No, Postpartum Depression Does Not Just Happen To ‘Unhappy Women’ – Let’s Drop This Myth

Many still do not understand what postpartum depression is, and seem to think that it happens when women are in bad marriages or don't want to have a child. This is certainly not true!

Many still do not understand what postpartum depression is, and seem to think that it happens when women are in bad marriages or don’t want to have a child. This is certainly not true!

Recently, I was interviewed for an article in the Indian Express (here) in regards to my struggle with Postpartum Depression (PPD). But I have to write this post to supplement it, for I do have a bit of contention with the opinion shared by the expert quoted in the piece; the expert’s opinion seems to read as if a marital discord, or not wanting a child (consciously or unconsciously) are common prerequisites for developing postpartum depression.

I am not a medical professional but I have done a lot of research on PPD. I have talked to lots of doctors and therapists in the US,  am privy to the stories of women who have written to me following my PPD article in the Huff Post, as well as have my personal experience to speak for.

It doesn’t have to be that things like these need to exist for PPD to set in and often, singling out such things, even if they are a part of the equation, is dangerous. For it can cause women to think: no, this can’t be me – I wanted my child and I love my spouse. In addition, it also starts the undertone of guilt – self and/or society induced – and shifts the dialogue from mental health, neural science and biochemistry to a woman’s role and motherhood. Wanting to have a child, etc…

Many women I have talked to, stuck in the deep rut of PPD, have been baffled by the fact of why them, for they desperately wanted nothing more than to be a mother. So while I don’t see anything wrong with not wanting to be a mother (and in my opinion, that’s a much harder, and a much less selfish choice than choosing to be a parent when you are not ready to be 100% committed to the child) and I am in full support of a dialogue and debate on that, it should not be had in the context of PPD. That would be dangerous and a disservice to the women suffering this form of depression.

But anyways, what is important is to get the dialogue started and this article does that. PPD and any mental health diagnosis for that matter can happen to anyone (that is why Deepika Padukone coming forward with her story is so powerful and helpful). It doesn’t have to be that something obvious went wrong or is wrong somewhere.  So there is nothing to be ashamed of, no point in self-analyzing the why’s, and no reason in hell to not seek help. For ourselves, or for anyone around us who we think needs it.

Image via Unsplash

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About the Author

Tanushree Ghosh

Manages supply chain teams in Intel Corp. Blogger, writer and poet. Founder and Director Her Rights ( Contributor Huffington Post US, The Logical Indian. Poetry and fiction published in several US, UK and read more...

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