Postpartum Depression

The medical condition I chose to explain was Postpartum Depression (PPD) in females. This condition is one that affects eleven percent to forty-two percent of women globally after childbirth. Symptoms for postpartum depression include fatigue, sadness, exhaustion, avoidance, irritability, anxiety, poor child care, reduced sex desire, crying episodes, and changes in sleep and eating patterns. Why women develop PPD is still unknown. However, a study at the University of California, Irvin, reported the levels of placental corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) during mid-pregnancy may help predict if a woman will get PPD. PPD can greatly affect the mother and child’s relationship by her inconsistent childcare. Because there is nothing but a scale to measure postpartum depression, society’s perspective on mothers with PPD is not very empathetic. They believe new mothers are neglecting their babies and are lazy. The illness experience can be bad for a mother already and as she discusses her illness narrative many individuals do not think it is of a serious matter. This may worsen her medical condition and prolong the experience. Westernized cultures have it in their mind that if there is not a  legitimate test to be done, then the mothers are not really experiencing PPD, but instead are “bad mothers”. On the other hand, the Malay culture believe that a spirit resides in the placenta of a woman and when it is unsatisfied it causes the mother to experience frequent crying and poor motherly skills. In the Chinese culture, women are supposed to stay in bed for a month after they give birth to prevent PPD. Some cultures are more understanding than others and help the illness experience.

I believe what society and one’s culture think are different from what doctors know. Medical professionals have the knowledge and understanding to administer treatment to a PPD patient. They know that it is an actual medical condition. Most treatment for Postpartum Depression is counseling though. Women who join other women with PPD are more likely to share this illness experience and depend on one another and get the treatment they deserve.

I am a strong believer in mind over everything. When you put your mind to something it can be achieved. After watching, “Placebo: Cracking the Code”, I definitely think that our minds are greater than we think. For a pill that’s supposed to have no effect, have an effect, is incredible. Healing and belief go hand in hand. It has been proven that a pill holding no specific treatment has helped make people feel better. Also, in the video, it shows how someone can start to have with draws from a pill when it is not supposed to have an effect. I believe our bodies will do whatever our brain wants it to think and do. From my own experience, we recently bought a puppy and unfortunately it had fleas. I was unaware of this and picked it up anyways. I played with it and cuddled with it until my sister came out and told me what was going on.  I immediately jumped in the shower and felt fleas swarming my body. I was itching like crazy. Only when my sister came into the room and told me I had no fleas on myself did I stop itching. My mind had tricked me into thinking I was being bitten by fleas and my body just went with it. I have never taken a placebo, but if my mind can have control over fleas like that, then there is no doubt that it can trick us into taking a pill and feeling different.


“Wikipedia: Postpartum Depression,” last modified July 24, 2014,



This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Jaana Ashtiani says:

    To be honest I don’t have enough background information on PPD to fully confirm whether or not I think of it as a valid illness. However just from this weeks lecture and from your post, I do believe it to be a real illness that affects many women after childbirth. The massive amount of changes that a woman’s body goes through during and after childbirth can have a variety of effects on their bodies and mental state as well. The hormone imbalances alone can be responsible for many bodily changes as well as mood swings. This being said, I can definitely understand why as a culture we tend to reject this as an illness and simply see it as child neglect. Since PPD is not something that can exactly be measured in medical terms (not found in the blood, other bodily fluids, etc.) it is very easy to see why society would reject it as an illness of the mind, or even an excuse for irrational irresponsible behavior. In fact it’s very similar in this sense to Fibromyalgia, the topic I chose to write about. When pain or discomfort does not come from a visibly reliable source it’s very difficult for many to determine its validity.
    So far in this course I have realized that there are so many different dimensions to understanding an illness and the healing methods that are involved in each and every culture. In order to fully understand an illness or disease in particular, you have to be full aware of your environment, the religion, the society, and the individual at hand. As a society, our media has so much influence on the mindsets of the people and the way we perceive things. In short, every culture has its own set of customs and beliefs, and by being a part of the culture one cannot help but to be influenced by its ideals. An illness that is seem as extremely debilitating in one culture can be cast aside as a joke by another given the cultural context of another society. Therefore it’s extremely important to have factual evidence before one makes any sort of assumption about an illness, or any other cultural aspect.

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