When I was pregnant nineteen years ago I wish my doctor had warned me I might be at risk for postpartum depression.
Her words wouldn’t have freaked me out, they would have helped me cope when the darkness did indeed hit.
I wish during my 6 week check-up (when I was at my private worst) my Ob-Gyn had handed me a mental health screening and even if I lied on every question, she still explained how the “baby blues” are different than depression.
In January for the first time the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening pregnant and postpartum women for maternal mental illness.
Hopefully now more health care practitioners will talk to women so those who suffer know they’re not bad people or rotten mothers or God knows, alone.
The fact is worldwide 10% of pregnant women and 13% of postpartum women have a mental disorder and the numbers are even higher in developing countries.
While maternal mental illness is often lumped into the catchall “postpartum depression” it’s more complicated than a single kitchen sink diagnosis.