Is postpartum depression a disability?

is postpartum depression a disability

There is not much understanding of postpartum depression among people. Let us look at the answer to the question ‘Is postpartum depression a disability?’ in this article.

I felt very confused when I felt a tinge of sadness after my first daughter was born. Even though I was happy to hold my daughter and take care of her, I also felt sad. When I talked to my gynecologist about it, I got to know about postpartum blues and postpartum depression. I had postpartum blues and the feeling of sadness went away after a few days. But a lot of women I know suffer from postpartum depression, which is severe compared to postpartum blues. When I looked up ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ I did not get any answers. So I did my research and decided to write an article on the same.

If you are not suffering from postpartum depression but want to help your friend/ spouse who is suffering from it, keep doing the good work. Check out our article on how to help a friend with postpartum depression to help them better.

Understanding postpartum depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that affects mothers who have gone through delivery. She will experience intense emotional changes and mood shifts during this period. The changes in the body and mind might lead to postpartum depression. Almost 15% of mothers are affected by postpartum depression. Studies show that 1 in 7 mothers are suffering from postpartum depression. A lot of women are silently suffering from postpartum depression as there is not much awareness about it in our society.

Postpartum depression might start right after childbirth and last up to a year. If it is not treated, it might lead to postpartum psychosis which might last for years and is severe compared to PPD. That is why it is important to spot the symptoms early on so that PPD could be treated faster. The following are the common symptoms of postpartum depression – irritability, anxiety, fatigue, alternating highs and lows, and frequent crying. The mothers might also experience feelings of guilt for not being able to care for their baby and themselves. Postpartum depression can be cured by psychotherapy and antidepressants.

One of the reasons why postpartum depression occurs is the inability to cope with the changes in our bodies. Check out our article on postpartum belts and see if they would help with your body image issues.

Is postpartum depression a disability?

Now that we have looked at what postpartum depression is, let us move to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ The answer to the question is not that simple, particularly in the Indian context. There aren’t any specific mentions of postpartum depression in the Rights of Persons with Disability Act (2016). But it is possible for you to get a disability certificate for postpartum depression, given that your psychologist has a proper understanding of disability rights.

How to help a friend with postpartum depression

My answer to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ is yes and I wish others, particularly the law and society thought of it like that. I’ll give you the reasons why my answer is yes.

Hinders day-to-day life

The first reason why I answer yes to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ is that it affects the day-to-day activity of mothers. In some women, it leads to them not being able to do their basic hygiene tasks like taking a shower and using the washroom, and such as they find it difficult to even leave the bed. The common understanding of a disability, particularly that which is concerned with mental health is that it disables you from doing basic tasks. Thus, I’d say that postpartum depression is a disability.

DSM- V

The next reason why I’d say yes to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ is that it falls under the category of depression in the diagnostic manual (DSM – 5) that psychiatrists use to diagnose a mental illness. The Rights of Persons with Disability Act considers depression as a disability. Thus, in that way you can say that postpartum depression is also a disability.

American Social Security

The third reason is that in America, PPD is directly eligible for social security as they consider it a disability. Even though India doesn’t recognize PPD for social security directly, you can apply for it under depression. Thus, it could be noted that the system recognizes postpartum depression as a disability. Thereby, I’d say that the answer to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’ is yes.

It should be noted that there are varying degrees of PPD and not all would be considered a disability as the Rights of Persons with Disability Act has set certain benchmarks to obtain a disability certificate for depression. Nonetheless, talk to your psychologist and psychiatrist about it as they would know better.

What to do after getting a diagnosis of Postpartum depression?

Now that we have looked at the answer to the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’, let us move on to the next step. If you are diagnosed with postpartum depression or if you feel like you have postpartum depression there are a few things that you should have in mind. I have listed five such things below.

  • The first is to break free of the feelings of shame that are associated with postpartum depression and the idea of disability. Only when you break the stigmas around it will you be able to battle it.
  • The next step is to find a mental health professional who understands you. There is not much knowledge of PPD among some psychologists and psychiatrists. So make sure to find a good one.
  • Once you find a doctor, apply for insurance coverage for the treatment. Most insurance providers cover mental health-related medications and treatments.
  • The next step is that if you are a working woman or a homemaker make sure that you get lots of rest. Our body needs rest, particularly when we are going through postpartum depression.
  • The last step is to understand that postpartum depression is not a flaw and a permanent disability but it is something that can be completely cured.

If you are struggling with breastfeeding your little one, try switching to formula milk. Your friends/ family can feed your baby when you are not feeling up for it. Check out our article on the best formula milk for babies to choose one for your little angel.

Wrap up

I hope that the article has helped you with the question ‘is postpartum depression a disability?’. Please don’t get disheartened when you get diagnosed with postpartum depression. A lot of mothers have suffered and still suffering silently. It is high time we break free of the stigmas associated with postpartum depression and help other mothers as well in this process. Stay strong momma, you have got this!

Children need emotional support when we as mothers are experiencing difficulties in our life. Check out our article on music therapy for children to see if that is something that would benefit your little ones.

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