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5 misconceptions about postpartum depression

There are lots of misunderstandings and misconceptions about postpartum depression: Mothers who get depressed after having children don’t love their children. Mothers should just be grateful to have children and not feel sorry for themselves. If mothers just tried, they could overcome PPD on their own.

These misconceptions and more are not only unhealthy for mum, but they prevent many women from seeking help. Any mum can get PPD, period. Mums who have PPD have done nothing wrong. Mums who havePPD are not bad mums. Postpartum depression is sickness surrounded by misconceptions and stigmas that are often ridiculous and irrational. Here are 5 more misconceptions about postpartum depression that are completely false.

1. Only new mums get it

A lot of people wrongly assume that postpartum depression is going to hit right after giving birth, or it won’t at all. This is incorrect. It can begin at any point up to a year after baby is born. This means that if a mum starts showing signs of PPD when her baby is 9 months old, people will mistakenly tell her that it cannot possibly be PPD. This misconception is very dangerous because mum will not seek treatment as she will assume it cannot be PPD if it came on this late.

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2. Mums hate their new baby

Mention PPD and people will imagine mothers who hate or ignore their baby. PPD doesn’t always appear this way. Sometimes, the loss of emotion might be for their spouse or even another child. Sherry* did not know what was wrong with her after the birth of her second son. She didn’t feel right, but it was never towards her newborn. Instead she wanted her husband and first-born to disappear. She wanted them to go away and had depressive feelings towards them as opposed to her new baby. Because this isn’t the cliché symptom of PPD, she almost didn’t seek treatment, which could have been very unhealthy and dangerous for her in the long run. PPD appears in all sorts of forms, and it’s not always what you assume.

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3. Postpartum depression is preventable

PPD is not preventable. There are some risk factors and certain people who are more at risk than others, but PPD strikes all across the board with mums. Unfortunately, it is the mums who are supposedly low-risk that wait so long to seek help because they “weren’t supposed to get PPD.” Even mums who planned the child, are financially stable, in a healthy marriage, and have everything going right can still fall victim to PPD. It is not preventable sickness.

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4. Mum won’t get it after first pregnancy

Just because a mum didn’t get PPD after the first, second or even third pregnancy, does not mean she will not get it after any other pregnancies. Postpartum depression can unfortunately can strike at any pregnancy. Likewise, just because a woman got PPD during her first pregnancy does not mean she will necessarily have it her second pregnancy. It’s unfortunately a very predictable sickness that can occur with any pregnancy, and it should be treated as seriously no matter when it comes about.

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5. It’s a sign of things to come

PPD in no way is a sign of how your mothering is or will be. Having PPD doesn’t make you a bad mother or mean that you don’t love your baby enough to overcome it. PPD is treatable and manageable as long as help is sought. As long as treatment is put off, things will not get better. Treating PPD is also a joint effort between mum and dad and close family and friends. It takes understanding, patience and medical help to treat a mum with postpartum depression, just like with any other sickness.

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