It's been over a week since the passing of Robin Williams. Our entire country has grieved as if he were a dear friend. While his death is tragic, it has also inspired much discussion about the gravity of depression. We know that 1 in 10 people in America suffer from depression. But did you know that 1 in 8 moms suffer from postpartum depression? It's probably more as many don't talk about it. Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth. The vast number of women with postpartum depression are not identified or treated.
The response from Robin Williams' death has been overwhelming. People are realizing the depth of pain that one must feel if they would consider taking their own life. It's making us realize that we need to be more sensitive and supportive to those who may suffer. The response from Robin Williams' death and many celebrities who have now admitted to their battle with depression helps to destigmatize this disease. We are realizing that this disease must be taken seriously. Each year, 38,000 Americans die by suicide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health — more than those who die by homicide.
Depression is clearly real. And postpartum depression is as real. Even if you don't suffer from postpartum depression, it's important that you be familiar with the symptoms so you can look out for a mom who may need help.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Intense irritability and anger.
- Overwhelming fatigue.
- Loss of interest in sex.
- Lack of joy in life.
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy.
- Severe mood swings.
We may feel embarrassed or guilty to feel these things after the birth of our baby. But if these symptoms persist or you have trouble caring for your baby, you should seek help. Postpartum depression can range from the baby blues to a rare condition called postpartum psychosis. For more resources, go to Postpartum Support International. If you are suffering, know that you are not alone. We are here for you. FIT4MOM is your village.