“Nervous Breakdown” Was How Postpartum Depression was Described in the 1930’s

Recently, I heard a heart wrenching story from an 80 year old grandmother who shared her story about having a “nervous breakdown” when she answered the question, do you have a history of depression? We discussed how the world has defined “nervous breakdowns” after the birth of a baby. I helped her to redefine her postpartum depression for what it truly was and validated her experience. The 80 year old woman cried liked a baby and shared that a weight was lifted from her heart from our conversation.
This grandmother has carried the stigma of her postpartum depression for decades and she gave me the privilege to journey with her and bring some healing. But I am still left with a sadness in my heart because the stigma of postpartum depression/anxiety/psychosis/OCD/and rage is still so prevalent in our society. The experience of blame, and guilt and shame is still being plagued by many. Postpartum depression is all too real and the physiological and genetic vulnerabilities coupled with society’s misconceptions that places a woman at risk for postpartum. I urge you to call a mother whom you believe may be undergoing the symptoms of postpartum depression/anxiety/OCD and rage and give her some support and let her know she is not alone.

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