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Postpartum Depression: Is It More Common In Older Moms?

June 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 191

With my first child arriving in my mid forties, I should have been prepared for postpartum depression (or PPD). But in spite of having almost every risk factor on the books, I was never told it could happen to me.

Almost as soon as I brought my baby home I spiraled into a deep depression and experienced thoughts that made me question whether I was meant to be a mom.

So instead of enjoying all the precious moments and milestones of my baby's first year I struggled just to survive and cope. And although I came through it alright, it's an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.

From my research on the subject of postpartum depression, I've compiled an extensive list of risk factors that older mothers-to-be can look out for. They are:

1. A prior history of depression and/or previous episode of PPD 2. Family history of PPD 3. Personal history of abuse or neglect4. Low confidence in one's ability to parent 5. Weak social support, including problems with spouse or significant other or parenting alone 6. Lack of financial resources 7. Sleep deprivation and/or poor quality sleep 8. Poor nutrition or depletion of nutrients during pregnancy 9. Pregnancy was unplanned and/or unwanted 10.Unrealistic expectations ("supermom" syndrome) 11. Hormonal factors (PMS, thyroid in balance, etc). 12. Stressful events during pregnancy (job loss, health issues, pregnancy complications, etc) and/or a difficult labor and delivery.

Did I say I had all the risk factors? Let's see...

1. Prior History: I practically grew up depressed but had learned to manage it with a life-long, daily dose of a mild antidepressant.

2. Family History: OK, this one I'm not sure about. But if your mother had PPD, it's more likely that you will.

3. Childhood Trauma: My own childhood was traumatic, so I had some built-in stress.

4. Low Confidence: I had no idea what to do with a baby and little confidence that I'd figure it out.

5. Little Support: I had lots of single friends or friends with grown children, but had no one in my social circle with a newborn or small children. My parents lived far away and were too old to help.

6. Poor Finances: My finances weren't managed well, and we certainly hadn't planned for kids.

7. Sleep Deprivation: My sleep habits had always been poor and now I seemed like I got no sleep at all.

8. Poor Nutrition: During the final trimester of pregnancy, I had to stop eating by 2pm due to reflux when I lay down to got to sleep. Then, with my newborn, it seemed as though every time I lifted a fork to my mouth, he'd cry for help. I felt I couldn't ignore him, but I wasn't getting a chance to eat!

9. Unexpected Arrival: We had no idea that pregnancy was possible! At 43 I was told that I probably had no viable eggs. So who would have thought I'd be pregnant at 45?

10. Unrealistic Expectations: My personality set me up for disappointment. I wanted to do everything the best I could, but I was in no condition to be a supermom.

11. Raging (Or Aging?) Hormones: I was experiencing postpartum hormonal changes, trying to boost my milk production, and going through the early stages of menopause all at the same time!

12. Stress During Pregnancy: My husband thought that with a baby coming, there was no time like the present to put the house on the market and go for his dream job. Nothing could have been more stressful. Finally, I talked him out of it. Then, I had a painful (in spite of the epidural) and prolonged labor. Eighteen hours of hard contractions were followed by an emergency C-section.

Knowing what to expect would have allowed me to line up more resources before my baby was born. I could have had a therapist ready and waiting, could have joined a group for older expectant moms or at least found an online forum for support. I could have learned that it's OK to let your baby cry for a few minutes while you finish your lunch! And so much more.

While I hope the majority of older moms preparing for a newborn don't have quite as many risk factors as I did, they should certainly be prepared for the possibility of postpartum depression.

Copyright 2012, Carolyn Schweitzer. After 20 years as a family dentist, Carolyn decided to take some time to regroup. Little did she know that she'd soon find herself pregnant at 45! Becoming a first time mom at 46 has changed her life in so many ways that she decided to share her journey. Visit Crossing New Horizons to learn more about her experience with postpartum depression.

Source: EzineArticles
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Postpartum Depression


Pregnant At 45


Older Mothers


Mothers Over 40


Pregnancy After 40

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