Postpartum Depression Statistics: One in Five

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postpartum depression statisticsI’ve been saying for years that I believe more women in the US get postpartum depression than the oft-quoted “1 in 8.” That postpartum depression statistic is based on data from the CDC that found a range of anywhere from 11 to 20% of moms get PPD.  Most people like to say it’s 10% or, if they’re really adventurous, 15%. I know one expert who, after saying to the powers that be that he believed the numbers were higher, was told not to get hysterical. Sound familiar, ladies?

The truth is that people aren’t really tracking the numbers as closely as they should here. Good postpartum depression statistics are hard to come by. There is the information from the CDC, which looked at only a handful of states and at only self-reported cases. Given what we now know about how untreated postpartum depression affects both mother and child, I hope to see measurement being ramped up.

I recently reached out to both the CDC and the National Institute of Mental Health to find out how many women die of suicide in the first year postpartum in the US, and where suicide ranks among the leading causes of maternal death here. And you know what? No one had any idea, because they haven’t tracked it. They will now, hopefully, since I made so much noise about finding out. (MUCH gratitude goes to Kathleen O’Leary, head of the women’s program at NIMH, et al, for really making a concerted effort to look into this for me.)

A study came out this week from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare which surveyed 29,000 mothers and found that one in five said they had postpartum depression, or postnatal depression as it’s called there.  One in five. Could the numbers be that large here in the US? There’s no reason to believe they’d be much different.

One in five.

One. In. Five.

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Black with Postnatal Depression: My Therapist Had Never Treated A Black Woman

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postpartum depression, Warrior Moms of ColorLebogang, a South African mother, has blessed us today with another story for our series Warrior Moms of Color, where we focus on Asian-American, Latin-American and African-American — and today, African — moms with postpartum depression or postnatal depression as it’s called elsewhere around the world and their experiences with the illness. I’m so happy to have her at Postpartum Progress!

Apparently I fit the bill to the T, and I didn’t know it.

I remember at the psychiatrist office, how confused and scared I was.

Have you had anxiety before?

A bit, through my divorce.

Have you had a loss prior to this pregnancy?

Yes, an ectopic pregnancy three months prior to conceiving our son.

Have you been on slimming pills, erratic diets, etc?

Errhm, yes, all my life. In fact I might have been anorexic, but we are black so such issues are never diagnosed/discussed.

Have you had a fertility treatment?

Yes, an IUI after a long year of trying to conceive.

Are you a perfectionist?

I have always been.

Did you deliver via C-section?

YES, YES, YES! What’s wrong with me?!

You definitely have postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression! Everything was a blur from that statement onwards.  All I do remember is thinking for sure that I was dying, my heart was pounding so hard I could literally hear every beat, I was shaking like a leaf.

I don’t think this doctor understands what I’m going through. What the hell does this have to do with postnatal depression? I’m having a heart attack people! Hell I’d take depression anyday over this.

Well that’s what I thought at the time, and boy was I wrong.  I was prescribed the lowest dose of antidepressant and something to control my tremendous anxiety, and within hours I could breathe without counting my heartbeats.  But then things got progressively worse.  By Tuesday I couldn’t concentrate, Wednesday I was living through a glass (few people would understand this phenomena), Thursday I saw my son dying in 101 scenarios, by Friday I wanted to run … and by Sunday I wanted to jump.  My mind was racing, I was in a deep hole.  I pleaded with God to keep me alive and did as much research as possible. [Read more...]

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Postpartum Survivor Series Day 4: What Happened After The Next Baby

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Postpartum depression survivor series day four focuses in on when our seven Warrior Moms made the decision to have another child and what that experience was like …

Amber:  Today, I invite you all to share with readers about your experience with pregnancy, adoption or trying to conceive or adopt after postpartum depression.Suzanne: With my second baby, I developed antenatal depression, which, believe it or not, surprised me. My first pregnancy was wonderful. My second one was awful. I was sick the entire time and became so depressed by the five month mark that I decided to get help. I started on a new medication that I was told was safe for pregnancy (I had stopped my other medication for the first trimester), and I was able to keep taking it — and safely breastfeed — during the postpartum period.

Grace: We were so terrified of having another baby. It took probably six months to convince my husband that we could do it. I know he agreed for my sake – we both knew that having another child was crucial to my full healing. I said to my husband the other day that our first son made us parents & our second son healed us.

We made the decision together that I would stay on my antidepressant throughout my pregnancy and postpartum period. My pregnancy was completely uneventful, which I am so very thankful for. I am a ceasarean mom, and we decided to go for a repeat cesarean so as not to trigger any anxiety. It was the right decision for us. [Read more...]

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7 Postpartum Depression Survivors Share Their Stories Of Having More Children

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This week we’re doing a special five-part series featuring seven mothers who survived postpartum depression or a related illness and went on to have more children. The series was put together by Amber Koter-Puline, and will feature input from these mothers on their experiences. I know you’re going to love this:

Welcome to our world. The world of survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, like postpartum depression, who have decided to have more children. Some of us are well down the path with those additions, and others are waiting. You’ll learn more about that later. For now, I invite you to sit back, relax, maybe even grab a cup of tea and meet the women who changed my life…
Amy Brannan
Amy has a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter and is working on adopting the next. She and her husband have been married for five years and live in Washington State.Here’s Amy, in her words:
I never had any symptoms until my daughter was five months old. I went to numerous doctors because I knew something was “off” but no one mentioned postpartum depression ever and that is the hardest thing for me to still accept. I finally started doing my own research and found a website about PPD – I had every symptom listed. My husband and I went to my doctor and I was finally diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety with OCD tendencies in 2008. I started counseling and medication when my baby was ten months old – this continued for 2.5 years. In late 2010, I wasn’t getting better or at least felt like I was stuck, like I was almost over the last hurdle. I was encouraged to start seeing a psychiatrist and she helped tremendously.I also began to diligently start seeking out women who have/had postpartum depression which was when I found PPD blogs and finally started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Facebook, PPDChat and this group of survivor moms saved my life and my sanity and allowed me to accept what is now my testimony in hopes to help others. I also started my own PPD survivor’s blog, to start writing as a way of healing for me. I still battle anxiety and depression that was brought on by the PPD but it is no longer PPD. We have chosen to not get pregnant again because of the severity of my postpartum depression so we are on the waiting list of adopting our next baby! That in itself was the hardest decision to make – choosing not to become pregnant again and feeling like I was broken, no good, choosing second best and a failure.I’d like to assure women that everyone will have a different journey and every woman will have different symptoms. I’d like to encourage women that they are not damaged or different, that they are not failures as moms or wives. Guilt can be a very damaging aspect of PPD – I am proof of that. I’d like to share some thoughts on choosing “not” to become pregnant after PPD again and how women make that decision. I really needed to read about that and I found very little last year when I was struggling the most over this.

I hope to be able to reach women like me who found help when they thought they had reached the end. Women who don’t know what is wrong with them and feel alone. I want to offer support and encouragement to their families, especially their husbands. I would not have made it if it weren’t for my incredible husband and his support and love.

Deborah Rimmler
Deborah is a married mom to two boys.

Meet Deborah:
In this series, I would like to share what we as a group and individually found that worked to help create a new postpartum experience for us and our families. I hope we’ll reach any moms thinking of having a baby after postpartum. Kind of like those who have successfully had a vaginal birth after c-section or VBAC. We are the “BAPPD” (Baby After PPD) survivors with a positive message. [Read more...]

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