It's no secret that mental health is undoubtedly the most overlooked thing in our everyday lives when it should actually be in the forefront. For so long, women have been trained to push through things like postpartum depression and are finally being told to talk about. Whenever any type of mental illness goes untreated, there is a ripple effect that we're just learning about through so many different studies of different ways it not only impacts us in the long run but our children and families, too.
The latest Australian study outlines that there might be a correlation between postpartum depression and the diagnoses of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as well as ADD in children as they get a little it older.
First things first though: ADHD is very common. So common that according to the CDC, there are 11 percent of children in the United States diagnosed with it. In fact, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. Worldwide, according to a meta-analysis published in Pediatrics, it affects just over seven percent of children.
Within this most recent study, researchers found that there is evidence showing an indirect pathway between something they are calling "parenting hostility," or when the parent is excessively controlling or rigidly enforcing rules. This is often displayed by moms experiencing postpartum. The outcome is ADHD being diagnosed in children during the 8-year-old and 9-year-old age range. The data for the study was pulled from Longitudinal Study of Australian Children where they looked at information from two different age ranged of children, wave one (child age 3-12 months) and wave two (child age 8-9 years) were included.
At this point, the findings are still very correlative, meaning that a lot more research needs to be done before any major conclusion are formed. But one thing is for sure, this research highlights the importance of paying more attention to the mother's mental health after having kids. The Australian researchers noted that by having more early detection and treatment, it can prevent mothers from developing hostile parenting practices to begin with.
The big message though is that mothers shouldn't ever blame themselves if their child does develop ADHD down the road. Getting help for mental health issues can be a challenge and something that our society still needs to overcome. Emma Sciberras, the study's author shared with HuffPost Canada that, "We suspect that children's challenging behavior early in life may be connected to mother's postnatal mental health."