CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Family members of Miriam Carey, the woman involved in a police chase and fatal shootout in Washington D.C., say she may have been suffering from postpartum depression. The incident is shedding light on an illness that doctors say has been ignored for far too long.
Anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of women experience postpartum depression after birth, according to Deona Bien, Director of Women and Children's Services at Trident Health.
Having a baby can be one of the happiest times in a woman's life. However, when motherhood proves to be harder than expected, many moms start to feel like they are failing at their new role.
From there, the self doubt can only get worse.
"A lot of women after they have a baby want to feel like they're super mom but things just seem to be very much a struggle for them," said Bien.
Bien says most women have mild emotional stress, but for others those feelings can become very serious
Common symptoms include anger, sadness, loss of sleep or appetite and even a decreased interest in their baby. In extreme cases, some moms even have thoughts of harming themselves or their child. These baby blues can be temporary, or last much longer.
"A lot of women also don't realize that postpartum depression can last up to four years," said Bien. "So, if they continue to have babies consecutively, one after another, the symptoms seem to escalate as each pregnancy progresses."
Bien says whether it's something a woman struggles with for weeks, or years, they shouldn't hesitate to talk to their family and friends about how they are feeling.
"I don't think it's talked about enough. I think we can do a lot more to help moms," said Bien.
If you are concerned that you know a mother struggling with baby blues, there are resources to help them overcome it.
A nonprofit group called Postpartum Support Charleston is tackling the issue. They offer support groups and treatment for women suffering from depression after giving birth. Their website is www.ppdsupport.org.