Post Partum Depression In "The Yellow Wallpaper"

2223 words - 9 pages

The Negative Effects of Post-partum Depression Due to Detrimental Oppression of WomenThe biggest cause in escalating post-partum depression in both the 19th century and today is the oppression of women in our society. Even though the oppression of women is not as prominent today as it was during the Victorian era, it is still present. Generally, the fear of embarrassment hinders women from admitting their illness. Often times, because women are so ashamed of post-partum depression, it will go untreated and their mental health will spiral downward, causing them to hallucinate or commit wrongful acts against their children. In "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte P. Gilman, due to the misunderstanding and ineffective treatments of postpartum depression, at the time, the narrator's mental health diminishes dramatically. Similarly, in our society today, there are many cases where women repress their illness and eventually the depression becomes too great, triggering the new mothers to commit tragic acts against their children. To interpret post partum depression, one must penetrate the mind to better understand the women who suffer from this illness.Pregnancy entails the joys of carrying a healthy baby establishing a bond so strong and overwhelming between a mother and her child. The support from a well built system of family and friends, a wonderful husband, a perfect pregnancy, a perfect delivery, a perfect baby, in short, life would be perfect. All of a sudden, the mother's life takes a wild turn; weight gain and mood swings plague her. Nervousness and worries begin to flood her mind. Through the delivery, exhaustion, pain, and worthlessness all are experienced. Now, the previous conception of an ideal birth seems nearly impossible and unthinkable. The mother feels incompetent and lost; feeling unprepared for motherhood and unable to cease her baby's crying or take care of the child on her own. She suffers from feelings of emptiness and loneliness because she is now disconnected from her baby while her husband spends most of his time caring for the newborn child. Various other worries go through the mother's mind such as the baby's health, her job status, and her financial issues. She is unable to see friends or relax; contributing to this crucial time in her life. The mother begins to experience insomnia and anxiety, crying for no apparent reason or becoming irritable and moody extremely quick. She loses her appetite and has difficulty concentrating, losing interest in activities she once enjoyed. All of these changes that a mother's mind and body undergo at this time are unnatural and are diagnosed as the illness of post-partum depression.The 19th century post-partum depression treatment of isolation is a repressive factor for the illness. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator believes that she is misdiagnosed and does not feel that isolation would cure her disorder. She states, "John is a physician and perhaps - (I would not say it to a living...

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