Postpartum occurs when a woman goes through after childbirth and is characterized by emotional and social changes, which subjects the woman to depression allegedly due to anxiety. During the postpartum period, a woman experiences drastic fluctuations of various hormones in the body, leading to behavioral changes. Postpartum depression is a serious disorder that, when not adequately managed, can lead to a serious mental problem in the woman, her children, and families in general. While mild stress is a common phenomenon after delivery, a persisted depression is of great concern to the public, and treatment should be initiated as soon as possible. Since the symptoms of the disorder are similar to that of other depression types, little is known about the factors affecting postpartum unhappiness in women. The general objective of the study will be to determine the factors affecting depression in US mothers with the focus of low income mothers. The specific objectives of the study will be to determine how individual, interpersonal, community and societal factors affect postpartum depression patients.
Prevention of postpartum stress disorder in women requires an understanding of problem management’s social-economic model. Determinants of the condition can be classified as affecting the individual, relationship, community, and society, as outlined in figure 1 below. Based on the model, the various factors overlap each other. Thus, to address postpartum depression, it is imperative to adopt different approaches for different socioeconomic factors. The model provides sustainable postpartum prevention guidelines and has maximum impact on the population.
Socioeconomic Model Diagram
Individual factors represent the first level of the model and include psychological, biological, and personal characteristics that affect developing postpartum depression. According to Ertop and Cetisli (2020), age, education, drugs, and substance use affect postpartum depression. They also found that younger women experiencing first pregnancy are more likely to experience depression symptoms. On the other hand, Xiong and Deng (2020) found that age has a high impact on postpartum depression. Postpartum depressions are more prevalent in older women than younger women. However, the two articles’ authors agree that depression symptoms are more common to first-birth mothers regardless of age. Education level, drugs, and substance abuse had little effect on depression.
Interpersonal factors entail factors that affect the relationship between the mother and their family, husband or children. These factors are vital because poor management could lead to the transfer of depression to other family members, especially the father or the children (McMorrow et al., 2020). The relationship of the patient to the closest circle influences their experience. After childbirth, a mother should be empowered socially, encouraged, supported, and helped where possible. Women experiencing births out of wedlock, single mothers, unstable relationships, or unwanted pregnancies are likely to experience postpartum pressure than those from stable families. The mother should be mentored on the parent-child bonding, promoting positive peer culture and healthy husband-wife relationships to deal with the interpersonal postpartum pressure.
The community represents the third level of factors affecting postpartum depression and includes settings beyond the woman’s inner circle. The management of the depression is impacted by neighborhood villagers, schoolmates for children, and workmates. Subjection to long working hours, an un-peaceful work environment, and the mother’s intimidation form determinants of postpartum depression (McMorrow et al., 2020). The organization or the community a mother interacts with during the pregnancy stage has the effect of introducing her to the childbearing experience, thus affecting her expectations. To prevent postnatal community factors, health practitioners should improve the woman’s physical and societal environment (Alhasanat, 2017). The mother should live in a clean and safe environment that promotes psychological healing, social support, and economic empowerment. The mother should have enough time to interact with her child and not be subjected to any form of violence from the community.
Societal factors represent the outermost and the fourth level factors that encourage postpartum depression. These factors are wide in that they affect a large sector or segment of the population. Postpartum depression is affected by cultural and religious beliefs that support women’s neglect and violence. The federal and state government policies on education, health, economic management, and social welfare affect postnatal treatment services availability (McMorrow et al., 2020). To manage this level of postpartum depression, governments should develop laws and policies that protect women against inequality and violence. Postnatal depression should be taught widely in schools and seminars. Employment and financial programs should be initiated aimed at empowering women for a healthy society. Moreover, hospitals should adequately equip postnatal health professionals to help mothers needing mental healing.
Cross-cutting themes entail additional issues of concern that may affect postpartum depression and thus should get integrated as part of the project. While remaining focused on the project’s major objective, the study found the need to have a broader approach to the problem by addressing Rights and Social Justice, Life course, and Environmental themes. It is imperative to ensure that all these factors are considered to address the postpartum depression.
Rights and Social Justice
According to McMorrow et al. (2020), a depressed woman, regardless of race, geographical origin, or cultural orientation, is a loss to the entire society. Women’s prenatal and postnatal health should be considered important to all people. Thus, poverty reduction, gender balance, and women’s livelihood development should be considered pivotal effects of postpartum depression.
Due to their biological nature, women are vulnerable to different forms of anxiety and depression. Tabb et al. (2019) notes that mothers should do physical exercise regularly. They also ought to eat a balanced diet, and avoid financial or social encounters that can subject them to depression. In case one feels depressed, they should visit doctors regularly for mental consultation to prevent extreme cases of the condition.
A mother needs a safe and clean physical environment before and after childbirth. However, mothers find themselves handling newborn babies in dirty and unpleasant unhealthy environments. As Alhasanat (2017) mentions, for one to avoid anxiety and depression, a mother should be allowed in a conducive and lovely environment free from air, noise, and garbage pollution. Through this, they will be able to have a relaxed environment.
The psychodynamic theory is used to explain the interpersonal factors of postpartum depression. According to the theory, the condition is caused by conflicts of interest within the mother about her unfinished businesses during childhoods (Naz & Sharjeel, 2020). As soon as she delivers a child, they tend to imitate the roles played by their mother in handling the child. However, under special circumstances, some women naturally reject their mothers’ roles and adopt new ways of handling a baby. The immediate partners and family reject the mother’s feminism and identity when they cannot uphold child care practices and behaviors taught by their mothers (Naz & Sharjeel, 2020). As a result, the mother finds themselves struggling with conflicts of interests which subject her to postpartum depression due to lack of independence.
Postpartum depression due to anxiety occurs in a woman after childbirth. While the factors affecting depression are not clear, the causes are classified into the individual, interpersonal, community, and societal factors, which are better, explained using the socioeconomic model. Other than the different factors outlined in the socioeconomic model, any other effects of postpartum depression are cross-cutting themes. Psychodynamic theory holds that postpartum disorders are coping mechanisms in balancing their child’s handling interests against the family’s interests.
Alhasanat, D. (2017). Postpartum depression and acculturation among US immigrant women of Arabic descent. Wayne State University Dissertations.
Ertop, F., & Cetisli, N. E. (2020). Postpartum depression and breastfeeding in overweight/obese and non-obese mothers. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 70(2), 219-224. Web.
McMorrow, S., Dubay, L., Kenney, G. M., Johnston, E. M., & Caraveo, C. A. (2020). Uninsured new mothers’ health and health care challenges highlight the benefits of increasing postpartum Medicaid coverage. The Urban Institute.
Naz, N., & Sharjeel, M. Y. (2020). Psychodynamic analysis of early childhood teachers and their professional development: Evidence from Pakistan.
Tabb, K. M., Pérez-Flores, N. J., Pineros-Leano, M., Piedra, L. M., Meline, B., & Huang, H. (2019). Depressive symptoms among pregnant low-income adolescents and implications for social workers. Journal of Sociology, 7(2), 1-7.
Xiong, R., & Deng, A. (2020). Prevalence and associated factors of postpartum depression among immigrant women in Guangzhou, China. BMC. Pregnancy and Childbirth 20 (2020): 1-7.