UNH Family Research Laboratory

What is Postpartum Depression?
How Could a Mother Kill her Own Children?

UNH Researcher Available to Talk about Postpartum Depression as Trial of Texas Mom Accused of Killing Her Children Nears

By Erika Mantz
UNH News Bureau

February 4, 2001

The capital murder trial of Andrea Pia Yates, the woman who confessed to drowning her five children in the family bathtub June 20, is expected to begin mid-February. Yates, a former registered nurse, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and an earlier diagnosis of postpartum depression is expected to be argued in her defense.

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a research associate in the University of New Hampshire's Family Reserarch Laboratory, is available to talk about postpartum depression in mothers. She is available for interviews at (603) 428-8215.

Depression is so common in new mothers that the American Psychological Association considers young motherhood a risk factor for depression. Postpartum depression -- which affects one in 10 new moms -- is often underrecognized, undertreated or missed altogether. In her book, "The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Stress, Depression and Burnout," Kendall-Tackett, a health psychologist and postpartum depression expert who works with breastfeeding women, helps mothers explore negative feelings and cope with them.

"Mothering can be one of life's most rewarding experiences, but it can also be one of the most challenging," says Kendall-Tackett, a mother of two herself. "Many mothers are tired, stressed out and angry. They feel frustrated, guilty or overwhelmed. Mothers describe feeling always on call, that they never have any downtime, that everyone depends on them. They feel stuck. Given these challenges, it should not surprise us when mothers are sometimes harsh or abusive with their children. What should surprise us is the fact that most mothers are not."

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