Black Women : Post Partum Depression/Child Abandoment

Discussion in 'Black Women - Mothers - Sisters - Daughters' started by CarrieMonet, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. CarrieMonet

    CarrieMonet Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sometimes, the baby blues can last for longer than the usual few days. Instead of feeling a little down, mothers can feel emotionally miserable, tearful, have problems sleeping, lose interest in doing anything, feeling listless, lose their appetite, and even feel hopeless. If this situation lasts for more than a week or two, a mother might be experiencing a post-partum depression. This condition seems to be more common than people realize.

    Here in Seattle there are certain hospitals which are deemed "safe drops" for women to leave their babies anonamously.

    With that said, do you think post partum depression can be linked to women or young girls who abandon their babies shortly after giving birth. (leaving their babies in McDonalds, garbage cans, church steps or emergency rooms?) Have you or someone close to you ever suffered from this illness?
     
  2. toylin

    toylin Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I got depressed for a while near the end of my pregnancy, and it continued on and off until my son was about 2 months old. Of course, I spent more time hating my husband than my kid.....

    I do think that depression, combined with panic, can cause some mothers to abandon their children, or worse, to hurt them. A lot of people know about the safe drops (I think we have them in Michigan, too) but I believe that people are still afraid that somehow, they'll be tracked down and prosecuted for leaving their child. So, already scared and probably alone, they choose to instead do harmful things to themselves and their children.

    I don't personally know anyway who suffered from extreme post-partum depression, but my mother did. one of her friends was so depressed after the birth of her child that she killed herself and the baby.
     
  3. uniquelymade

    uniquelymade Member MEMBER

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    On one hand, I agree with you Toylin. I too had gotten depressed. It is especially hard on those who have no strong support system. But, on the other hand, I don't think that it is depression that causes them to abandon their children. I think that their role and respsonsibilities don't really hit them hard until late in the pregnancy or after the child is born. Some people can't handle someone depending on them for everything. They don't believe in abortion and they don't want to go through the process of adoption and everything that could come with it; so, in their minds, they think that they have no more options.
     
  4. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You bring excellent topics to the discussion forums Sister CM, thank you!

    I think that post partum depression is both chemical and societal. During and immediately following a pregnancy, a woman's hormones are raging and often get inbalanced. I believe that PPD has been attributed to a chemical inbalance in the brain which is why women sink into a depression soon after giving birth. The depression can be mild to extremely severe. The mild type can last briefly with little to know obvious affects while the extremely severe type can lead to death. There was one of these cases not that long ago in Chicago. A Black woman professional who got pregnant after years of trying and was delighted about the coming event. Her husband and family were all supportive. She and her husband had a healthy and happy pregnancy. Immediately after the birth of their child, she sank into a depression that needed to be medically treated. However, neither the family nor the doctors realized how severe this woman's case was, although her family did intervene by not leaving her home alone with the baby during the day while her husband was at work. While with her, her mother went to check on the baby and left the woman alone in the livingroom in a highrise apartment building. When she returned the woman had jumped out of the window and killed herself. That is severe depression. The grandmother is now on a crusade to alert women to PPD and not to take it lightly.

    Young single women abandoning children--yes, this could be partially due to PPD and also to the pressures of having a child they are not capable of supporting. To a large degree this is a crazy society that we're living in and unfortunately, we're seeing more and more of this type of behavior as well as matricide--mothers killing children.

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  5. CarrieMonet

    CarrieMonet Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you Queenie!

    I like the points you made and I know that many times PPD goes undetected. I just can't help but wonder if counseling for the illness also needs to include help for the fathers so that he can detect that something is wrong.

    I keep thinking about that woman who drove her kids into the lake, then said a black man carjacked her and killed her kids. Stories like those...
     
  6. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Mental illness running rampant

    You know, I'm not sure what to think about that woman, Sue Smith I believe her name was, who drove her children into the lake. That could have been PPD but then again, there was a man she was sexually involved with that she wanted to be with but he didn't want her children to tag along. So she killed them to be with him. I'm more inclined to believe the woman (I can't remember her name) who drowned her 5 babies suffered from PPD than Smith.

    PPD is a legitimate condition that warrants serious medical attention and extensive research. Black women should be a part of the research population too and not just white women. Many women suffer from it and need immediate medical attention. In addition, families that suffer with it need to obtain adequate support services to deal with it. The medical community and families of these women need help in being better able to detect PPD and equipped to handle it so that families can achieve a healthy state.

    But CM, now you know, some women are just plain stupid and they do stupid things. After reading her story, I put Sue Smith in this category. This is a woman who deliberately killed her children and then stood in front of tv cameras and lied about it. This is a woman who tried to get away with murdering her children just so that she could be with another man. That requires some type of sanity to pull off. Depression is different--women who suffer from it admit to what they did. Smith is just a dumb white woman that deserves to rot in prison.

    The woman that killed her five babies did it and called the police to report it. She told them why she did it--she didn't want anymore babies but her husband wouldn't let her practice birth control and he kept her pregnant for something like 6 or 7 years in a row. She had been diagnosed with PPD, but no one took her seriously.

    We know that research on women's illnesses overall has taken a back seat for years to men's. Research on health issues among the Black population is even worse. Just within the last 10 years or so, breast cancer research has become more prominent in America because women were being diagnosed more and more with the disease and very little research had been done to detect it and treat it. Now you see October designated as breast cancer research month, marathons and more pink ribbons around. More Black women die of breast cancer than white women do. The mortality rate for Black women is higher than whites with most diseases including hypertension, diabetes, AIDS and cervical cancer. It wouldn't surprise me if we also suffer more from PPD that goes undetected and untreated.

    Why? Because more Black women than white women go without proper medical insurance and therefore, are less likely to seek medical attention in the early stages of these types of diseases and few people in the medical/healthcare research field care about what happened to us. White women became the squeaky wheel that got the grease and so research on women's diseases stepped up, but still the population didn't always include Black women. I learned that years ago while attending a women's health organization conference. We must grow our own voice!!

    We can turn all of that around for us but we must become advocates for a more healthier lifestyle by demanding equal justice, consideration and inclusion!

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  7. toylin

    toylin Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    So basically, the moral of this story is... when someone you know and love gives birth to a baby, try to be there to suport her and help her out if you can. When I furst came home from the hospital, my husband was there. MY mom would come over when he was at work to help me clean, and watch my son so I could shower and things like that. Several friends and relatives called and visited and asked if there was anything they could do to help. Sometimes this may not be enough (as I still got depressed, but more from my marraige and overall situation thatn my child), but every little bit helps. New mothers, especially young, single mothers, need to know that people out there love and care about them. Offer to do her shoppin for her, cook her ameal and put it in her freezer. WE cannot stand by at let our most prescious resource, our children, go up in flames!
     
  8. CarrieMonet

    CarrieMonet Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Toylin, I'm not sure if that is the answer or not. Sometimes we close people off from being a part of our lives when we are going through things. People can only be "let in" if we allow them to.

    I remember when my daughter was six months old, I moved into a two bedroom house alone. The first 6 months of my daughter's life, I was like a zombie, I went to work, came home and had very little contact with anyone. I stayed with my grammy for those months after my daughter was first born. When I moved out into my own place the first thing I did was bought some black blinds for all the windows in the house. I would go to work, pick my daughter up from day care and go home and sit in a semi-dark house. I had so many thoughts going on in my head and nothing made sense. I wasn't ready to date, I wasn't ready for friends trying to cheer me up (although at the time I would have never admitted to being "down") and I didn't want to talk. I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

    People would come by to see me but I usually pretended that I was not home. I kept this up until one day I was cooking dinner and fell asleep. I woke up to my daughter's screams and the house was filled with smoke. The kitchen was on fire...and the fire alarms weren't working. After that incident I got out of the house more. I feared people would think I was trying to kill myself.

    A full year after my daughter was born I was still dealing with feeling down but never knew why I felt that way. My life had changed so drastically in such a short period of time that I really had a hard time trying to figure out what to do next. I went from overachiever to a single parent in the blink of an eye. I felt I let myself down because I had been the perfect daughter and student. College was a breeze but I stopped sophomore year and took a full time job. Everyone at my job thought I was pretty remarkable because I was only off work 8 weeks and seemed to be working as hard as ever...but actually I was just putting on a front - I was miserable and felt there was no way I'd reach my goals. I didn't think I'd be a good mom.

    I think once my daughter started talking I felt a lot better. I never thought of hurting my daughter, but I did feel like running away at times. I've shared this story with her now that she is older...and she always tells me that I've been a really good mother to her. But at the time, I felt like crap.
     
  9. toylin

    toylin Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I understand, Carrie. Sometimes I look at my son, and I just feel lost. There arw days when he and I do not even leave the house. Sometimes, I feel like my mother, with all her good intentions, is crowding my space. So, yeah, I can see the problem with being htere for someone. However, if we let people know that if they need us, we'll be there, maybe that can help make a difference. I know I may not always be receptive to my mother's help.advice.opinions... but just knowing that she IS there if I need her makes me feel a little better.
     
  10. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sister CarrieM...It saddens me to know what you went through as a new mother. It sounds as though you were going through powerful feelings of guilt and anger and self-disappointment. When you have high regard and expectations for yourself, and you fail to meet them and lose your self-respect, depression usually occurs. I'm glad you had the good sense to change your postpartum behavior when you recognized the danger you were putting yourself and infant child in. I hope you recognize now where those sad feelings were coming from and feel better about yourself and have forgiven yourself. Your daughter is blessed to have you as a mother. Thank you for sharing your story because it might help someone else out there who is going thru the same thing at the very moment they read it.

    Peace sister, and may your blessings continue beyond your wildest dreams!

    Queenie :heart:
     
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