In addition to the pressure of motherhood, many women face fears associated with PPD. Most often, feelings of shame or guilt hinder seeking help. There is a concern about the perception that the mother is unable to properly care for her baby.
Lack of awareness and education
Imagine suffering from a mental illness and not having the words or the knowledge base to pinpoint exactly how you are feeling. For many new mothers, that is exactly the case. Some are not aware that PPD is a medical condition. Many assume that prolonged feelings of sadness and worry are normal after having a baby. In many cases, a new mother with feelings that persist longer than two weeks should consider seeking a professional opinion.
Mismatched or limited treatment options
The primary methods of treatment for PPD are psychotherapy and/or anti-depressant medication. Studies show that the preference for either method is dependent on several factors, including race and culture. Women of color were more likely to prefer psychotherapy over medication usage. This is important to note because healthcare providers may not respect these preferences, which in turn leads to premature termination of PPD treatment.
Treatment for PPD requires intensive follow-up care. The challenge for mothers who live in rural areas is traveling greater distances to receive medical care. Moreover, the facilities where services are rendered may offer limited treatment options. This can often lead to unmet medical needs.
Lack of familial or provider support
Mothers managing PPD are less likely to seek treatment if they lack support from family or friends. A mother will not feel that her concerns warrant follow-up care if her symptoms are normalized. Correspondingly, the attitude of the provider is also critical. A healthcare provider who is perceived as indifferent to a new mother could discourage her desire to seek further treatment.
For questions relevant to maternal mental health topics, please contact the Amy Wine Counseling Center at (832) 421-8714.