While everyone says having a baby should be the happiest time in your life, for some mothers, it is the opposite. While many think the days after birth should be filled with happy bonding moments between mother and baby, they can be filled with uncontrollable sadness or the"baby blues" — moments of mood swings and crying spells known as postpartum depression. While many women have reported living with it, how many women actually receive treatment for postpartum depression every year?
The answer might be shocking. According to a 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, postpartum depression affects one in seven mothers in the United States. It may not be the easiest thing to talk about, but postpartum exists — even if its symptoms are easy to blame on other things, like hormones or common mood swings. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of postpartum depression include severe mood swings, excessive crying, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, and fear that you're not a good mother — among many other seemingly normal things.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends women see a doctor and seek treatment if the symptoms do not fade, get worse, or make everyday tasks difficult. Unfortunately, despite the warnings, according to Postpartum Progress, only 15 percent of women will ever receive treatment for it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for postpartum depression can include a variety of things, depending on what the mother feels comfortable with. This could vary from talking with a therapist and setting goals or even possibly taking antidepressants. But not receiving treatment for postpartum depression could come with lasting effects. According to Scientific American, untreated postpartum depression can not only hurt the mother, but hurt the kids as well. Mothers suffering with postpartum depression are less likely to be positively engaged with their children and tend to be less consistent with parenting. These behaviors can influence children's cognitive, social, and physical development.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why so many women go untreated for postpartum depression symptoms. According to a 2014 BabyCenter survey, reported by the Huffington Post, many women feel as if they're strong enough to overcome their symptoms on their own. Others admit to being too embarrassed or feel too guilty to receive treatment. These reasons, among others, are why only 15 percent of people with postpartum depression will ever receive treatment for it.
But receiving treatment shouldn't be a bad thing and can be as simple as mentioning symptoms to your physician or asking about a screening for postpartum depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. So yes: One in seven women live with postpartum depression. But it's also more common than you think and can be treated — and speaking up doesn't just benefit new moms, it benefits everyone.