The Truth Doesn't Hurt

One of the problems with women getting hit so hard by postpartum depression and other related illnesses is that honest information about such issues is completely glossed over by most everyone who prepares women for childbirth and beyond. In my birth prep class, the nurse from my hospital mentioned the baby blues, maybe a sentence about PPD, and then said, "But none of my patients ever have that problem, and you won’t either." The book What To Expect When You’re Expecting devotes two-and-a-half pages to it (see pgs. 398-400) and includes information like "Probably the only good thing about postpartum depression is that it doesn’t last very long — about 48 hours for most women." Then the authors go on to talk about such remedies as getting help from others, unwinding with a cocktail, going out to dinner, and getting to know other new mothers. Finally, at the very end, there is one single paragraph that mentions seeking counseling if it lasts for more than two weeks accompanied by " … sleeplessness, lack of appetite, a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness …" Two pages, and only one paragraph that begins to get at the truth of this terrible illness. Yet this is the quintessential guide for pregnant women everywhere. I think it’s important to get over the fear of upsetting mothers with uncomfortable information in pregnancy. I wish someone had told me what intrusive thoughts were before my son was born, so I wouldn’t have sat alone in fear that I had lost my mind.