Mental Needs for Nursing Mothers Suffering from Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression, also known as postnatal depression, is the name given to a disorder that nursing mothers may face when dealing with their newborn child. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include, “loss of appetite, insomnia, intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, loss of interest in sex, lack of joy in life, feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy, severe mood swings, difficulty bonding with your baby, withdrawal from family and friends, or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby,”(Mayo Clinic Staff 1). Although postpartum depression was classified as a disorder in the 1850’s, it has been written in history as far back as the times of Hippocrates; in 700 BC, Hippocrates wrote about women who were afflicted with depression during their postpartum period. Even though the disorder was medically evaluated and classified in the nineteenth century, many women were still afraid to speak out about their thoughts and feelings on depression because they were considered neurotic and often treated with either shock-therapy or valium. The thought of others perceiving them as crazy was enough to hold them back on bringing their issue of postpartum depression about. In first world countries like the U.S., postpartum depression can be acknowledged as an actual chemical imbalance in the brain, thus, considering it a disorder. Even though the information is relevant to all walks of life, some cultures, like the Indian culture,still uphold traditional cultural values when it comes to diagnosing illnesses like depression. By creating an awareness video and website on postpartum depression in Malayalam and English, the primary languages spoken in Kerala, India, I hope to expand knowledge on postnatal disorder to mothers, fathers, and families so that the depression can be treated accurately and efficiently.
There are many types of postpartum mental illness’ besides postpartum depression, and I plan to mention most of the illnesses in my website to inform the reader. One of them is postpartum anxiety. A woman with PPA may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some women have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling. Another illness is postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder. Women with PPOCD can have repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. These moms find these thoughts very scary and unusual and are very unlikely to ever act on them. The next postpartum illness is postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder. PPTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event. The last postpartum illness is postpartum psychosis. PPP sufferers sometimes see and hear voices or images that others can’t, called hallucinations. They may believe things that aren’t true and distrust those around them. They may also have periods of confusion and memory loss, and seem manic. This severe condition is dangerous so it is important to seek help immediately.
I chose to research with this matter of healthcare because of my innate love for kids. Ever since I could remember, I have loved taking care and being around kids. The problem of postpartum depression not only affects the mother, but also the child. According to an article on CBSNews.com by Ryan Jaslow, “..postpartum depression has been linked to a shorter duration of breast-feeding, attachment issues along and increased stress in kids, all of which all could affect growth,” (1). Postnatal depression in the mother has numerous consequences for the child later on in life. Since I want to become a...
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