Postpartum mood disorders

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The numbers of mothers with postpartum mood disorders are high and the secrecy behind them is equally disturbing. But there are solutions for moms who are suffering .

When she discovered she was pregnant, Natasha Williams was ecstatic.   

Williams says, "My husband and I, we had multiple baby showers. We attended all of the pre-prep classes if you will." 

But when her son arrived, things didn't go as planned.

Williams says, "Within 24 hours after giving birth to my son, I felt very sad. I felt overwhelmed. I almost felt trapped as if I had made a huge mistake."

Natasha was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was treated with medication and counseling. 10 to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Researcher Betty-Shannon Prevatt found 21 percent of them keep that to themselves.

Prevatt says, "I was surprised mainly because the sample that we ended up recruiting were white, married, affluent women for the most part." 

Meaning they could access and afford treatment. But postpartum expert carrie banks says mothers keep quiet because of the stigma that hangs over mental health issues.  

Carrie Banks, volunteer services manager, Postpartum Support International says, "Everyone expects you to be so happy and women are afraid to say I'm not happy, this isn't working, something's not right."

Carrie's organization hosts in-person support groups, a support phone line in English and Spanish and connects women with medical professionals. That meant everything to Williams.   

Williams says, "I'm just thankful that treatment allowed me to meet this time in my life. I don't think without it, I would be here."

Here to raise her son as a healthy, happy mother.

Postpartum Support International is the leading organization supporting women with all types of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. PSI has volunteers in 50 states and 49 countries. Get support locally at postpartum.net 


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