Teen mothers are almost twice as likely as adults to experience postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013).
My first ever social work job was working with teen moms. I was a case manager for a program called Second Chance in San Diego, California. I was 22 and more closely aligned with the teens themselves and not so much with the ‘becoming a parent’ side.
Fifteen years later and those girls are still on my mind.
Second Chance had the goal to prevent a second pregnancy in the teenage years by using a wrap-around model of care. We focused on school, nutrition, vaccinations, birth control, and parenting. We never focused on postpartum depression. But many of these girls were depressed.
When I look back on my time with these girls my heart aches. I wish I had then the knowledge of postpartum depression that I have now. I wish that we had a society that would hold and support our young people- even when they have a life experience that we deem “not ideal”.
As a mom myself that had postpartum depression with my first and second babies, I can’t even imagine being a teenager and going through this process. And I am thankful for articles and research like the one listed below that reminds me how vulnerable our most vulnerable populations really are.