We are all familiar with the face of extreme postpartum depression. Who could ever forget the highly publicized case of Andrea Yates, the housewife who allegedly suffered from the condition to the point of such mental confusion that she killed her children? In a matter of moments the public got a crash course on what can happen when depression hits.

The upside was that we are now educated to take action in behalf of both mother and child when certain behaviors are displayed closely following the birth of a baby. Uncontrollable crying and complete loss of motivation now send out a cry for help that is heard louder than ever before. But what about the mild cases of baby blues? What about that sneaky thief of joy that doesn’t manifest itself as vividly?

There are many reports after the fact of women that say that while they never felt any inclination to harm themselves or their children, they lived in a state of hopeless despair. When asked why they didn’t seek help, their answer was that they felt guilty that they had these feelings. Everyone expected them to be elated and happy and they didn’t want to be perceived as unnatural.

Without support these mild feelings of despair can live on and may even escalate into something worse. The sad thing is that with guidance and education the condition can be at the very least improved and at best completely eliminated. Perhaps all that’s needed is a mention from the obstetrician or mid-wife that mild postpartum depression is normal. I say don’t leave it all up to the mother, give the father or immediate family a list of postpartum depression signs just in case she can’t get past the shame that what she is feeling might be a disappointment to others. Sunlight is a superb sanitizer. Bringing feelings of doubt and despair out into the open often may be all that it takes to obliterate them altogether.

If peace and joy in one new mother is considered natural, how can another’s struggle with the inability to find emotional balance and happiness be perceived as any less natural? Confirmation that the condition of mild postpartum depression or baby blues is common should come as part of the standard educational package so that the guilt and shame of seeking help falls by the wayside. Obstetricians should expose the nasty little secret that so many needlessly hide in shame so that it can be dealt with in a positive manner. Education may be the best way to improve the quality of life of new mothers that have feelings of doubt or hopelessness as well as to inform those who might judge them.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Bay is the webmaster of the popular baby website, Unique Baby Gear Ideas, Nursery Themes and Decorating Ideas.