The baby blues are a known and
historically recorded phenomenon that expresses itself for a few days to a week
after childbirth (passnc.org). Symptoms include trouble sleeping, loss of appetite,
trouble sleeping, and anxiety (passnc.org). A more severe and lingering condition
is post- partum depression. Were as the baby blues are short lasting a benign,
post- partum depression can last for up to a year and includes more menacing symptoms
such as a want to engage in self harm, harm the infant, or neglect the infant (passnc.org).
For many decades post- partum depression, was believed to be a culturally
bound syndrome restricted to western nations, (rcpsych.org) but more recent studies
“have shown that post- partum depression seems to be a universal
condition with similar rates in different countries” (rcpsych.org).
However, I do think that it is
far more common in the United States for several reasons. The primary reason
can be simply narrowed down to one source; popular media delivered into the
living rooms of women through the media of television.
There were two tragic incidents
in the last ten years; the first was that of Andrea Yates when in 2001 a thirty
something mother in Houston, Texas drowned her five children in a bathtub. The second
and somewhat less sensationalized case(but still heavily covered by the media),
was when another thirty something mother used a kitchen knife to traumatically
amputate the arms of her infant daughter who died of blood loss. Both women were found not guilty by reasons of
insanity, and committed to a state hospital.
The non-stop media coverage after
these tragedies ranging from the evening news to the afternoon talk shows like
Dr. Phil and Oprah, lead to widespread knowledge about post- partum depression. This media bombardment may have a negative placebo
known as a nocebo (the weeks class material).