Thursday, March 6th, 2014
In one of the saddest, most-upsetting news stories ever, a pregnant woman in Daytona, Florida, drove her minivan—filled with her three kids and her unborn child—into the ocean in an attempt to kill them all. Meanwhile her 9 and 10-year-olds were screaming, “Please help us, our mom is trying to kill us!” as they flailed their arms out of one of the rear windows in hopes of saving themselves and their 3-year-old sister.
The woman—identified as 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson—was in town from South Carolina visiting her sister, who called the cops because she feared Ebony might pose a risk to herself and her children. Police stopped her earlier that day, fearing she had depression, but were not able to hold her under Florida law since she was acting normally and they had no proof of mental illness. Just hours later, she drove her minivan into the ocean.
Police officers said she claimed she feared for her safety and that her former husband may harm them, but so far there is no evidence to back up that claim. Once rescuers got the 9 and 10-year-olds out of the van, Ebony walked out of the van, not saying a word about the third child. It was her children, who alerted the bystanders that their 3-year-old sister was still inside the sinking minivan.
Ebony is still in the hospital, pending mental evaluation, while the Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her three children. Officials said the children will be placed with family members after a background check.
While domestic violence may or may not have played a part in this (Ebony was also speaking of Jesus and demons before driving her kids into the Atlantic), depression most likely did. Thirteen percent of pregnant women and new moms suffer from depression, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Women’s Health.
If you have any of the following symptoms while pregnant or postpartum for longer than two weeks, call a doctor: Feeling sad, hopeless and overwhelmed; crying a lot; having no energy or motivation; having trouble focusing; memory problems; feeling worthless or guilty; withdrawing from family and friends; eating or sleeping too much or too little; having headaches, pains or stomach problems that don’t go away.
The hormones brought on with a pregnancy can change your brain’s usual chemistry that can then trigger depression, even if you’ve never experienced it before. If you see these changes in yourself or a loved one while pregnant or postpartum depression after having the baby, seek help. You don’t want this sort of tragedy to happen to you or someone you love.
TELL US: Have you or someone you know experienced depression while pregnant or postpartum depression?
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
If there was a simple blood test that could tell you whether you would have postpartum depression, would you take it? One has been developed and is thought to be five years away from hitting the market.
Eighty percent of new moms are thought to experience what is known as “baby blues,” mood swings, feelings of ambivalence towards motherhood, and bouts of crying for no apparent reason. The main cause is a fluctuation in hormones.
But postpartum depression is a more severe condition, where women perpetually feel sad, anxious, hopeless, guilty and worthless. They’re irritable, can’t sleep or concentrate and have thoughts of death, suicide or harming their baby.
Fourteen percent of women who’ve had children, and those who have been pregnant without having a full-term pregnancy, have postpartum depression (PPD). This accounts for approximately 882,000 women in the U.S.
A team led by Professor Dimitris Grammatopoulos recently published a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, claiming that women are more sensitive to stress hormones during pregnancy because of changes in estrogen levels, and that those with the genetic variations are unable to balance out those levels once they give birth.
By taking a blood sample of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy, researchers believe they can help identify those with genetic variations that are thought to lead to PPD, so they can give moms-to-be a heads up that they should seek support throughout her pregnancy, as well as afterwards, so they have someone to talk about their feelings with, and potentially lessen the effects of the disorder, so they and their babies remain safe and healthy.
I know two women who are the sweetest people in the world and are now loving, devoted moms who’ve experienced PPD. They hated themselves for not feeling a connection to their newborns. Within weeks, they felt they weren’t good enough moms and that they were in some way letting their children down. One in particular, felt her child could never love her because of it, and that thought alone helped her spiral into more of a depression, because the thing she wanted most in the world was to be a good mom.
What a horrible thing to experience when you’ve just had one of the most amazing things happen in your life. You’ve given life to a gorgeous, precious being, and you can’t even enjoy the moment. Just the thought of that makes me sad! But in my friends’ cases they found help, and are now able to talk about it with other moms and pregnant women—making them aware of the signs. I’m so proud of them both!
For more info on PPD, read this and this, and see your doctor. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
TELL US: Are you worried about having Postpartum Depression? Would you take the test to find out if you’d have it?
Image of the depressed womancourtesy of Shutterstock.
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