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Postpartum Depression Can Affect Any New Mom

Postpartum Depression Can Affect Any New Mom

Posted - Nov. 24, 2004 at 3:14 p.m.



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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingA Texas woman with a history of postpartum depression has been arrested for the murder of her 10-month old baby.

Police say the woman was treated in January, and seemed to have recovered. Investigators say 35-year old Dena Schlosser called 9-1-1 herself, after severing the child's arms. The baby girl later died. The woman's husband and two older children were not home at the time.

Dr. Kim Mulvihill says postpartum depression is the most under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated complication of pregnancy.

Michael Lujan, Neighbor: “I understand women become depressed at times, but you don’t kill your kids because of it.”

Michael is reacting to the news his neighbor Dena Schlosser just killed her baby. Schlosser was diagnosed with postpartum depression six days after giving birth. . Marissa Gonzales, Child Protective Services: “The mother apparently just walked out of the apartment and left the baby alone in the apartment, and starting running down the street. Another of her children was following her on her bicycle.”

Most women feel a little sad after having a baby. It's so common - affecting up to 85% of new moms - it's called the 'baby blues'. It's brief - lasting less than two weeks, and usually goes away on its own with a few days of rest and support.

Postpartum depression is a different story. While the cause is unknown, these feelings are thought to be triggered by hormonal shifts that happen after delivery. Those feelings are greatly exacerbated by the stress of a major life change.

Women are often embarrassed about feeling unhappy at a time that Society expects them to be full of joy.

Postpartum depression is a more intense mood disorder that strikes about one in ten new moms. It has to last more than two weeks to distinguish it from the 'blues', and can last up to a year and a half after delivery if left untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment with counseling and or medication is key.

For one in a thousand new mothers the situation is even more serious. They have what's called postpartum psychosis. Andrea Yates, who drowned her children one by one, most likely suffered from this condition.

It leads to paranoid thoughts, hallucinations and delusions that often focus on the baby's dying or being possessed by an evil spirit. These hallucinations often command the patient to hurt herself or others. Sufferers need immediate medical help.

Postpartum depression can strike any new mother, no matter their age, number of children, or socioeconomic class. There is a common thread among all: they feel isolated and a lacking in support.

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