Postpartum Depression and the Myth of the Natural Mother

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Are you at risk for postpartum depression? Read on for information!

We live with the myth of the natural mother. The truth is that many social behaviors, including mothering, are learned behaviors. It might be easier to discuss communication and relationship skills within a marriage as a learned behavior than mothering.

If you grow up in an abusive or just non-communicative home, it is likely that when you marry, you will discover that you need some help in the how-tos of a relationship. It is the same type of thing when becoming a mother. You might need some some help about the how-to of parenting a newborn and developing your identity as a mother.

Remember, social learning comes from watching other people in our personal lives and from the larger culture, and we integrate this into our personality. Give yourself the gift of qualified education and assistance.

Breastfeeding and helping a baby to sleep is a learned behavior. There are many ways to be a good mother and no one size fits all. You can decide to have a natural birth, to safely bed-share, or to breastfeed, if this is the right decision for you. These might be perfect choices for you as an individual, or these decisions may be too difficult for a woman with a history of rape & abuse. You need to look at your individual situation, what your values are, what you can tolerate, and compassionately integrate the competing needs and feelings of yourself and your family. Be kind to yourself.

If you are feeling depressed after giving birth, remember that it is normal to experience the “baby blues.” 50% - 80% of new mothers experience the baby blues. The baby blues occur in the first two weeks of pregnancy and self-resolve, in other words, go away by themselves. The baby blues are not a mild form of postpartum depression.

After about two to four weeks after the birth, if you are still feeling depressed, you many be experiencing postpartum depression. You are not alone. Your ob/gyn, your pediatrician, your primary-care physician, your psychiatrist, your therapist, are all ready to help you. Use the medical insurance that you are already paying for to see these healthcare practitioners.

Sometimes postpartum depression can occur even four to six months after giving birth, particularly if there additional stressor is present, such as addiction in the marriage, an accident, a death in the family.

Remember, You Are Not Alone. There is help available.

Some of the risk factors for postpartum depression are listed below:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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