Many women think that if they struggle with depression or anxiety during pregnancy it will all go away when the baby is born. Recent studies tell us this just isn’t true.
I was quite taken aback by the recent death of Kate Spade, fashion icon, by suicide. Much has been written about her death, but what struck me is how long she suffered from depression. And it saddens me to think that any woman should suffer across her life with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.
Prenatal depression and anxiety can last
What many people don’t realize is that some women’s struggles started during pregnancy. Yes – prenatal depression and anxiety can continue – for years. In fact, for over 20 years based on recent research of over 3,000 Australian women.
And the numbers aren’t small. For every five women who struggle with anxiety or depression, one will continue to have symptoms across her life.
Could this be you?
4 Ways to Know If You Are at Risk for Lifelong Depression or Anxiety
Here are 4 things that women who suffer from depression long after their pregnancy have in common:
- They have a lot of conflict with their partner. For example, they may argue more about finances, or
- They tend to have both depression and anxiety, or
- They have a lot of stress in their lives. For example, they may have just moved, changed jobs, or had struggles in a significant relationship, or
- They don’t have enough support to help them get through their day-to-day lives. For example, their partner works long hours and may not available to provide much emotional support.
Let me ask again: Could this be you?
You can protect your emotional health over the long-run. Download our checklist to clearly tell the difference between whether you have ‘just the blues’ or if there is something more.
Kingsbury AM, Hayatbakhsh R, Mamun AM, Clavarino AM, Williams G, Najman JM. (2015). Trajectories and predictors of women’s depression following the birth of an infant to 21 years: A longitudinal study. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(4): 877-88
Related article: What Was the Warning Sign of Postpartum Depression Chrissy Teigen Missed?