Last week, I discussed the importance of self-care. Postpartum depression affects one in five new mothers, and although rare, postpartum depression can lead to suicide. In fact, in the UK one study found that 28% of maternal deaths one year postpartum were due to suicide, making it the leading cause of maternal death one year postpartum. The statistic that’s generally given is that suicide is the second leading cause of death for mothers one year postpartum in the U.S., but because in the U.S. we don’t track maternal deaths very carefully, we just don’t know. Mothers with a history of mental illness are particularly at risk.
Why are the first 42 days the most important?
This means that self-care isn’t just not selfish, it can be life-saving. One interesting number jumped out at me as I was researching this topic – 42. As in, the first 42 days postpartum are the most important for self-care (and quite honestly, community care) for the mother. [Read more…]