I’m tired of reading stuff like this:
“We’ve seen the birth of a child tons of times in movies. The mother is exhausted but has a faint smile as she looks at her newborn, and her family is gathered around the bed. No matter how tough it is to care for the baby, with the mountains of smelly diapers, what we don’t see in films is the truth of how mothers may react to such a celebratory time because of their postpartum depression (PPD).” – Yahoo
Overwhelming motherhood does not cause postpartum depression.
“The inability to cope with motherhood or personality traits are not among the identified risk factors, so the public view (if that’s really how it is seen) is somewhat misguided,” says Susanne Brummelte, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan.
While PPD can be exacerbated by environmental factors, the underlying cause of PPD is biological.
We just don’t know exactly what internal mechanisms are at play yet but identifying them will help to explain why some women get PPD while others don’t given the same set of environmental factors.
And why some women without any stress or challenging outside factors at all still develop PPD.
I experienced both scenarios.
After the birth of my first daughter, I was overwhelmed by new parenthood, had a terrible and traumatic birth, a demanding and challenging baby that in later years would be diagnosed with severe hyperactive ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder, I wasn’t sleeping properly, I had problems in my marriage, and I wasn’t fulfilled in my career.
After the birth of my second daughter, everything, and I mean everything was fine. It was more than fine, it was amazing! I loved motherhood, had a wonderful birth experience, I was sleeping 8-10 hours a night from day one, I had an “easy” baby, I ate well, practiced yoga and meditation, I loved my husband and I loved my new career.
Not only did I get PPD twice, but the second time around, when everything was great, I got it worse!
That’s the first time I began to understand that there was more at play concerning PPD than simply the inability to cope with parenthood and a screwed up life.
That’s the first time I began to understand that PPD was not something I brought on myself, that it wasn’t my fault and that there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it from happening.
Not yet anyway.
At its roots, PPD was clearly something physical and biological that no amount of downward dogs or talk therapy could prevent.
What I needed and what all women need is a biological test to be able to detect the potential for, or if it gets to that point which in my mind would signal the failure of the medical system, the onset of PPD and appropriate treatment to either prevent it, help a woman through it (which is the only kind of reactive treatment we have right now), or reverse it altogether.
A clear distinction needs to be made between clinical PPD and a period in which mothers and fathers may feel more stressed out, exhausted, trapped, frustrated, or sad than they’re used to due to the demands of new parenthood and beyond.
The fact that PPD results in the same mental symptoms as overwhelming parenthood makes it difficult and confusing for the public to make the distinction.
We need more scientific research into the neurobiology and etiology of PPD and a biological test to be able to help women that suffer from PPD get appropriate treatment as well as a better understanding of her biological make-up because women who are susceptible to PPD often have other “mental” health disorders tied to their reproductive cycle such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and the potential for a particularly difficult menopause.
Once again, PPD is not a result of challenging parenting. It is a physical, biological condition tied to some kind of internal combination of hormones, neurotransmitters in the brain, and the immune system.