"It Can Happen to Anybody." Talking About Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression affects nearly 1 in 5 women, but it can be difficult to talk about. In this week's 2 Your Well-Being discussion, Melinda Eury shares her journey with postpartum depression to start the conversation.
Melinda’s experience with postpartum depression began while she was still pregnant. “[I was] very emotional, crying over everything,” says Eury. It became worse after delivery. When Eury had trouble breastfeeding and her symptoms became overwhelming, she knew that something was very wrong.
“[At the hospital,] they took my daughter out [of the room] to give me a night of rest, and I couldn’t separate from her. They got to the nursery, and I was crying so hard that they had to bring her back.” Negative thoughts also troubled Eury. She would think, “I feel like I’m not a good enough mom.”
Jamie McMannes, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker at Cone Health’s Center for Women’s Healthcare at Women’s Hospital, describes postpartum depression as a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder – meaning women can experience mood changes both during pregnancy and after birth. Symptoms can include sadness, depression, frequent crying, lack of appetite, sleep difficulty and loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
“It can happen to anybody,” says McMannes. Postpartum depression effects 15% of women after birth. The cause is not clear, but there is help. Answering postpartum screening questionnaires honestly can help your doctor understand your symptoms so that you can begin treatment.
For Eury, an important part of that treatment is having a support network. “There are other moms out there,” says Eury. “My biggest thing is talk to other moms, talk to the doctor.”
Managing Depression: What You Need to Know
Jenna Mendelson, PhD, and David Gutterman, PhD, continue the conversation on depression.