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The 2010 Top 10 Stories on Postpartum Depression

By Heather Turgeon |

postpartum depression

Stories of postpartum depression

I was reading Katherine Stone’s Postpartum Progress blog this week — one of my favorites for keeping up with research in the field and personal stories of moms struggling with PPD.  She has a great list of her top 10 postpartum depression stories from 2010 — the most commented-on and widely-read. It’s really worth reading for a snapshot of the year in the field.

And one story caught my eye “Should Moms Be Required to Keep their Newborns in Their Hospital Rooms?”

It started with a mom’s story from a New York City hospital, in which she was denied her request to have the baby taken care of in the nursery, even for an hour, so she could get some rest.

Lots of people in the medical field responded, some saying that moms get equal rest whether they room with their babies or not, and that having babies in the hospital room with you lowers the risk of postpartum depression.

Stone didn’t buy that, and neither do I.

Of course skin-to-skin contact is important post-delivery. It helps with nursing and it gives parents time to bond. I let my son crawl his way up to the breast after he arrived, and wouldn’t let the doctors take him to have a bath, or do any of the number of procedures they wanted to do for hours after birth.  When they did go off, my husband basically stalked them until they brought my son back to the room.

But that was my personal preference — it was a choice that felt right to me — I don’t think it had a lasting impact on my mood or my son’s health. In fact I think we give too much weight to all the practices around labor and delivery, when in fact, withing reason and in the grand scheme of things, they probably don’t matter that much (and doing it “right” can make us feel more anxious than anything). Childbirth is an intensely emotional experience for us, but things like attachment and postpartum depression are way too complex to be swayed one way or the other by a few days of a hospital stay.

Again, nursing, yes — highly influenced in the first day or so. And I agree that being close to mom or dad is important in the early days. But preventing a serious mental health disorder by rooming in? I don’t think so.

What’s your take – should hospitals require rooming-in? And do you think it has a major effect on babies and moms?

And here are Postpartum Progress’ 2010 Top 10 Stories on Postpartum Depression.

Image: flickr/peasap

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About Heather Turgeon

heatherturgeon

Heather Turgeon

Heather Turgeon is currently writing the book The Happy Sleeper (Penguin, 2014). She's a therapist-turned-writer who authors the Science of Kids column for Babble. A northeasterner at heart, Heather lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two little ones. Read bio and latest posts → Read Heather's latest posts →

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16 thoughts on “The 2010 Top 10 Stories on Postpartum Depression

  1. clara says:

    I agree with you, it depends on the mom. It may help some moms to have some space to themselves for a short time, I don’t think its the end of bonding or anything dire to have baby out of the room. IME, though, I had 3 babies in a row in NICU so I didn’t let the next 2 babies out of my sight for a second, they were both able to avoid NICU thankfully. Postpartum I feel very lost without a visual on my newborn, but that’s me, its not for everyone.

  2. Lisa says:

    Where is Dad? I had a strict rule that someone in my family HAD to be with both children the entire time we were in the hospital. I even peed with the door open so I could see them.

  3. goddess says:

    Well, once I had my nightly Seconal, I told them to keep the baby for the middle night feed and I’d do the early morning.
    If they are not providing nursery services, they damned well better not be charging for them either.

  4. andrea says:

    I think PPD is just another word for “wow, you’re not first anymore?”. These are women who are psychotically shocked that their own needs are not the fulcrum upon which the universe rests. Seriously, Get over yourself and your “ambitions”. Whatever. You exist to create life.Welcome to the species. No, your marketing widgets to the second most populous state in the mid-west job does not trump biology. Get over it.

    Keep calm. And carry on.

  5. Jenn says:

    Andrea – Are you a medical professional? I can most assure you that postpartum depression is not another word for “wow, you are not first anymore”. It is a shame that people like you exist in this society to pass judgement on a condition you obviously have not experienced firsthand and I am quite sure you know no more about this condition than random passings you have pondered across while reading your daily intake of whatever blog/zine you subscribe to. It is people like you that force women who suffer to suffer in silence for fear they will be judged the way you so blindly and arrogantly pass judgement. Spend the day with a woman who is experiencing post partum depression…actually speak with a doctor or trained professional about the legitimacy of the condition before you spew such hateful statements that I hope you do not instill in your own children. It would be a shame if you were created to create life and that life you created was filled with such hate and ignorance.

  6. L says:

    There are many causes of PPD, Andrea. Educate yourself.

  7. jenny tries too hard says:

    *eyeroll* Sure, Dr. Andrea…if only all those thinky-thinky doctors would just tell women that it’s all in our pretty little heads, instead of a real, measurable shift in our brain chemistry. Your misogyny and superiority does not trump biology. Get over it.

  8. starrsitter says:

    It’s attitudes like yours, Andrea, that make even those of us who didn’t suffer from full-blown PPD loathe to admit that we might have for one minute felt anything aside from sheer bliss after the birth of our child.

    We need to give women a break. We need to make it ok to talk about this. We need to admit when we need help. We need to not feel like failures when we leave the baby safely in their crib to cry (as they have ALL day) in order to go somewhere else for just a minute so that we don’t do anything harmful. We need to stop judging and start helping.

    Otherwise, we should probably keep our remarkably uneducated, and rather snarky, comments to ourselves.

  9. andrea says:

    If you left your baby alone in a cage to cry, sorry, that’s a fail. Just suck it up and get on with it. Do your job. It really is that simple. There is no shift in brain chemistry. Hooey. It’s called narcissism. The cure for narcissism is maturity. If you are not capable of putting someone else’s needs before your own, then for the love of god, do not have children. It’s okay to not have children. But, if you do have them, then you have to take care of them. No excuses.

  10. Jeannie says:

    I think that — like many people above — it depends entirely on the mother. We need to support moms so that they can be the best parents they can be. If a few hours of rest after a long and hard labour is needed, that’s what’s needed. We forget too often that babies have throughout human history were raised by a community — if a new mother was tired, the midwife, her mother, her sisters, her aunts, would be there to take care of the baby until she was ready. There’s nothing wrong with handing a baby to a competent caregiver so you can get some rest. Saying this makes you a bad mother does us all a disservice.

  11. starrsitter says:

    Wow…I don’t know if you’re just trolling or if you really are such a horrible and ignorant person…At any rate, it must be really difficult being perfect.

    80% of women report feeling some anxiety or depression lasting up to 2 weeks. 15-20% report more severe anxiety or depression within the first year postpartum. It effects women of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic levels. PPD symptoms have even been identified in men, although they often present differently. “Doing your job” as a mother and feeling this way are not mutually exclusive of each other. Getting help and working through it to the best advantage for you and your family is the important part.

    Both hormones and sleep deprivation can have profound effects on brain chemistry, independent of pregnancy and childbirth. Sometimes, walking away from a baby that is safe when you feel out of control IS taking care of them. Why do you think that this is the standard advice for women given in programs to combat SBS or to cope with colicky babies?

  12. Jenn says:

    Andrea – You obviously lack the maturity yourself to acknowledge that #1 you are not a medical professional and #2 Have obviously never been able to admit to anyone that you too indeed have moments of sadness or of feelings of being overwhelmed in any arena of your life.
    You also obviously have no idea how brain chemistry works. You probably don’t even know the complete definition of PPD other than what you think it is. You should suck it up yourself and step down off your soapbox. I truly hope you never have a daughter who has to endure your lack of understanding or even mere intellect.

  13. Amy says:

    Please stop feeding the troll, y’all. ;-)

    Back to the article: in an ideal world, hospitals would offer both rooming in and a nursery. When I had a c-section, I felt completely unable to be the one in charge of my baby that first night (and my husband is a very sound sleeper), so I sent her to the nursery. The amazing staff awoke me every two hours to nurse my daughter. For my second baby, I had a successful and easy vbac, and wanted my baby with me–that was OK with the hospital, too.

  14. heatherturgeon says:

    Amy: agreed, rooming and and nursery should be available. maybe with the default being rooming in and the nursery available on request (which is what I assumed all hospitals did). So surprised to hear that the nursery would be off limits.

  15. Julia @ http://notlikeacat.blogspot.com/ says:

    Hah! I had my firstborn stay in the nursery at night (but they brought him to nurse in EVERY time I fell asleep). I developed mild PPD. My secondborn stayed in the room with us (slept in my bed, even) and I developed severe PPD.

    I honestly don’t think there’s a connection between the rooming-in and PPD prevention. If you feel better having your baby in the room with you, great. If you feel like you’re going to get more rest if the baby is in the nursery, do it (I didn’t get more rest this way, but some might). I don’t think hospitals should require rooming-in, though.

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