Many moms experience a short period of adjustment called the “baby blues” after they give birth. This shows up shortly after birth and usually goes away after a few days or weeks. But 15- 20% of moms across the general population develop some form of postpartum mood disorder. This could be postpartum depression, postpartum OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), or the rare postpartum psychosis.
A recent research study concludes that low income moms in urban areas face a much greater chance of depression after giving birth. An astonishing 50% of moms may develop postpartum depression from the time their child is a newborn until they are 14 months old.
Low Income Urban Moms Face Uphill Battle
Even though I understand that all the conditions make sense for this statistic, I have to say I was still taken aback by it. A fifty-fifty chance of becoming depressed following a pregnancy — it’s worrisome to hear such strong numbers.
Clearly, kids and parents living in low income areas have a lot of uphill battles. Increased chance for violence, a survival attitude, greater likelihood of single parent families, poorer nutrition and general health, lower chance of having a good education — all of these factors make life really difficult.
Health Care Workers Have Opportunity To Help Low Income Urban Moms
As this article suggests, physicians who give care to these moms have a lot to be concerned about. But they also have some good opportunities to watch for symptoms and get them help and support early on. Just knowing the statistics can help all mental and physical health care workers be more prepared to help depressed moms.
Depression may not ever be eradicated from the planet, but we can all help each other one person at a time. If you think a postpartum mom you know may be depressed or having emotional struggles, reach out to her. Give her your understanding and support. Sometimes it just takes that one caring person to help her step out of the hole of depression.