According to reports 1 in 5 mothers will suffer from severe depression or anxiety after giving birth.
I was lucky, I did not have postpartum depression, but I have personally known women who have and there is one thing that always comes up when they tell their story, we need better support and understanding.
While I was in the maternity ward, I shared the room with another mother. The curtain was drawn between both of us the majority of the time, but I could still hear her and hear the conversation that she had with the nurses.
The young mother clearly felt overwhelmed. She kept saying over and over to the nurses that she couldn’t take care of the baby. She didn’t want to look or touch her son. She was crying constantly and asking for help, for the nurses to take the child away. The nurses were understanding at first but became firmer as time past ordering the woman to take her child and be a good mother.
She had no family visit, unlike me who was constantly surrounded by happy people who were there if I needed help. The only person that came was the husband who passed less than half an hour there and was yelling at her the entire time to stop crying and get on with it.
I voiced my worry that the woman may have postpartum depression and asked if a doctor had come to see her. They told me that they cannot treat women for postpartum depression in the maternity ward. The poor woman would have to get her leave from the maternity ward and check herself back into the hospital for postpartum depression. This doesn’t make any sense at all. Postpartum depression should be detected and treated in the maternity ward since it happens after you had a baby. Let’s face it, someone feeling that depressed and shitty won’t turn back and ask for help.
The worst part is if something happens to that poor innocent child because no one took care of his mom when they could, she will be vilified on the news and pass many years in prison.
Postpartum depression or perinatal mood disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help, so aren’t we offering support from the moment it’s detected? With greater awareness and understanding, rolling back the stigma of postpartum depression becomes possible.
For all the new moms experiencing depression, feelings of inadequacy or anxiety, please don’t hide them and talk about your feelings. I guarantee you that you are not alone and you are not a bad mother. The problem is chemical and can be fixed if you reach out. It’s like breaking an arm and getting a cast while you heal.