This Mental Health Awareness week: Postpartum depression 101
About six months after I was diagnosed with postpartum depression I got pissed off, seriously angry, and enraged. I told my therapist that I was still in shock that this had happened to me. I couldn’t understand — why me? That’s when she told me something that still makes me angry today (four years later): “Honestly, with your history, it would have been a shock if you DIDN’T get sick”.

Yeah, that record scratch you just heard in your head? I heard it too. What did that even mean?

That was the first time I ever saw a list of the risk factors for maternal mental illnesses (postpartum depression and its evil cousins, postpartum anxiety, OCD and psychosis). There are ten and I have most of them. And if I’d known, who knows what might have been different for me and my family?

Maternal mental illness is the number one pregnancy-related complication. Approximately 14-23% of pregnant people suffer from depression during and after pregnancy. And yet almost no one is screening pregnant or postpartum parents for these illnesses. If you are pregnant —or could become pregnant—  these are the things you need to know in order to mitigate your risk. If you’re a survivor, this list may help answer some questions for you.

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