Postpartum Depression Carries Danger & Stigma

7:02 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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PIEDMONT TRIAD, NC -- Miriam Carey, the woman who was shot and killed by police in Washington DC after leading them on a car chase near the Capitol and White House, on Thursday, may have suffered from Postpartum Depression.

Carey's mother told ABC News her daughter was so depressed after giving birth to her child that she was even hospitalized.

WFMY News 2 wanted to know if, in fact, the condition could make someone act the way Carey did.

Of course, police are still investigating what caused Thursday's incident at the Capitol but postpartum depression is a real thing.

WFMY News 2 caught up with two women who shared their stories with us.

The first was Karen Flynt of Winston Salem.

She says she had a mild version of the condition about 27 years ago when her first child was born.

"I had beautiful home, a husband, Ashley's father, and a brand new baby and I felt ashamed because I was feeling so sad. I would look at her and I just wouldn't feel any joy," she explained. "I just started feeling really blue, I felt sad. I felt like there was a cloud of death over me."

Another Triad woman says she suffered from  postpartum depression about 14 months ago upon the birth of her child.

"After the typical baby blues were over was when I realized I was crying every day, I was noticing that I would have been fine if someone else was going to do something to care for my child so I could go to the store, I could be somewhere else where I didn't have to do it," she said.

The woman did not want her name revealed or face shown on camera because she says she doesn't want the world to know about how she felt about her baby.

Some women feel ashamed about having those negative feelings about their own children and feel helpless.

"It's not that you want to hurt your baby but it's that you don't really care if your baby gets hurt," she said.

 The woman, as well as Flynt, later got help and has been treated for her condition.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate up to 20 percent of new mothers have the condition - for about a year after having a child.

There are three levels of it.

It can be as mild as having trouble sleeping, or not bonding with your child - which is called Baby Blues.

The next level is Postpartum Depression where you're afraid of hurting your baby or feeling guilty about not being able to take care of it.

On the severe end, a new mother hallucinates and feels like killing herself and or her baby.
And that's called postpartum psychosis.

It can happen to any woman - rich, poor, black, or white - it doesn't matter.

"A lot of it has to do with hormones but it's just something about the body that after you have a baby experience that depression and that depression goes into that psychosis," explained Flynt who now works with the Welcome Baby program in Winston Salem.

Part of her job is to visit new mothers and screen for postpartum depression using a test called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

It's not just women who suffer from the condition.

The CDC reports about 4 percent of men also have it soon after their partners have a baby

The goal of the test is to catch early and treat it before it becomes a danger to the parent and the baby.

For help, you can call your doctor, your local hospital or find programs like Welcome Baby.

The program is housed in the Exchange SCAN building in Winston-Salem. (336) 725-2229

There's also an international helpline: 800-944-4PPD, 800-944-4773

WFMY News 2

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