Lesson 6 of 7  - learn to parent effectively

Kids' docs urged to screen
new moms for depression

By Lindsey Tanner,
 AP Medical Writer
Yahoo News, Oct 25, 2010

The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/gwc/news/moms.htm

Updated  04/24/2015

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      This news article adds credence to the idea that emotionally-burdened mothers can hinder young-children's development. See my comments after the article - P. K. Gerlach, MSW 

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CHICAGO An influential medical group says pediatricians should routinely screen new mothers for depression. Depression isn't just bad for moms: It can also harm their babies.

That's according to a new American Academy of Pediatrics report published Monday in the journal, Pediatrics. It cites research showing developmental and social delays in babies with depressed mothers.

The academy says that every year more than 400,000 babies are born to depressed women. Estimates say that between 5 percent and 25 percent of women develop postpartum depression.

The pediatrics academy says severely depressed women should be referred to experts for treatment.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists earlier this year recommended similar screening.

Online: American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org


      This brief research digest is notable for several things:

  • It suggests that for thousands of (average?) new mothers, their emotional state can have a significant negative effect (developmental delay) on their young children.

  • The proposal to screen new Mom's implies that (a) average moms may not recognize or get help for depression on their own, and (b) that doctors are supposed to know how to "screen" moms for depression, and who to refer them to;

  • The author does not define "depression," or refer readers to an accurate definition. The authors of the AAP study may have defined it.

  • This summary does not say whether the researchers evaluated whether "depressed" new mothers were psychologically-wounded survivors of early-childhood trauma (Grown Wounded Children - GWCs). My research on the [wounds + unawareness] cycle since 1986 suggests this is likely. If true, the post-partum "depression" is a symptom of the underlying wounds. If not identified and healed, these wounds are apt to pass on to the children - specially if the father is an unaware GWC too.

  • Like most lay and professional media reports about depression, there is no suggestion that it is really incomplete grief promoted by significant losses  (broken bonds) and underlying psychological wounds. That promotes misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, and family dysfunction.

  • The AAP research apparently views maternal "depression" as an individual problem, not a symptom of family dysfunction. This increases the odds that any therapeutic treatment of such mothers will miss the primary problem/s. This report doesn't say whether the AAP suggests doctors' referrals should be to a family therapist.

      These combined factors suggest that the Yahoo News - and perhaps the AP and AAP - editors are unintentionally promoting (widespread) public ignorance about psychological wounds, depression, incomplete grief, and family dysfunction, and the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle.

       Also see these related research summaries and this brief YouTube video on depression.  - P. K. Gerlach, MSW

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