Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things about life, but it can also be the scariest. How could someone possibly be depressed after finally bringing their own child into the world after carrying them for 9 months?!? Birthing a child is an EXTREMELY difficult and exhausting process. Mental illnesses are very common in new mothers and unfortunately many new mothers suffer in silence due to shame.
Women go through a lot of emotional, hormonal, physical and psychological changes throughout pregnancy. Following pregnancy it’s very common for mothers to experience a condition called postpartum depression. This condition can range from mild to severe and can last months after pregnancy. Symptoms of PPD include severe mood swings, difficulty bonding with your child, insomnia, intense anger and suicidal thoughts. It’s weird to think there are mothers that don’t immediately love their newborn, but it’s actually completely normal.
When you think of postpartum mental illnesses you assume only mothers can have it given they are the ones that carried the baby. Actually fathers can have it too! Becoming a parent requires a whole new set of skills that can be extremely overwhelming to some. Sleep deprivation has a lot to do with it but also the feeling of being excluded from the mother/child relationship. It’s important to not only check in on the new mother, but the father as well.
A less common, more intense version of postpartum depression is postpartum psychosis. It’s a mental illness that completely distorts a person’s sense of reality. Many cases of PPP represent a bipolar episode. They may experience delusion, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and paranoia. These auditory hallucinations and delusional thoughts are usually centered around harming the newborn or themselves. This condition is extremely scary and honestly, not taken seriously enough. I think it’s a lot more common than we think, just rare for mothers to ask for help. I personally think it has to do with the stigma around PPD/PPP. They experience the fear of being judged, lack of support, abandonment or even having their child taken away from them.
Recently, my TikTok for you page has been blowing up about the Lindsey Clancy case. A Massachusetts mother of 3 strangled her kids to death after being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Lindsey had been prescribed over THIRTEEN medications to help her depression but doctors continue to say that those were not the cause of the murder. Before the death of her 3 children, Lindsey had actually checked herself into a psychiatric facility but had been sent home. Many people online have different opinions on if she did this on purpose, or she truly was in a psychosis. No matter what, I think it still goes to show how flawed the mental health system is and we have to do better.
Maternal/paternal mental healthcare is something that affects us all. I’m confident that every mother/father is the ideal caregiver for her kids. The best gift you can offer your children is guidance and the ability to be upfront about your emotions. Teaching children that being vulnerable is normal, can help them learn to have compassion for both themselves and other people in the future.
Ways to help a loved one dealing with PPD/PPP❤︎
- Look for capable assistance for your loved one.
- Become informed.
- Don’t attempt to diagnose them yourself.
- When you observe that they are improving, let them know.
- Encourage them to get some rest, go for a walk, and eat well.
- Join them for appointments.
- Work with medical professionals to assist them.
- Seek assistance for yourself.
- Remind them that they are dealing with a health issue.