Postpartum Depression: Cultural Influence or Disorder

Postpartum depression may occur in both males and females. It is found more common amongst women a year or so after childbirth. Symptoms of this disorder seem very similar to those found in a depressed patient. The anxiety, gilt, and sadness are all common side effects. I believe that narratives explained in lecture such as support groups or counselors are very important healing tools for this disorder. If the patient is finding no progress in these narratives there should then possibly be further action taken such as medicine. I believe culturally we have created this disorder in the sense that it is not recognized internationally. I believe it is more of a Western culture development. As discussed in lecture, there are disorders, such as PMS, which are only recognized in certain cultures exposed to them.

There is an explanation for why a mother may be feeling low or different as opposed to during her pregnancy. That explanation is the change in hormone levels. Once the baby is born the mother is no longer receiving vast amounts of progesterone and estrogen, so she is not sure how to react based on a new levels of hormones. The mother may feel out of control vulnerable or stressed. I believe culture has also made mothers to believe that once the child is born she will know exactly how to care and nurture for the child, which may not be the case. This feeling of inadequacy may stress mothers out and lead them into a postpartum stage. Biomedically, there are certain drugs that can be given to help with these feelings of depression, such as hormone therapy. I suggest the mothers look for the support of other mothers along with group therapy.


Depending on if a person views this disorder as an actual imbalance in the brain/ hormones or more of a culture influence will determine the management and treatment. If we look at is as a development in Western culture, it only exists because we are exposed to it. In that case there would be no drugs administered and minimal treatment. If we are looking at it as an actual disorder, which I believe it is, there would be meds administered.  Recognizing this as a disorder may be a personal decision, but the good news is there are ways to manage and treat the symptoms regardless. As mentioned, group therapy, hormone therapy and support from other mothers is high recommended.


I believe there is connection between belief and healing. From the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code” I got the impression that if someone truly believes they are being healed they will mentally and physically feel healed. The film described this as a “self-healing effect”. In the case of postpartum depression I believe a person give a placebo can be healed just as well as someone who is given a normal psychiatric drug. In the film, the war veterans are being treated on and given knee surgery, yet nothing is really done. They claim to feel better after the surgery, yet they were not even touched. This is evidence that sometimes being told you are better may actually make you feel better, even when nothing is done. The mind is a very powerful tool, which we neglect to use to our advantage at times. For example, in school I will often convince myself a large difficult task is simple by dividing it into smaller tasks. I will also tell myself “this is easy” to make it seem less impossible, and before I know it the task is completed. This tool of “ Mind over matter” is relatable to the placebo in the sense of tricking your brain that nothing is really wrong.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Hassan Ahsan says:

    I am impressed at how we both seem to have chosen the exact same topics to post about in both this weeks activity and reflection. However, I am even more impressed and a little surprised at how similarly we write. Its pretty uncanny!

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