Postpartum Depression : A Severe Psychotic Syndrome

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“Postpartum psychosis is a severe psychotic syndrome that is estimated to occur after 1.1 to 4 of every 1000 deliveries. More than half of the affected women meet diagnostic criteria for major depression” (Weissman and Olfson 800). Postpartum depression is a more common and less threatening mental illness than postpartum psychosis, however, Margery Kempe displays the more fatal symptoms. Several readers believe that Margery Kempe was a woman who devoted her life to God, however, after her first child was born Margery Kempe was recognizably sick and continued these symptoms throughout the entire book. In The Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in the English Language, Margery Kempe displays the symptoms of hallucinations, crying…show more content…
This syndrome may represent a variety of normal emotional changes after childbirth and is usually not treated” (Wiessman and Olfson 800). Since Margery Kempe continued to be depressed, have hallucinations, and crying periods throughout the entire book, it could not have been postpartum blues. Postpartum depression is the next severe, “which often resembles other forms of major depression, occurs in 10 to 15% of new mothers. Although most such depressive episodes begin within 2 weeks of delivery, depression can occur at any time during the following several months” (Wiessman and Olfson 800). Margery Kempe had postpartum depression after the birth of her child, however, it was never treated since it was discovered in 1858. Once Margery Kempe had her nervous breakdown of seeing the Devil, she had reached full postpartum psychosis. Additionally, Seward found that repeated pregnancies will bring a repetition of symptoms (521).
Often when people are sick, they experience an apparent perception of something that is not truly there. This is known as hallucinations. This is a symptom of postpartum psychosis. After the birth of Margery Kemps first child, Margery had a nervous breakdown. She saw the hideous devils all around her, “And in this time she saw, as she thought, devils open their mouths, all inflamed with burning flames of fire as if they should have swallowed her in, sometimes
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