Myths Surrounding Postpartum Depression Prevent Some Moms From Getting Help

While it’s understandable that the general public may not distinguish between the facts and falsehoods about postpartum depression (PPD), it’s terribly discouraging when medical and mental health professionals are equally misinformed.

A recent article on PsychCentral included this disheartening quote, “You should hear the things I hear from moms across the country — awful things that are said to them by partners, family members, co-workers, nurses and doctors,” said Katherine Stone, an advocate for women with PPD.

The real problem about this lack of understanding is that myths may dissuade many from seeking help, and as I’ve often said on this blog, untreated PPD can lead to long-term, unfortunate consequences for both mom and child.

To help distinguish myths from facts, I’m listing seven points; the first two are from the PsychCentral blog and the remaining five from my book, “Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum Disorders.”

Myth: Having PPD is somehow your fault.

Fact: Women often blame themselves for having PPD and experience guilt over their symptoms because they’re not basking in some magical bliss of motherhood. But remember PPD isn’t something you choose. It’s a serious illness that can’t just be willed away.

Myth: PPD occurs within the first few months of childbirth.

Fact: Most women tend to recognize their symptoms after three or four months post-childbirth, however, postpartum depression can occur any time in the first year postpartum.

Myth: Supermoms are not the type to get this illness.

False. Anyone can get it. in fact, unrealistic expectations may put a new parent at great risk.

Myth: Nursing your baby will protect you from PPD because of the additional hormones you’re secreting.

False: There’s no evidence of this. Many moms who nurse their babies get PPD.

Myth: Mothers who have postpartum depression always have trouble bonding with their babies.

False: While this may be true in some cases, many mothers with PPD still feel connected to their babies. However, clinical depression often affects the ability to experience pleasure and this can at times mean loss of feelings toward activities and/or people, including one’s spouse, children and baby.

Myth: it’s not a good idea to hear about the illness when you’re pregnant because if you’re suggestible, you’ll be more likely to get it.

False: Hearing about the disease beforehand may help you recognize symptoms and seek professional counseling sooner. PPD is not contagious!

Myth: Taking medication is the only way to get rid of postpartum depression.

False: Therapy and support groups are important for recovery, and may be the only form of treatment needed in certain cases. However, some women benefit from the combination of medication and therapy. The treatment that is necessary for healing is individually determined by your mental health specialist.

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~ by ppdsus on April 7, 2014.

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