1. How much did you know about postpartum depression before becoming a mother?
It was mentioned in a few books I read, but not even a whole chapter on it. I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I knew some celebrities had come forward about it but it didn’t really affect me. I thought it was only something that people with existing mental illnesses had. – Vanessa
Nothing at all. – Anonymous
I am a mental health professional who has worked on an inpatient unit. I would say I knew a bit more than the average person would. However the cases I worked with were generally very severe so not many people would come across those in their day to day life. – Alexandra
NOTHING! I was a young mother at 17, I knew nothing about this topic. I was never educated or even thought there could be such a thing. – Amber
I knew it about it but had no idea how mothers with PPD actually felt. – Anonymous
I knew of cases like Andrea Yates and thought that was just an extreme case. I thought surely PPD is not that common and definitely did not think postpartum psychosis was common at all. I screened for it with a yes or no question as an L&D nurse but really knew nothing about. – Nicole
Minimal amount and I am a health care professional. – Anonymous
Absolutely nothing. – Brittany
Not a whole lot. My sister got it really bad and I didn’t understand till I got it. – Jodi
Minimal. Nursing student, only reason I knew some. – Anonymous
Absolutely nothing. – Ashley G.
Hardly anything. – Anonymous
I knew a lot about PPD because I’m actually a mental health registered nurse. – Amanda
Very little. – Anonymous
Did not know much about it. – Katy
I didn’t know much with my first until I had already been in it deep. I heard about it here and there but I didn’t know what it all came with. – Samantha
The information that I had was not the right one. I thought that having postpartum depression it meant you didn’t want your children, it was a very naive thought. – Anonymous
A good amount. I am a social worker with child services therefore I speak with all my clients about PPD. – Melissa
Not enough! – Marcella
Nothing! – Anonymous
Only a little. Barely at all, to be honest. – Emily
Not much. Just from what I had seen on Teen Mom. I never thought it could happen to me. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered
I thought that all postpartum depression was postpartum psychosis. – Chelsea
Quite a bit actually. I’ve always know a lot about reproductive issues, pregnancy, and raising children, so when I was pregnant I wanted to make sure to pass on my knowledge to my husband, especially when it came to PPD. I knew I was at high risk for it because I had always struggled with anxiety and off and on with depression. – Kathryn
Not much. – Anonymous
Not very much. – Krista
Honestly, not much. That it existed. Nothing about postpartum anxiety, which is what I actually had. – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County
I thought I knew a lot, but after I was finally diagnosed, I realized I didn’t really understand PPD at all. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me
Very little. – Jessica
Some. I didn’t realize the many different forms it had. I thought of it as depression, sadness, not anger and frustration and feeling numb. – Theresa
I knew VERY little. Mostly because I didn’t think it could happen to me. I was more concerned with birth than I was with the 4th trimester. – Amanda from Mom Like Me
Nothing! It wasn’t talked about in my circles…because it wasn’t real. But when I got it I thought there was something wrong with me. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. – Anonymous
Not very much. I heard of PPD and have a slight case with my now 11 year old looking back. But after my fourth, I now understand the urgency of sharing our stories. My son is 4 and I still am not the person I was. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep
My cousin had it really bad with her first child. – Haylie
Knew it existed but not a ton about it. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula
If you didn’t know anything about postpartum depression before becoming a mother, you are not alone.
Only 4 out of over 30 women who answered the questions said they knew anything about it and only because they worked in the mental health field. What these answers tell us is that there is a huge gap in education for new mothers. We have made significant progress in the way women give birth today, versus the horror stories we’ve heard of ages past. Except when it comes to maternal mental health.
It’s time to do something about that.
Talk about postpartum depression and help spread awareness by sharing information, stories and resources. Tell your pregnant friends what to expect, what to look out for and who to talk to. We should feel as comfortable telling our postpartum depression story as we are telling our labor and delivery story. Because it’s just as (if not more) important.