Postpartum depression can be a reality for mothers all over the world. After delivery, many mothers worry that they'll suffer from the "baby blues" that just won't go away. And for those who stay at home and have more time to spend their newborn, those fears could very well be more of a reality for them than others. This poses a major question — do more stay home moms suffer from postpartum depression than working moms? Unfortunately, it turns out that postpartum depression is the reality for stay at home moms and working mothers all across the nation.
To put postpartum depression into perspective, it is important to know just how many women suffer from it. In a depression screening done with 10,000 mothers who had recently delivered infants by Northwestern University, it was found that a large percentage of women suffered recurrent episodes of major depression. How large? The study found that one in every seven women have depression after childbirth. "Most of these women would not have been screened and therefore would not have been identified as seriously at risk," Katherine L. Wisener, the study's lead author, told Northwestern.
But how many of these women are stay at home mothers and working mothers? And do stay at home moms suffer from postpartum depression than working moms? The answer is yes, more stay at home moms suffer from postpartum depression — at least, according to a 2012 Gallup Poll.
In 2012, Gallup surveyed 60,000 women in the United States. The poll found that out of the women surveyed, non-employed women with young children are more likely to report experiencing sadness and anger than other moms. The poll also found that stay at home moms are less likely to experience "daily positive emotions" than employed moms or employed women without children. This means that they were less likely to label their lives as "thriving" or say that they "smiled," "laughed a lot," or "learned something interesting."
According to Today, this could be the case because being a stay at home mom can feel isolating at times. When moms are alone all day, taking care of young kids with no one else around can take a toll on mothers. According to Scary Mommy's Laura Harris, being a stay at home mom can also make some women feel like a failure compared to daily headlines about successful entrepreneurs "chasing their dreams." And according to The Chicago Tribune, some women find that they're "bored and resentful."
But does this mean bad news for all stay at home moms with new children? Not quite. It just means that more awareness of postpartum depression needs to be brought mainstream, so that stay at home moms know that they're not alone and can seek the help they deserve. "A lot of women don't understand what is happening to them," Wisner said to Northwestern. "They just think they're stressed or they believe it is how having a baby is supposed to feel."
As the CDC suggests, if moms are feeling thoughts of hopelessness they should see their primary health care provider and seek treatment. While being a stay at home mother is isolating at times, postpartum depression is common and stay at home moms should know they're never alone.