Postpartum depression is for real and it mustn’t be ignored

Postpartum depression is for real and it mustn’t be ignored
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The biggest problem with the phenomenon is the hush-hush condition it has been thrown into where women are unable to recognise it and treat it as a daily problem that easily goes away. But it doesn’t.

When Joanna Lydsay, the grief-stricken mother from Helen Fitzgerald’s novel, ‘The Cry’ first heard her baby cry she was at once struck with a confused emotional pattern where her happiness was shrouded in sombre reluctance. As a mother, Joanna- the leading character played by Jenna Coleman in BBC One’s adapted mini-series- finds her mental state being shattered at the aftermath of her new-born son’s kidnap and she soon finds herself in the gazing suspicion of public scrutiny as she tries to remember how she missed her son being picked up under her own watch. Not only did the miniseries paved the way Coleman’s brilliant execution of fear and anxiety but it also brought to the audience’s notice a topic so common that it is often not considered, postpartum depression.

When Sports Illustrated cover girl, Chrissy Teigen opened up about her condition with postpartum depression. Although everything seemed pretty fine with the 33-year-old model, she mentioned that she was not the same after giving birth to her daughter Luna. She said, “I was different than before. Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my ­shoulders—even my wrists—hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people...I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: ‘Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom.’

Teigen was a happy wife but it took her a while to get into the cycle of motherhood. (IMDb)

Although postpartum depression is not a rare phenomenon, the sheer silence maintained around the matter has made it difficult for women to speak about it. According to, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, it is defined as, “Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings of postpartum depression are more intense and last longer than those of “baby blues,” a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby. “Baby blues” symptoms typically resolve on their own, within a few days.” There can be many symptoms to postpartum depression, some of which include:

  • Crying more often than usual
  • Feelings of anger
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby

According to Karen Kleiman, L.C.S.W., director of the Postpartum Stress Center, and author of The Art of Holding in Therapy: An Essential Intervention for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, who spoke with Glamour about the matter, “Women tend to be more emotional after childbirth due to fluctuating hormone levels, but there’s a difference between normal postpartum mood changes and actual postpartum depression. Women who are dealing with postpartum depression may experience overwhelming sadness, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and low self-esteem.” “She may experience scary, unwanted intrusive thoughts about harm coming to her baby,” Kleiman says. “She is likely to have difficulty sleeping, and she may be suicidal.”

Postpartum depression can happen to anybody. (IMDb)

Due to the clouded terrain that postpartum depression has been thrown upon, the experts at Allegheny Health Network came up with some signature clues to find out what women really mean when they say a few things during the situation. Such as when a woman states that she is lonely she actually wants to indicate the loneliness she feels in her suffering. Heather, a PPD survivor and an Allegheny Health Network patient has mentioned, ‘The trickiest part of PPD? You probably look exactly the same on the outside. In many cases, women continue to power through their daily routines so it can be easy to miss their suffering. "You feel like you're drowning, [But] physically looking at me or at anyone that suffers from something like this, you can't see it. That's what makes it so difficult.”’

Similarly, there also might be cases where a woman is unable to cherish the joy of motherhood. According to Ashleigh, a PPD survivor and Allegheny Health Network patient, “I felt so guilty because, here I am, I have this new, adorable baby who doesn't cry and is fantastic. I didn't want to seem ungrateful." Tamar Gur, M.D., Ph.D., a women's health expert and reproductive psychiatrist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center indicates that a way to recognize a woman suffering from PPD is when she begins to isolate herself, “They don’t want to leave the house, don’t want anyone to come see them—even people they generally get along well with,” she says. Gur says women with postpartum depression often feel that they can’t enjoy anything and nothing makes them happy.