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Help for Postpartum Depression

At Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, new moms are regularly screened for postpartum depression and routinely at discharge, new parents are informed of what the warning signs of this depression are. A support group called Build Your Village meets regularly at the hospital. The support group was started by Melissa Hoffman, a Lawrence nurse, who suffered from postpartum depression over ten years ago. At that time she felt there was no place to turn for help and she decided she didn’t want other women to feel as alone as she did during her depression.

Across the country more awareness is growing about this type of depression. New moms and dads can suffer from a variety of postpartum depression. A temporary sadness following the birth often called baby blues might be one. Then there is the possibility of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress as a result of a difficult birth and psychosis. Postpartum depression is not just that the woman might harm the baby, but rather different individuals in that family unit might act out in very negative, harmful ways.

Not seeking treatment for postpartum depression does put the babies themselves at risk. Emotional and developmental disabilities may occur later in life as well as opening the door for failure to thrive, lack of bonding, and social attachment issues.

So if you have an inkling that something might be up with that new mom or dad, talk to them or talk with their medical professional. Be aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression. Remind the person that they are not alone – as many as 20% of women have postpartum depression – and they are not to blame – it doesn’t say anything about the type of parent you are – and you will get better.

Thanks, Melissa, for the difference you have made in countless families’ lives.

– Bernadette

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One Response

  1. Thank you for drawing attention to this often overlooked problem.

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