Full disclosure, I’ve never experienced postpartum depression. Sure, I had bouts of the “baby blues” in those first weeks after giving birth, but never full blown PPD. However, I have many friends and family members that have. Because they, and really all women out there doing this motherhood thing, matter to me, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to postpartum depression.
Let’s start off with some statistics, shall we?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, somewhere between 11-20% of women having babies experience symptoms of postpartum depression. If you settle on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone. Did you catch that? 600,000 women with PPD. And that’s not including women that miscarry or have stillborn babies. Those women are also susceptible to postpartum depression. From the research I’ve done, if you include those women (and really, why wouldn’t you??), there are approximately a million women suffering from various forms of PPD.
But wait, there’s more! Bad news that is. Because of the shame that many women feel, it’s estimated that only 15% of women experiencing PPD symptoms seek treatment. Meaning that approximately 850,000 women are suffering without telling anyone. How sad is that? Postpartum depression is 100% treatable. But so many of us don’t seek treatment because of fear, guilt and shame. That needs to end now.
How do we put an end to shaming postpartum depression
It’s actually pretty easy.
First, stop judging other moms and be nice. Encourage them to be the best mom they can be and to parent the way that works for them and their children. Your way may be right for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone else.
Second, be open about the hardships of motherhood. Glass castles, my friends. None of us are perfect. We’ve all had our trials and difficulties in parenthood. Don’t be a Negative-Nancy or a Me Monster, but be honest about imperfections in motherhood. If you have or are affected by postpartum depression, help spread awareness. Let other moms know that it’s okay! And that it will all be okay!
Third, give love. This goes with the first point, but is deserving of it’s on paragraph. Give love to other moms. When you love and serve others, you will bless your life and theirs. That makes a difference. It opens the door for open communication and true friendship. Have you ever seen Grey’s Anatomy? Remember how Meredith and Christina are each other’s “person”?. Be that. Be someone’s person.
Wanna know what really inspired me to write this post? My sister-in-law. Nicole is a hip, young mom with three kids. She’s an amazing mother. She’s also no stranger to postpartum depression. Nicole recently shared her experience on her own blog and has given me permission to share.
Her story is long, but SO worth your time. It’s heart-wrench and warming at the same time. It is completely relatable. And it is full of hope. Wether you are currently in the throws of postpartum depression or have never experienced it, you will find hope and promise in her story. READ NICOLE’S POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION STORY HERE.
Okay, postpartum depression matters. What can I do RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE??
Simple. Share this blog post. Or share Nicole’s. Put the word out there that PPD is common and treatable and completely shameless. Show support to your fellow mamas. Love them for who they are.