I was first interested in Postnatal depression after listening to the 1975’s song “She Lays Down” which was about (lead singer) Matty Healy’s struggle with his mother’s postnatal depression. The lyrics of the song were about young Matty observing how his mother’s condition changed her and how she coped with her condition. I had never heard of type of depression before so I wondered, what is postnatal depression?
Over three million women are affected by postnatal or postpartum depression every single year. Postpartum depression can happen after childbirth and can lasts for months or even years. Mothers with this illness can have a change in diet and can become more anxious than they were before the birth of the baby. The most recognizable symptom is the mother looking after the child as if it is their “duty’ and not because the want to. This can affect so many relationships because anyone that hasn’t experienced depression can often feel like the person is “doing it for attention”. This distance encourages suicidal thoughts in the mother and she is likely to isolate herself from her family and close friends. When you don’t have any family members to truly support and understand you, how else are you supposed to feel?
As I stated before, postnatal depression can affect everyone, not just the baby and their partner. The partner can also feel the same sense of loneliness as well. Because of the changes in the mother’s physical well-being, many responsibilities are put on the partner. Those responsibilities would include raising the baby and taking on another job. Instead of those responsibilities being shared, they are all put on one person in an instant. The relationship of the partner and mother can be drastically affected too, and it can create a negative environment for the baby.
As the baby grows, it may have developmental issues with walking, talking, and eating with a spoon. It is crucial for these stages to happen because the child won’t be able to keep up with other people their age. If the mother is taking care of the baby’s basic needs(diaper changes, being fed) and their partner is always working, there is no time for anyone to teach the baby these things. They aren’t able to learn from other babies or make friends because they are always kept at home. Even though children can be taught through extensive therapy, you can only do so much to ensure that they are able to be “like other kids”.
Even though there are about three million cases of this illness reported every year, it is rarely spoken about, especially in minority communities. Many people can think that they are “exempt” from postnatal depression, but it can happen to anyone! It is so very important to bring awareness and find better treatments to prevent from being so common. If you know a mother that shows any symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with their OB/GYN. Support women that have overcome or are still struggling with postpartum depression. They need it.