The Toll of Postpartum Depression

depressed womanLast month in India, a woman threw her 45-day-old daughter out of the hospital's bathroom window. It's suspected that she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to premature twins.

In Texas this week a mother of four stabbed her 25-year-old daughter to death before shooting herself in the head. While the motive is unknown, postpartum depression is also being investigated, as the woman has a 5-month-old baby as well.

The deep, desperate acts caused by postpartum depression are mind-numbing, and it's terrifying to think anyone could be that overridden by the disease to do such awful things.

But it's real, and it's prevalent. With more than 400,000 babies affected by mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, it is THE most under-diagnosed obstetric condition in America.

The effects of postpartum depression, however, aren't always so dramatic. Some results are much more subtle, but do damage nonetheless.


According to a new study, the children of mothers who suffer from postpartum depression are more likely to have developmental and social delays.

Identifying and treating it early are key say experts. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that pediatricians assess new mothers at least once after they have given birth and that they should screen them when they bring in the children for future checkups during at least the first six months.

It's good for all parents and their close family and friends to know the signs of postpartum depression as well.

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the signs of postpartum depression:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swing
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor immediately. There are multiple treatment options available that can help you and prevent your baby from any harm.

Have you ever suffered from postpartum depression? Did you spot the symptoms yourself or did someone else recognize that you needed help?


Image via Megyarsh/Flickr


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