Postpartum depression may drive moms to abandon babies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2010 11:14 AM | Updated as of Sep 22 2010 02:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Mothers should have full family support during pregnancy to avoid postpartum depression, a family expert shared.

Such depression is regarded as one of the reasons why a mother threw her newborn baby in a trash bin on board a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Manila a few weeks ago.

The baby, later named George Francis Dimaano, was found by airport personnel still alive. He is now healthy and is in the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

In an interview on the morning TV show "Umagang Kay Ganda" on ABS-CBN, marriage counselor and parenting expert Maribel Sison Dionisio of the Love Institute shared that women tend to feel depressed during pregnancy.

According to Dionisio, the feeling heightens even after they give birth.

“While they are pregnant, nandun 'yung depression at lalong tumitindi kasi there are hormonal changes talaga kapag nanganganak ang nanay,” she shared.

Dionisio added that depression mixed with psychosis is the root cause why some mothers choose to abandon their children.

The depression is usually brought about by thoughts of an uncertain future, marital problems, early pregnancy, or certain circumstances, such as if the pregnancy was a result of rape. Mothers tend to feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of taking care of the baby and this triggers depression, Dionisio said.

“Kapag depressed ka tapos may isang level pa ng psychosis, talagang hindi mo na matulungan 'yung sarili mo at galit na galit ka. Kung hindi iiwan, matindi 'yung [tendency na] itatapon sa basurahan. Wala na talaga sila sa sarili nila,” Dionisio said.

Family members, especially the husband, should support their wives during this stage. They should show that they also take care of the baby.

Dionisio said it would be helpful if couples could go out on dates so the wife can relax and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

She advised unwed expectant mothers who are not ready for the responsibility of motherhood to go to homes for unwed mothers that provide counseling and assistance instead of throwing their babies away.

“May mga homes for unwed mothers na [pwedeng doon muna] tumira habang buntis. Tapos may counseling dun para may tutulong at hindi ka mag-alaga [ng baby]. And then give the child up for adoption kasi may ilang pamilya diyan na naghahanap din,” Dionisio advised. -- With ABS-CBN News