Postpartum Psychosis is a serious mental condition that was first recognized in 1850. According to statistical surveys, the rate of postpartum psychosis has not changed since the 1800s. While about ten percent of women are likely to develop postpartum depression, one or two in a thousand women are likely to develop postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is a very serious disorder that should be attended to as soon as it is noted and in come cases it may require that the individual is hospitalized. In United States, it has been found that between 4,100 and 8,200 women experience postpartum psychosis every year.
Putting into consideration the rate of suicide as well as infanticide, it is estimated that more than 300 infants are at risk of being killed by their mothers and more than 400 women are likely to commit suicide because of the disorder per year in the United States only (Sadock, Kaplan, & Sadock, 2007). The risks are associated with the mental state of the mother after childbirth which most studies have found to be caused by depression, stress and anxiety hence rarely results from premeditated or willful acts. Postpartum Psychosis
The high rate of death as a result of postpartum psychosis is a cause of great concern with the need to find out the reason why women kill their children after delivery. There is need that adequate research is undertaken so as to determine the main reason why women decide to commit suicide or kill their infants. Evidence suggests that when women give birth, the level of estrogen in the body drops and more so, the sleep of the mother is disrupted after birth. Several studies have concluded that postpartum psychosis is related to bipolar spectrum because of the dramatic mood swings that women display when experiencing postpartum psychosis.
However, the cause of the disorder is still a matter that is subject to debate and further research ase on the one hand it is associated with mental illness while on the other, it is associated with willingness and premeditated actions (Levy, n. d). There are several reported cases of mental illness risk after child birth and there are varied psychological disorders that have been associated with childbirth. Mental illness during the postpartum time can be categorized into three groups’ i. e. postpartum depression, postpartum blues and postpartum psychosis.
Post partum blues is the most common condition that causes the new mother to be irritable, anxious, confused and labiality of mood. Conversely, this type of disorder does not affect a woman’s actions as such because it is not a prolonged condition hence is not a likely cause of murder of infants. Postpartum depression on the other hand is a similar mental condition that accrues after childbirth but affects fewer women compared to women affected by postpartum blues and only few cases of such mothers killing their infants have been reported.
The condition often lasts for only a few weeks after childbirth and can be addressed before it leads to murder. Postpartum psychosis is a rare but the most severe mental illness affecting women after child birth. The psychological disorder causes a dysfunction to the mental functioning of the mother to an extent that the mother may require hospitalization. It is a disorder that is closely associated with childbirth and begins a few weeks after child delivery.
For that reason, it is not premeditation or willfulness that triggers women with postpartum psychosis to kill their infants but rather it is their mental state whereby most of them have been reported to experience mental disturbance due to the disorder (Dobson & Sales, 2000). Postpartum psychosis is an illness that is primarily observed after an asymptomatic period of between two and three days and quite often it occurs during the first three weeks after the woman has given birth.
Basing on its definition, experts have noted that the disease does not begin later than six weeks after the occurrence of post partum. The common indication of postpartum psychosis include depression, sleep disturbances, fatigue, restlessness, headaches, irritability and emotional liability. By and large, it is the difficulty in coping with the infant that causes the woman to suffer from the disorder. The difficulty in coping with the new role of a mother then causes depression and postpartum psychosis disorder and eventually murder of the infant (Levy, n. d).