Recently, The New York Times published an article on Postpartum Depression entitled,‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ New Findings on Timing and Range of Maternal Mental Illness. The article takes a look at Postpartum Mood Disorders in light of recent research that has changed the scope of the inquiry. It is now found that many women suffer from mental illness during pregnancy, as well as during the first year postpartum. The article also reports that the range of disorders women experience is also broader than previously thought. Women can experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Psychosis and Bi-Polar Disorder.
This is an excellent article about Postpartum Mood Disorders and it highlights the fact that the onset is often during pregnancy. The stories highlighted in the article talk about intrusive thoughts, as well as more serious symptoms of postpartum psychosis.
We feel it is important to note the following, Postpartum Psychosis is different from having “intrusive thoughts.” Intrusive thoughts are a common symptom experienced by women dealing with Postpartum Depression/Anxiety and are often associated with anxiety, as well as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Mothers are extremely unlikely to act on these thoughts. They are disturbed and upset at the nature of these thoughts, and could never imagine hurting their children. They are horrified and ashamed, and are scared to share these thoughts with others as a result.
Although the risk of Psychosis is low, it is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Women who experience Psychosis, as distinct from those who suffer from Postpartum Anxiety or Depression, lose touch with reality; they see and hear things that aren’t there. This website is a great resource for families dealing with psychosis.