Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding postpartum depression is alive and well. The Daily Mail reported that 49% of mothers, roughly 35,000 a year, do not seek treatment for depression. While some new moms simply don’t believe that their symptoms are bad enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office, a third of these women don’t report their issues because they are worried about social services getting involved and taking their children.
Think about that, new moms aren’t seeking treatment for a potentially serious illness because they don’t want to lose their kids. This is a huge problem. One of the many symptoms of PPD is a sense of isolation and loneliness. For these suffering women, they feel cut of from the world and they’re concerned that someone will come in and take away their little ones.
So whose to blame for this fear? 4Children, the charity that conducted the survey, believes that medical institutions need to be more pro-active in discussing the problems facing new mothers. And, they believe that medication shouldn’t always be the go-to solution. Many moms would benefit simply from being able to talk through their issues.
Also, I think need moms need to be more open in communicating and supporting one another. We’re all very quick to tell each other what we’re doing wrong, but sometimes we need to remember how difficult that first year can be. Moms have an amazing ability to nurture and care for people, if we use those talents to help each other, those in our families and communities (both online and in your personal life), we could erase some of the stigma surrounding this disease.
Postpartum depression does not mean that you’re a terrible mother. It doesn’t mean that you can’t take care of your kids. And it shouldn’t result in your losing your infant to CPS. It simply means that you need help and support. No matter where you find it, I hope mothers are reaching out to one another and to their doctors. Postpartum depression is a serious issue and it’s going to take all of us to change the image surrounding those who suffer with it.