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Postpartum Progression

March is Women’s History Month. The ninth is international women’s day. A universal theme of this month supporting women. One theme that I have noticed coming across my social media feeds lately has been the notion that more women are supporting each other now than ever before. I surveyed 15 women about many issues regarding support from women. They were all of different ages from 20 to 80. Out of my 15 response, 11 of those women are mothers, including my own. The results that I got from one particular question really surprised me.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.” There are more than three million cases per year, meaning that approximately the numbers range from 1 in 5 women to 1 in 10 women who have or are experiencing PPD. PPD is not is just the “baby blues,” which is feelings of sadness or exhaustion right after birth.

Mother holding her daughter

I am not pregnant; I am not a mother. I am a 20-year-old college student. I have no experience with PPD. There is nothing that qualifies me to speak about it, except the fact that I have struggled with anxiety, adjustment disorders, and depression. I have suffered from mental health issues for years. Postpartum is a type of mental health issue. It is a type of depression that commonly affects mothers as soon as two weeks after giving birth. One day, I hope to have a child of my own through natural birth, but I am predisposed to PPD because of my previous mental health issues. The reason I am writing about PPD is actually because of the Oscars. It is well known in the media that there was an ad about products that moms can use post-birth. I was shocked to see a new mom wearing mesh underwear and pads. I did not know that was an aspect of children. Childbirth is hard; there is no doubt about that. The women that I interviewed had some really good things to say about the ways they are supported by other women.

As I mentioned before, 11 of the 15 women I surveyed were mothers. An astonishing 6 out of the 11 have suffered from PPD. In just a small group setting, that’s 55% of mothers who have experienced this mental health problem, but almost 100% of women have been supported by other women post-birth. One family friend had the opportunity to have a doula present at all three of her kids' births. A doula is like a midwife who provides support and guidance to a mother before, during and after childbirth. Along with her doula, many other women supported her by bringing her meals, taking her older kids for the day, doing some housekeeping and helping her out in any other way. Many other women that I surveyed said that the nurses who helped them during and after their child’s birth were extremely supporting. Like my editor said, it is important to bring light to these issues becuase moms who go through it feel guilty, but it is totally normal!

girls play with blocks with babies

Women are supported in a lot of different ways. Each woman has hand meaningful experiences with others that have helped them get through very difficult times. I am proud to see other women supporting each other now more than ever. Like my own mom says, “It is difficult for a woman, but if they put their mind to it, they can do anything in the future.”

 

HXCO,

Cecilia

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