Postpartum depression is not a millennial issue. PPD/PPA has been around since mankind began. Our mothers experienced PPD. Our grandmothers experienced it. Even our great-great grandmothers experienced it.
Yet, it wasn’t always spoken about—or it was deemed a mild issue or minimized as “baby blues.”
Since the inception of this project, it has been difficult to find women above the age of forty that are openly willing to discuss PPD/PPA.
Luckily, Lora reached out to me.
Lora’s youngest child is now thirty-years-old.
She began, “You’ll know that my postpartum memories are decades old.”
Lora’s summary of her pospartum depression was, as she states “It seemed to me that when I had postpartum depression it was because I was sleep deprived. When I started getting sleepy and lethargic, I knew I needed to sleep more.”
Her speculation is not just a musing; it is scientifically backed. Studies show “mothers suffering from PPD took longer to fall asleep and slept for shorter periods. The worse their sleep quality, the worse their depression” (1).
Lora continued, “I had babies at a time when it wasn’t unusual for women to be home with the kids, so I was fortunate to be able to sleep when the baby slept (my only chance to get it) rather than having to get back to work right way. As it was, waking with a newborn every 3 hours was exhausting.”
Many mothers find themselves in the same situation that Lora found herself in three decades ago. Newborns require sixteen hours of sleep within a twenty-four hour period, but cycle being asleep for only three hours at a time. While this is normal for newborns, this is difficult for mothers, as one of the more serious side effects of sleep deprivation is depression. (2)
Lora noticed changes in her personality, which included an inhibited impulse control.
She stated humorously, “I’d crave sweets and gain weight after the baby was born. Yeah, that takes a real talent.”
While Lora’s story is one of our more mild cases of PPD/PPA, it is still a serious instance and should be treated as such. It is easy to write off emotions as “baby blues,” but if anything, one should feel inspired to take action to get better, so that humor can begin to take hold in life again.
A special thanks to Lora Kinder for sharing her story. Lora’s name has not been changed.