Postpartum Depression Higher Among Black Women

Having a New Baby Is Not Always A Time of Joy

More black mothers are suffering from Post-partum depression. A story of the New York woman who drowned three of her children thrust the issue back into the forefront of the news some time ago.

Postpartum depression is a form of clinical depression that affects a mother after childbirth. It occurs more often in single mothers and may begin anywhere from 24 hours to several months after delivery. While it is often confused with “baby blues,” it is something more than a natural response to hormone fluctuations. It is a serious condition that can be extremely threatening to the well being of a mother and child.

Astonishingly, up to 70 percent of women with postpartum illness will have no related psychiatric history. Even though biological factors contribute to the onset of the illness, the origins of the disorder are very complex. After childbirth, a mother’s levels of progesterone and estrogen drop suddenly and may create alterations in brain chemistry.

Single Mothers, unfortunately, are more likely to fall victim to postpartum depression. In fact, solo motherhood is a leading predictor associated with the illness. This is likely due to the high level of stress involved with being a single Mom and balancing the workload of at least two adults in any given day.

In addition, within the African-American community, little access to affordable treatment, lower socioeconomic status, substance abuse, scarce involvement by the child’s father, and limited social support are key factors.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in life
  • Loss of appetite
  • Less energy and motivation
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Finding it hard to fall/stay asleep
  • Increased crying or tearfulness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Unexplained weight-gain or weight-loss
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself and/or your baby
  • Increased anxiety and irritability

If you feel like you may be suffering postpartum depression, do not wait to seek medical attention. You are doing the best thing for you and your baby by being courageous enough to get professional help. This help can be in the form of counseling, an organized support group or antidepressant medicine.

If in need of immediate help, please dial 911.

Otherwise, consider these resources for help:

As a single mother, your life is anything but easy! Getting professional help and establishing a support system is the best way to cope with postpartum illness.

Have you ever dealt with depression after the birth of a child? How did you cope? Share your stories.

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