Coping with postpartum depression

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One in five women who suffer postpartum mood disorders such as anxiety and depression do it in silence. (KFSN)

The numbers are high and the secrecy behind them is equally disturbing. One in five women who suffer postpartum mood disorders such as anxiety and depression do it in silence. They are not telling their doctors and that can cause harm to mothers and their children. These moms don't have to suffer in silence.

When she discovered she was pregnant, Natasha Williams was ecstatic.

"My husband and I, we had multiple baby showers. We attended all of the pre-prep classes if you will," said Natasha.

But when her son arrived, things didn't go as planned.

"Within 24 hours after giving birth to my son, I felt very sad. I felt overwhelmed. I almost felt trapped as if I had made a huge mistake," Natasha continued.

Natasha was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was treated with medication and counseling. Ten to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Betty-Shannon Prevatt, MA, LPA, Clinical Psychologist at North Carolina State University, found 21 percent of them keep that to themselves.

"I was surprised mainly because the sample that we ended up recruiting were white, married, affluent women for the most part," Prevatt explained.

Meaning they could access and afford treatment.

But postpartum expert, Carrie Banks, Volunteer Services Manager for Postpartum Support International, says mothers keep quiet because of the stigma that hangs over mental health issues.

"Everyone expects you to be so happy and women are afraid to say I'm not happy, this isn't working, something's not right," Carrie said.

Carrie's organization hosts in person support groups, a support phone line in English and Spanish and connects women with medical professionals. That meant everything to Natasha.

Natasha said, "I'm just thankful that treatment allowed me to meet this time in my life. I don't think without it, I would be here."

Here to raise her son as a healthy, happy mother.

Postpartum Support International is the leading organization supporting women with all types of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. PSI has volunteers in 50 states and 49 countries. Get support locally at postpartum.net or by calling what they call their warmline at 800-944-4ppd.

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