Postpartum Depression : Post Partum Depression

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On June 20, 2001 Andrea Yates shocked the nation when she drowned all five of her children in Texas. The press and the public speculated about what could cause a mother to murder her own children. Two words became a significant part of her legal team’s defense: “postpartum depression” (Cohen). A public dialogue was opened and the issue of postpartum depression saw a significant shift in awareness. This new era of enlightenment would be considerably different from the earlier history of post-partum depression and some of the shame that surrounded it. Beyond Andrea Yates, other women have increased the prominence of the mental disorder in the public’s eye, with some doing so with optimistic rather than damaging behavior. Yet, even with the increased awareness, there has not been a considerable change in the number of women treated for postpartum depression, which is still subject to many stigmas in today’s society. Despite this, much has altered in the how postpartum is viewed over the past decade and a half, which gives hope for a future where mothers will receive the full care and support they need to combat the disorder. Public acceptance of postpartum depression has faced an uphill climb throughout its history with the disorder being greatly misunderstood, effecting treatment and social perceptions of it. According to Pam Belluck’s article “Thinking of Ways to Harm Her”, in the fifth-century B.C. Hippocrates thought that a maternal-related delirium was the result of
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