Postpartum Depression Therapy
There’s probably nothing more horrifying then a woman killing her own children. Media reports of these tragedies have been increasing in recent years, and they are often linked to postpartum depression. Most recently, Canadian mother Felicia Boots, 35, pled guilty to charges of manslaughter. Boots was charged with suffocating her 10 week old son and 1 year old daughter earlier this year. Her claims of postpartum depression and reports from psychiatrists caused the prosecution to reduce charges from murder to manslaughter.
Postpartum Depression Therapy: What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that can present itself in women after childbirth. It usually begins about one month after a woman gives birth and can last for up to a year. It is caused in part by the massive hormonal changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and after giving birth. Symptoms can include anxiety, sadness, uncontrollable crying, insomnia, fatigue, and decreased sex drive. In extreme cases, postpartum depression is associated with thoughts of harming the child.
Women who are single parents, who did not plan for the pregnancy, who have lower social and economic support, and who smoke seem to be at greater risk of developing postpartum depression. As many as 50-80% of women develop some kind of postpartum mood disorder after giving birth.
Postpartum Depression Therapy: Evolutionary Theory
There is a theory that postpartum depression has an evolutionary basis. Ancestral mothers who didn’t have the social and economic support to raise a child without harm to other their other children or to themselves may have developed postpartum depression as a way of distancing themselves from an infant that would most likely die. It would reduce the mother’s investment in the costly child. This theory supports the idea that postpartum depression therapy should be aimed at getting mother’s what they need to support the child.
Postpartum Depression Therapy: Mother’s Health
Some studies have shown that nutrition of the mother can have a big impact on whether or not she develops postpartum depression. This is why postpartum depression therapy includes nutritional support and monitoring. Healthy sleep patterns are also encouraged, as lack of sleep can make postpartum depression even worse.
Postpartum Depression Therapy: Social Support and Treatment
A big part of postpartum depression therapy includes social support. Support groups tend to help mothers struggling with postpartum depression as well as home visits. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also used, as well as medication.
Postpartum Depression Therapy: Negative Stigma
A lot of new moms who are suffering from postpartum depression do not get the postpartum depression therapy that they need. This is due in part to the negative social stigma that surrounds postpartum depression. People hear these extreme cases in the news of women harming their babies and it creates a prejudice against women with this disorder. Women worry that they will be looked down upon, that they are not fit to be a mother, or that someone will take away their kids. Because of the social stigma, many cases of postpartum depression go undiagnosed and untreated.