping the mom company. Support her in getting help if she needs it, refer her to Jenny's Light for information and resources, and be a safe person she can share with without judgement. Mama Christa's post about Postpartum Depression is evidence that so many mothers are suffering, and they don't feel safe sharing such intimate details of their pain, anger, and depression, so be available as best you can to moms in this position. Just like every baby and every mom is different, every PPD experience is different. It's not what I thought it was from reading and education, but it sure sucks. 

For many mothers with PPD medication is a safe and effective route to treatment. Kelly Mom lists Dr. Hale's research on anti-depressants in breastfeeding mothers, and here is that information for you and for you to share with those who may benefit. Not all doctors are familiar with medications safe during pregnancy, so educate yourself about it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I think I may be the one single weird Mom who prior to getting pregnant had severe clinical depression without having PPD. I stopped all my meds when I found out I was pregnant, and strangely pregnancy and childbirth healed me in many ways. I hope you start feeling better, because depression sucks and I could only imagine how difficult it is to have with others who depend on you to take care of them!