Misconceptions About Postpartum Depression
While the beauty of bringing a new child into the world is an amazing experience, unfortunately, at times, some negative aspects can come alongside it, for the parents and the child alike. Among these aspects, the common ailment that is postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a specific mental illness, a form of depression that occurs after childbirth. Most studies conclude that this can happen due to hormonal changes since a body no longer has a child inside of it.
While as many as three million women get diagnosed a year, there still seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the topic in totality. Many misconceptions circulate postpartum depression, but with a bit of research and key tips to remember, any mother or parent can be aware and informed about the risks and lack of thereof.
Postpartum Depression doesn’t look like sadness all the time.
A huge common misconception about postpartum depression is that it looks like a woman crying and constantly being sad. This idea comes from the word depression, and the connotations that come along with it, and while this vision can sometimes be true, it isn’t always like that.
Much like normal depression and other mental issues, they manifest in different people in different ways. So for one woman, it may look like crying and sadness, while for another, it could just look like moodiness. In most cases, however, studies show that women with postpartum depression experience things like anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, and not getting enough sleep.
The reason why it is important to note that postpartum depression can look different in different women is to ensure that we correctly diagnose and seek out issues like these when they arise, and can properly treat them in patients.
You can get postpartum depression when your baby is older.
Another misconception about postpartum depression is the age range in which it happens. A lot of people seem to think that the only period in which a mother can be vulnerable to this mental illness is short, and right after the child is born. However, studies show that this may not be the case.
In most cases, women can experience and recognize these feelings in the first six months after their child’s birth. But in some situations, it can arise up to a year, or even later than that in the child’s life. There is no specific time frame or limit to which a woman can be affected by postpartum depression, which is an important factor to remember when trying to diagnose or overcome it.
How dangerous is postpartum depression?
Commonly, people like to assume that women who suffer from postpartum depression become harm to their children. Many think that these women produce thoughts to not only harm themselves but to harm their kids as well. While a mother may have harmful thoughts about herself, someone with postpartum depression typically does not have the idea to harm her children.
It is important to note that there is a difference between postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. The latter is the one that may cause women to feel the need or desire to harm their children, but postpartum depression will not. A lot of people tend to confuse the two. The good news, however, is that postpartum psychosis is a lot rarer than depression, meaning that it is very unlikely that it will and can happen.
Postpartum depression is not your fault.
This misconception more commonly comes from women themselves who suffer from the disorder. This notion that the woman who is suffering somehow caused or is at fault for her illness is not only harmful to the woman, but it’s blatantly incorrect. A mix of various things, including hormone changes and history of trauma or mental illness, can be held guilty for the manifestation of postpartum depression in women. However, it is never the fault of the woman herself. This illness is not one that can just be easily controlled or willed away.
However, with that being said, it should be noted that there are things that women can do to lower their chances of encountering mental illness before it happens. This can include things like having conversations with your doctor, seeking counseling, or joining a group of other mothers or soon to be mothers to talk. A lot of feelings during postpartum depression can be involved with feeling alone and making sure that you have a safe place to talk, and people you relate to can eliminate this in its entirety. Simply doing things to take care of one’s mental and physical health before and during pregnancy can be very helpful.
Men can get postpartum depression.
Arguably, this may be the unknown fact about postpartum depression in its entirety. Contrary to popular belief, not just mothers are or can be affected by postpartum depression, and actually, either parent can be susceptible to such illness.
Studies have shown that men in heterosexual relationships, and even adoptive parents and people in homosexual relationships can suffer from symptoms as well. While not as frequent, about 1 in 10 new dads experience some form of postpartum depression as well. Knowing this is very important to ensure that both parents of a new child are being treated and cared for adequately.
In totality, postpartum depression is a completely normal and common thing, and anyone experiencing it should feel at ease knowing that many people can identify with them. It is very important to be correctly educated about it and put misconceptions to rest since so many people are affected by it.
While PDD is not something that can just be wished away, doing things like getting rest, eating right, taking care of physical and mental health can do wonders when it comes to attempting to overcome and eradicate the illness in its entirety.