How do we end the stigma surrounding postpartum depression and maternal mental health?
The more people know about postpartum depression, the better equipped they will be at handling it. One of the reasons that postpartum depression is such an epidemic is because of the lack of knowledge. Some mothers don’t even know they have it. Their families don’t know the warning signs and symptoms. Their doctors don’t know how to treat it.
We all need to stop assuming that postpartum depression won’t happen to us or to someone we love. We need to stop ignoring it and pretending that it doesn’t exist or isn’t our problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mother yourself or not, because maternal mental health affects everyone.
For our 2020 Postpartum Depression Campaign, we’ve decided it’s time to educate the general public, and not remain focused simply on mothers who are suffering from the condition first hand. There is so much misinformation and myths about postpartum depression. It’s time people knew the real, hard, facts about this extremely common mental illness.
Check out our postpartum depression campaigns from previous years:
The Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Quiz is designed to educate everyone, not just mothers.
Take the quiz and see how much you know. Share the quiz with your family and friends to see how much they know. The best part is, you can’t cheat on this quiz. If you don’t know an answer and decide to Google it… congratulations, you are officially doing research on postpartum depression!
What is postpartum depression?
Depression during pregnancy is referred to as prenatal (also called perinatal or antepartum) depression. While postpartum depression can occur in mothers who have suffered from birth trauma and/or loss, it is not the only cause. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/depression-during-pregnancy/
You need to have a history of mental illness in order to get postpartum depression.
Having a prior history of mental illness does increase your risk for getting postpartum depression, but those with zero risk factors can still get it. https://psychcentral.com/lib/risk-factors-for-postpartum-depression/
Who does postpartum depression affect?
Postpartum depression can affect anyone, regardless of background, number of children, type of support system or mental health history. https://www.postpartumdepression.org/resources/statistics/
Fathers can also get postpartum depression.
Since hormones are not the only contributing factor to postpartum depression, fathers can also experience symptoms of depression following the birth of their child. https://parentingpod.com/paternal-postpartum-depression/
Which one is NOT a symptom of postpartum depression?
Women experience symptoms of postpartum depression differently, however hallucinations or hearing voices are a symptom of postpartum psychosis, which is a much more serious condition that requires immediate attention. https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/postpartum-psychosis
Postpartum depression goes away on it's own with time.
Postpartum depression does not go away without some form of treatment. https://psychcentral.com/lib/5-damaging-myths-about-postpartum-depression/
How long can postpartum depression last?
It's not uncommon for women to suffer from postpartum depression for years following the birth of their child. It requires treatment and lifestyle changes to keep symptoms under control, but it can be triggered again at any time. The sooner a woman finds the right treatment option, the sooner she will be able to live symptom-free. https://runningintriangles.com/one-year-postpartum-and-still-depressed/
Postpartum depression begins as soon as the baby is born.
Postpartum depression can begin anytime in the year following the birth of a child, depending on what the trigger is. Illness in either baby or mom, colic, sleep deprivation and other things can trigger postpartum depression long after labor and delivery. https://www.romper.com/p/delayed-postpartum-depression-can-show-up-years-later-last-longer-than-you-think-8623822
Postpartum depression will go away by:
While help, sleep and positive thinking will all help manage the symptoms, professional help is the best course of action for a mother suffering from a mental illness. http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy
Antidepressants are the only treatment option for postpartum depression.
Antidepressant medication doesn't work for everyone. There are other treatment options available, such as support groups, therapy, nutritional supplements, acupuncture and more. https://www.webmd.com/depression/postpartum-depression/understanding-postpartum-depression-treatment#1
The difference between postpartum depression and the baby blues is:
The baby blues are not a mental illness. They tend to go away on their own within the first few weeks and the symptoms are manageable on their own. http://runningintriangles.com/the-baby-blues-vs-postpartum-depression/
Mothers with postpartum depression are a danger to their babies.
Mothers with postpartum depression are not inclined to harm their children. In fact, they often feel over-protective of them. While they may experience intrusive thoughts that include bringing harm to themselves or their children, they are still able to separate them from reality. Being unable to separate unwanted thoughts from reality is a symptom of postpartum psychosis and requires immediate medical attention. https://www.medic8.com/healthguide/post-natal/harm-their-baby.html
Postpartum depression is caused by:
There is no exact cause of postpartum depression, although researchers have been working hard to try to figure it out. Different factors can trigger postpartum depression symptoms, but in many cases, the trigger is not always evident. Therapy is usually the best way to determine the deep-rooted cause. https://www.momgenesfightppd.org/
It is possible to get postpartum depression with one child and not with the next one.
Depending on what triggered postpartum depression the first time, it's possible to avoid it a second time. The best route is to seek treatment prior to having another child, so that you can determine how to go about that. http://runningintriangles.com/how-to-prepare-for-another-baby-after-postpartum-depression/
The cure for postpartum depression is:
There is no cure for postpartum depression, only treatment. Antidepressants, including the new Zulresso drug, therapy and some lifestyle changes including a proper self care routine can treat the symptoms, but there is always a chance that they will be triggered again. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325691.php#about
Postpartum depression can go away and then come back again.
Postpartum depression can relapse in women who have successfully established a treatment plan. This can happen months or years after the postpartum period is over. http://runningintriangles.com/how-to-avoid-a-postpartum-depression-relapse/
Mothers with postpartum depression:
Mothers with postpartum depression are often stronger because they have to fight hard every day to do the same things that other mothers do with ease. Despite this struggle, they do love their children and will do anything to protect them. Not all mothers with postpartum depression are suicidal. Depression commonly causes suicidal feelings and can worsen if left untreated. http://runningintriangles.com/things-mothers-with-postpartum-depression-want-you-to-know/
Most women don't talk about postpartum depression because they feel ashamed.
The stigma of postpartum depression causes the majority of women to keep silent about their condition. Women often get blamed or are represented as bad mothers for suffering with this mental illness, despite the fact that it's completely out of their control. http://runningintriangles.com/mothers-dont-speak-up-about-postpartum-depression/
The rate of women who experience postpartum depression is:
According to a recent study, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, which translates to roughly 600,000 women in the U.S. alone. It is the most common complication of childbirth. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/1666651
The estimated rate of postpartum depression cases that are undiagnosed is:
It's hard to know the exact statistics on this one, but it's estimated that up to half of the cases are ignored by both mothers themselves and their doctors. Unfortunately, not enough medical professionals are as trained as they should be at detecting postpartum depression, so the cases can go undiagnosed for years. https://www.romper.com/p/how-often-is-postpartum-depression-missed-by-professionals-it-goes-undiagnosed-frequently-15743