Around 10% of post-natal women will experience some form of postpartum depression (PPD). Diagnosed or not, many women know they may be experiencing symptoms but are too afraid, ashamed, or just simply too scared to talk about it. Some estimate that the prevalence of PPD is closer to 25%, or 1 in 4 postpartum women. Suffice it to say, there are many new, and veteran, mothers out there that are having trouble coping with and/or adjusting to their lives with baby.
Many women, new mothers in particular, can be afraid to reach out and express their feelings, fears and concerns with others around them. They feel the need to be perceived as confident and to give off the impression that they are fine, even though this may be far from the truth.
Becoming a mother, for the first time or for the fifth, is a situation that can be fraught with anxiety, tension and unrealistic expectations. Once you factor in the hormones, the relationship dynamics and the ever-jolting reality of dealing with an infant (who is endlessly hungry, unpredictable, and/or restless), it's no wonder that many moms simply lose confidence or question their mothering abilities.
Symptoms of post-partum disorders may include crying jags, extreme fatigue, fearful thoughts about not being able to provide for (or even worse, harming) the baby. There is commonly an inability to express these feelings to others for fear of being found to be a "bad mother" or a danger to oneself or to the new infant.
With increased diagnosis better information available, more and more women are communicating about and seeking treatment for their post-partum disorder. This is encouraging news. Hopefully with better diagnosis and awareness, strong support networks and access to assistance, the rates of Post-partum depression will begin to decrease.
The question then becomes, how do we as care providers, support providers, and educators help expectant mothers to recognize the signs and symptoms of PPD? When do we begin to talk about it and, if in the course of post-partum contact with a depressed mother, how do we alert her to what we see in her and offer assistance?
We attempt to answer some of these questions in our module Following the Birth. We firmly believe that, if a mother’s wellness is prioritized, her ability to best bond and mother her baby will be increased.
What do you think?
How and when do you start educating your clients about PPD? If you’ve experienced it yourself, do you share that information, or do you focus solely on the client’s situation? What are your favorite resources that you give to women experiencing PPD and what are the best sources of information that you have come across about this topic?
Copyright 2011 © All Rights Reserved
Plumtree Baby, LLC