Cultural Traditions and PPD

Knowing what we do about PPD risk factors including lack of social support and financial struggles, I have begun to wonder if Cultural Celebrations and support of new mothers has an impact on whether or not she experiences Postpartum Depression. As I researched for this morning’s Did You Know piece for the blog, I came across a fascinating article that brought an important point to the forefront of my mind. Many other cultures do celebrate the birth of a child and motherhood but what do we do for new moms here in America? Nothing. The child is born and then bam. Out the door into the cold world goes mom – struggling not only with the physiological effects of childbirth but also the psychological effects, including the sudden shift of attention from her (as the pregnant woman) to the newborn infant. She is pushed aside and left behind. Why is it we do this? How has this happened? The article I read suggested the American Job Market has effectively dismantled the family dynamic through the need for relocation related to employment and thereby denigrated the opportunity continued guidance and support from immediate family members – ie, the passing down of child-rearing knowledge and support from mother to daughter. I myself have been a victim of this very phenomenom as I moved nearly 400 miles away from my family to find work. I do call my mother quite a bit but it is no substitute for in-person care and guidance. There needs to be a shift in American Culture to truly celebrate the mother as well as the child after birth. An increase in coverage by insurance companies to pay for doula care after the birth of a child, making standard designing a plan of postpartum care within the constructs of the OB or pre-natal visits. We are so conditioned to prepare for the BABY we have forgotten to prepare for our care. We cannot afford to do this any longer.

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