W4 Reflection: Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mental illness that develops after a woman gives birth, but can affect both men and women. The symptoms can include crying, a depressed mood, anxiety, and ill-feelings toward your child and the changes your life has taken because of having this child. PPD is an illness that is highly stigmatized in our culture because there are no measurable tests and the diagnosis relies heavily on the woman’s ability to communicate her feelings with her doctor. Women are expected to have children and be able to care for them properly; always putting her family first. As explained in the lecture, whether or not a condition is viewed as socially acceptable is determined by the individual’s ability to fulfill the “sick role”. A new parent with PPD may have trouble with the ideologies or practices of fulfilling the sick role because they would feel pressured to keep their feelings of mental unwellness to themselves and continue taking care of their children and family. Many mental illnesses are extremely socially influenced, and biomedicine would only come into play after the sufferer has sought help or treatment from a medical professional.

After watching the show “Placebo: Cracking the Code” I believe that there is a very strong connection between a person’s belief and their healing. I was surprised to learn that if a patient believed they had surgery on their knee, they benefitted the same as a person that actually underwent atherosclerotic surgery. Growing up when I had to go to the doctor for immunizations or other things I was afraid of needles because I thought it was going to be painful, and my mom would always tell me “Mind over matter”. I think that eventually this mantra helped me to get over the fear of an injection because I believed so strongly that I could “think” myself into not feeling it. Relating this to stories of medical miracles and other things, it makes sense that if a person believed in something so much, they could convince their bodies that it was actually true.



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