Essay on Coping with Postpartum Depression

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A topic I chose for this project is Postpartum Depression in mothers after labor and how it affects the bond with their baby. This topic is a personal topic to me because I experienced postpartum depression after giving birth to my first daughter in 2018. I felt lonely for the first three weeks after birth and could not cope with my emotions and bond with my daughter. After three weeks, I went back to my normal routine and back to myself. In some cultures, people are not aware and are not educated about PPD and do not consider that it could be an issue. But a majority in general, people are uneducated about Postpartum depression and do not know what actions to take to help the mother with PPD, which can lead the mother to feel even more isolated and do things that she has not carefully thought through. For example, mothers with PPD can do dangerous activities with their babies without realizing it or doing damage to themselves. Most importantly, it is critical to always support mothers after birth and be there for them just in case they might be diagnosed with PPD or baby blues.

Attachment

Attachment is the assumption that children must develop an attachment to their caregiver to fully develop and have a secure relationship in the future. John Bowlby’s (1982) attachment theory is based on the idea that the early relationship that develops between the infant and caregiver provides the foundation for later development (Lefkovics, Baji, & Rigo, 2014). A mother’s emotions should be analyzed along with how she develops her feelings of attachment to her infant, which brings the closeness of the mother and infant together. Bowlby (1973); Weinfield, Sroufe, Egeland, & Carlson, (1999) as cited in Mason, Briggs, and Silver (2011) state “with the reciprocal interaction between infant and caregiver, the infant learns not only who his or her caregiver is but can also learn how to anticipate the caregiver’s behaviors. From these expectations, the infant forms a model of how to relate to and interact with others, and this model will be used as a guide for future behaviors and relationships throughout life (p.382).” The infant must form this model because it forms a secure attachment that will benefit that infant in later life with other adults and help the infant developmentally grow. The internal working model shapes an infant’s development thinking of attachment based on his caregiver’s attachment to him (Borelli et al., 2017).

Research in general shows the differences between secure and insecure attachment. Huang et. al (2012) explain the difference between secure and insecure attachment. Huang et. al (2012) state when there is a secure attachment in children, children develop positive developmental outcomes, such as “emotional regulation, social competence and peer relationships, problem-solving, and understanding of emotion (p.41). However, an insecure attachment is the opposite of a secure attachment. Insecure attachment is associated with “negative developmental outcomes such as anxious and depressive mood, behavioral problems, and poor peer relation (Huang et. al, 2012, pg. 41)”. Insecure attachment can interfere with the quality of mother-child interactions, leading the child to have a developmental issue as he grows. Attachment theory evaluates the mother’s understanding of her infant’s distress and signals (Ainsworth et al., 1978 cited in Santona et. al, 2015). Tronick (2005) as quoted in Santona et. al, 2015 states when depressed mothers fail to understand their children’s needs, it affects the child and causes the child to have a negative relationship with the mother and the child will most likely express negative emotion. Mothers with PPD can lack the ability to respond to their child’s needs with the stress level, she may have and forget her surroundings.

Attachment theory can lead to the understanding that mothers with PPD can affect the attachment and closeness of the mother and infant relations. This causes insecure bonds, which then cause the infant to lose the ability in the future to build a secure bond with other people. “Conflicting strategies of approach and avoidance towards the newborn might result in less coordinated and effectively matched interactional processes between mother and infant, which in turn harm positive experiences in the maternal role and thus impair the developing mother-infant bond by creating or increasing emotional barriers (Nonnenmacher et al, 2016, p. 932). Mason, Briggs, and Silver (2011) note that maternal feelings are a moderator between maternal PPD and the infant’s outcome, which is to support the closeness and build a strong attachment between the mother and infant, However, partner support can help mothers with PPD to improve attachment and relation. Partner support can “mediate the effects of mothers’ interpersonal security and relationship satisfaction on maternal and infant outcomes” (Lefkovics, Baji, &Rigo,2014, p.360). Attachment theory can be examined through the importance of building a secure attachment after the mother gives birth to her infant and the damage PPD can do if the mother is diagnosed with PPD. The next theory, Temperament, will discuss how an infant can become difficult and have issues in their development due to the lack of response from the mother.

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Temperament

The second theory, Temperament, is used to assess an infant’s characteristics. There are three types of temperament: easy, slow to warm up, and difficult. “Alongside interest in relations between temperament and children’s outcomes, there also is considerable interest in how children’s temperament characteristics may affect the contexts in which they are raised, including the parenting that they receive” (Nolvi et al, 2016, p.14). Distressed mothers will not respond to their child’s needs, which causes unmet needs of the child and the disengagement between the infant and mother. The distress can cause the child to become difficult and arousal to the child’s environment.

Temperament has been used to explain developmental phenomena in this topic of postpartum depression of how mothers with PPD distress can lead an infant to have difficult adjusting to their environment. “maternal depression, which has been associated with increased emotional unavailability and negativity, has been consistently linked with disruptions in parent-child interactions and parenting behaviors beginning in infancy and extending through adolescence” (Cummings & Davies, 1994; Downey & Coyne, 1990; Field et al., 1988; Stanley, Murray, & Stein, 2004 as cited in Bridgett et al.,2009, p.106). Mothers with PPD, when in a vulnerable state, lose how to interact with their child and to provide the emotions that are needed to bond with the child. For example, when an infant cries and throws a fit and the mother does not respond, will cause the infant to become more stressed and difficult later. Edhborg et al. (2005) as cited in Nolvi et. al (2016) found that infant fussiness and negative affect were related to the lower quality of bonding between mothers and their infants (p.14).

Temperament theory shows the correlation between temperament and PPD. Also, understanding the how important mother's relationship with the infant during PPD may affect the child’s temperament. “Mother-reported infant temperament traits were associated with bonding in regression analyses (Nolvi et. al, 2016, p.20)”. However, some researchers mentioned mothers who were distressed during pregnancy can contribute to the infant’s temperament and it could be possibly worse when the mother has PPD. “Infants of prenatally depressed mothers may be at risk for biological contributions to a difficult temperament. Infants of mothers with postpartum depression may be at risk for inadequate emotional and physical caregiving, again contributing to a difficult infant temperament” (Rode & Kiel, 2016, p.135). Mothers with postpartum depression cannot give emotional and physical caregiving because they are in a state where they are too depressed to feel any emotions and know how to respond to any distress they hear. Temperament and attachment theories both give a different perspective on Child Development and assess the results differently according to the purpose of their theory.

What I learned from postpartum depression and how it affects the newborn is that if the mother is not getting support from her significant and close families, more damage can happen to her mental self and the newborn. I want more new mothers to be aware of the depression that may occur after birth and how to seek help. Also, educate their significant ones on how they can help her if she has postpartum depression. My purpose of this project is to spread awareness and to be aware of the changes that may occur after birth. After my postpartum, I have become more aware of postpartum and the signs to look for. Postpartum depression affects mothers and their newborns if the mother does not get proper help and seek medical help.  

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Essay on Coping with Postpartum Depression. (2024, April 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-coping-with-postpartum-depression/
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Essay on Coping with Postpartum Depression [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Apr 18 [cited 2024 May 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-coping-with-postpartum-depression/
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