There is No Sure-Fire Way to Prevent PPD (and PPD is NOT Mind Over Matter)

I’ve blogged previously about people who–despite seemingly good intentions–blog about a topic they claim having subject matter expertise but don’t really.  Refer to my blog post from a couple months back about breastfeeding…a post that was better left in the author’s Drafts until she got her facts straight.  The outcome was an uproar about how breastfeeding should be a mother’s choice rather than being forced upon everyone without considering their situation. 

Well, this time, there was uproar once again, but I was a few hours too late to see what it was really about….which is fine by me because I was having a very stressful day Thursday, and the last thing I needed was an article that provides misleading information to the public about postpartum depression (PPD) to put me over the edge.  I never had a chance to read the full article, but if you click here, you’ll see most of the original text. Evidently, it was modified from the time it was first posted, started to receive unfavorable comments, and was then subsequently pulled.  I’m grateful for the many responses to the article on the Postpartum Progress Facebook page.  I did go to the author’s own website and saw how her techniques could “prevent PPD”…….all at a cost. It reminded me of my previous post of a sure-fire cure for PPD…all at a cost.  Nothing ticks me off more than, whether intentionally ignorant or not, misinformation about PPD. We’re trying to raise public awareness of the truth, not increase the stigma at the expense of maternal (and consequently, family) health.

If you didn’t suffer from PPD and/or you aren’t a professional psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or other health care professional dedicated to treating mothers with PPD, you probably wouldn’t see anything wrong with the article.  But please note that, with no mention of the biological aspects of PPD–which are of utmost importance if you want to truly understand what PPD is, why it occurs, understand the risk factors and how you can minimize your risk for it, and how to treat it– the article is leading the public to believe that the cause is purely psychological.  The gist of the article implies that PPD is no big deal and you hold the key to preventing PPD from occurring by doing X, Y, and Z.  Basically, it’s another attempt to try to tell you that PPD is purely mind over matter.  You can empower yourself to prevent it from happening, and if it does, you can sure as heck snap right out of it all on your own accord.  A PPD mom’s #1 pet peeve expression:  “Snap out of it.”   Makes me grit my teeth everytime I hear it.

Though it’s true that knowledge is empowering and if you were to understand PPD and why it occurs, you can minimize risk for it, you CANNOT completely guarantee that a new mom won’t succumb to it if there are certain biopsychosical factors that are making her particularly vulnerable to it at that point in time.   A mom with PPD experiences physical symptoms (e.g., insomnia, weight loss) due to altered neurotransmitter levels resulting from a combination of biopsychosocial factors.  Some of those factors are out of your control, like your hormones crashing, events that occur during labor & delivery that prove to be traumatic, baby in the NICU for a period of time, and so on.

For accurate information on PPD, visit Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Progress.

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4 thoughts on “There is No Sure-Fire Way to Prevent PPD (and PPD is NOT Mind Over Matter)

  1. it seems like some people get ppd and the baby blues confused, like on a pretty regular basis. and, some people are just completely clueless about all of it.

    • Hi Katery,
      Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Yes, that’s one huge issue we still need to try to overcome. The confusion feeds the stigma. We need more public awareness initiatives, more people to talk about PPD, differences between PPD and the blues, risk factors, how to get help, etc. We’ve got a loooong way to go.

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