Research out this past week from Johns Hopkins indicates that Mothers of Multiples are at a 43% higher risk than Mothers of singletons to experience “moderate to severe depressive” symptoms nine months after giving birth. The interesting kicker? Regardless of multiple birth status, few mothers reported talking with a Health Care professional about depression.
So what on earth does this have to do with Nadya Suleman?
For starters, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the eight babies Ms. Suleman recently gave birth to. She’s also the proud mama of twins. What does this mean? It means that Ms. Suleman has twice put herself at a higher risk of developing moderate to severe depressive symptoms after giving birth.
What does this mean for her kids?
If Ms. Suleman has developed depression and has not sought help, her mental state could potentially have a negative effect on her kids. According to an article by Ruta Nonacs at Medscape, Postpartum Depression may affect maternal-infant bonding, cause the mother to be either extremely withdrawn or more intrusive, and use negative facial expressions. All of this may lead to children who, according to Nonacs, “exhibit behavioral problems (eg, sleep and eating difficulties, temper tantrums, hyperactivity), delays in cognitive development, emotional and social dysregulation, and early onset of depressive illness.”
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if my untreated PP OCD led to the behavior issues we had with our first born. There is always a “what if” question at the back of my mind. I get angry with my doctor. I get angry with myself for not pushing for better care and help. I get angry. Then I remind myself that I cannot change the past – only change the future. So far, I’m doing my best. It’ll have to do.
I sincerely hope Ms. Suleman does not experience a Postpartum Mood Disorder. They are a dark and treacherous crew indeed and I would not wish them on my worst enemy. But I do urge women who are not bonding with their children or have a gut feeling that something is a little off to seek help. You deserve it, your children deserve it. You are not alone, you are not to blame, and you will be well.