Why Everyone Should Care About Postpartum Mood Disorders

This blog is also included in the podcast below

The estimates vary but it is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women experience baby blues the first two weeks after having a baby. These go away on their own but another 10 to 20 percent develop postpartum mood disorders such as postpartum depression, postpartum OCD or postpartum anxiety. Approximately 10 percent of men do as well. These men and women could be your spouse, your child, your parent, your sibling or other family member, your employee, your boss, your coworker or your friend. Sometimes men or women develop more than one and how long they last can often depend on how quickly they get help. If you do not get help and continue to have more children, they can last for years and symptoms can worsen. Less than one percent of women develop postpartum psychosis which is what you normally see cases of on the news due to women harming themselves and/or their children. Even most women with this disorder do not harm their children. Usually the symptoms are more obvious, so it is caught earlier and they normally get help earlier. What this tells us is that most women get depressed if even for a short time after having a child, but most of them do not end up harming their child. The fear of people thinking they will harm their child is one big reason a lot of people do not get help sooner. They are scared to tell anyone and they feel ashamed for their thoughts, even if they cannot help it and do not act on them.

It is actually more common for the mother to harm herself. Suicide is the leading cause of death in new moms. Others suffer for years, never acting on any possible suicidal thoughts, but suffering in silence while it often starts to affect their entire life including their physical health, their marriage, their job, and their relationship with their children and everyone else around them. Some even abandon their children, but again this is rare. However, thinking it is a pretty common symptom. My daughter was planned, but I still thought I regretted having her at times and wanted to run away to the beach. I never acted on this, but even thinking it hurt my husband and also hurt someone else close to me. It hurt my husband for obvious reasons, but it hurt the other person because they had been told all of their childhood that their mother never wanted them or their siblings, so they were actually angry at me at first for saying it or even thinking it. Their mom truly did not ever want to get married or have kids and was forced out of their home as a teenager into marriage. They eventually saw that I did not truly feel that way and it was something I could not control thinking and did not want to feel. If anything, it eventually made us both more sympathetic to their own mother, whose mental health got worse with every child, and whose choices had never seemed to be her own as she was born in a different time. Her mother also never left, and could have, and she had some good moments as a mom, so where we judged her before, we now both tried to be more sympathetic.

Also, that person has always tried to be the opposite of their mother, always telling her children they were her biggest blessing and always wanting to be a servant to everyone. She is the opposite of her in so many ways and a good mother. However, she has sometimes shown that same resentment as her mother without ever even realizing it, because she has always taken care of others ahead of herself which always results in burnout, because everyone is human. This resulted in her daughter trying to do the same when she became a mom and quickly realizing she needed to take care of herself first, and she needed to teach her daughter to do the same if she was going to break this generational curse. My family and I knew nothing about postpartum mood disorders until I went through one myself, and it almost destroyed my marriage and I did not want to live anymore. After getting help and starting to educate others, older women in my family started to tell me they think they suffered from it too, but they did not realize what it was and just suffered in silence for years. We all now see so many generational curses that this caused or continued. I just want anyone going through this to know, you are not alone and you can get better. A lot of people do not want to talk about it because it is depressing, which is why my book has some humor in it and so do some of my blogs and posts on my pages. Learning to laugh about everything again was another step in healing for me. If mood disorders are not treated, the effects and aftermath can not only last years, the harm it does to individuals and families can last for generations to come.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

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