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This research paper is based on three peer-reviewed articles on postpartum depression. The first article was written by Keefe and his colleagues in 2015 but published in 2016. Discussed in this article, includes advise on how mothers with postpartum depression can find non-clinical assistance. The second article was written by Ness and others in 2017, which dealt with factors that lead to postpartum depression. The last article was written by Nielsen and other authors in 2015, and published in 2016. The article investigates the effects of postpartum depression.
Scientists have varying explanations of what postpartum depression (PPD) is and its causes. However, they all agree on its symptoms. The first explanation of PPD was given in 1950 when it was considered a biologic experience of middle-class women who had just given birth to “blue babies.” The scientists further embedded the experience on the changes of hormones after childbirth. However, researchers proved that the condition extends beyond the immediate postpartum period, and it can affect any mother across the social strata. PPD can be identified by changes in appetite, difficulty in concentrating, loss of interest, and suicidal tendencies.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Studies show that postpartum depression is high among women who are physically and psychologically traumatized. For instance, women restricted to refugee camps and reservations can easily acquire PPD. Women living in such confined areas results in decreased economic opportunities and social support. Gaining access to education or services, such as housing, and healthcare is challenging. Inaccessibility of such needs leads to poverty, high suicide rates, alcoholism, high school dropout rates, low educational achievement, and high family disintegration (Ness et al., 2017).
Teenagers are often difficult to handle. Therefore, mothers with teenage children wish not to bear more. Also, mothers might find it awkward to bear another child at the late ages, especially, when the youngest child is already married. Parenting at old age is challenging and can bring PPD. Such small issues might be considered insignificant, but personal suffering can weaken a mother’s psychological functioning (Nielsen, Tharner, Krogh, & Vaver, 2016).
Effects of Postpartum Depression
Research shows that apart from other factors, postpartum depression of mothers can affect a child’s socio-emotional development. Parental responsiveness and sensitivity during postpartum distress period affect a child’s attention in learning and play. Parent’s involvement and concern regarding their children’s academic performance helps them to improve in socio-emotional development. Families with mothers suffering from PPD are always in quarrels. In such families, children feel like they are in the middle of war. Disturbing relationships in families affect children’s cognitive development. A sound environment helps kids understand their academic studies better (Nielsen et al., 2016).
In most cases, Mothers with PPD do not breastfeed their babies. Infants who lack an opportunity to suckle in the first six months develop health problems later in life. Also, the infants may not receive good child care, up-to-date immunization, and vaccinations. Mothers with PPD are less likely to offer a safe environment such as safety latches, car seats, and electric outlet covers to their children. Therefore, it is appropriate that husbands support their spouses get through postpartum depression (Ness et al., 2017).
Treatment of Postpartum Depression
In African American and Latino communities, the mothers with postpartum depression are more likely to get through PPD than white communities because churches in these societies often offer to counsel. The churches also act as venues for health education, assessment, and intervention. There are also specific times when free screening is done for various diseases and conditions. Frequent church attendance has proven to be of help to PPD (Keefe et al., 2016).
Other ways of aiding mothers with postpartum is through guidance and counseling. This service is available in community centers, hospitals, churches, schools, and even private practices. In most cases, community centers, churches, and schools offer free guidance and counseling. However, the rich would prefer to get the services in private practices because of secrecy. Therefore, psychologists and counselors can help mothers with PPD (Keefe et al., 2016)
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Postpartum depression has become a universal problem for mothers across the world, yet it is not given serious attention. Some people consider it as normal, but its symptoms can stretch a patient to committing suicide (Ness et al., 2017). The consequences of PPD are broad in that it can affect the mother, the infant, and any other family member. PPD can thwart the social and cognitive development of an infant (Nielsen et al., 2016). Conversations in social gatherings can help mothers with PPD. However, the rich would prefer expensive therapy sessions to conversations in a social gathering (Keefe et al., 2016).
Child-bearing age presents serious health risks that few people understand. Postpartum depression has become a common health condition for mothers, but husbands and other family members never comprehend the risks associated with it. The health status of the mother and infants are crucial. Therefore, conditions like PPD can be avoided if the mother and family members are aware of the symptoms and risks. Guidance and counseling should include the fathers because parenting is a joint responsibility. For example, the African American and Latino communities, have churches which offer services like guidance and counseling that can be extended to other communities. Therefore, more centers that provide free psychotherapy services should be established to help curb PPD.
- Keefe, R. H., Evans, C. B., & Polmanteer, R. R. (2016). “I Find peace there”: How faith, church, and spirituality help mothers of color cope with postpartum depression. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 19(7), 722-733.
- Ness, M. N., Rosenberg, K. D., Richards, T. A., Sandoval, A. P., Weiser, T. M., & Mears, V. W. (2017). Stressful Life events and self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms 13-24 months after live birth among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska native mothers in Oregon: Results from a Population-based survey. The Journal of the National Center, 24(2), 76-98.
- Nielsen, J. S., Tharner, A., Krogh, M. T., & Vaver, M. S. (2016). Effects of maternal postpartum depression in the well-resourced sample: early concurrent and long-term effects on infant cognitive, language, and motor development. Scandinavian Journal of psychology, (57), 571-583.