Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type



Sociology and Anthropology


Postpartum is the period after a mother has given birth to a baby. During this period many women experience "baby blues", which is a completely normal period of stress, tiredness, and some sadness. Although every woman is different and therefore may experience "baby blues" for a different amount of time, this transient alteration of mood is said to last for a few days or up to two weeks after birth. (Harvey, 1999) Some women, however, experience something much more serious: Postpartum depression. Postpartum depression lasts much longer than the "baby blues" and can be delayed in its occurrence up to 30 weeks after birth. However, just like with the "baby blues" some women experience a different time period of depression. (Stewart et al, 1998) While this depression is treatable, many women do not do anything about it. In this paper I will review symptoms, statistics, possible causes, and treatments of postpartum depression. What I am interested in is this question: Why are so many women who suffer from postpartum depression not seeking help? In answering this question, I will consider socioeconomic status, shame, motivation, time, and denial. Based on the reasons found about why women are not seeking help, I will make some suggestions about what can be done to make this less of a problem.