Urban Moms at Greater Risk for Postpartum Depression, According to New Study

by Katharine Ernst

There’s no doubt that social media and new forms of communication have made a shitload of difference in helping us connect to others. There’s even a whole network of mommy bloggers and other forums dedicated to new mothers, but these connections generally can’t provide the same support as the people who are close to you. A recent study shows that mothers in urban areas—who tend to be further away from their families and face more economic hardships—have a harder time recovering from postpartum depression compared to mothers in rural areas.


It’s easy to drop your kid off at their grandma’s for the weekend, sure. Family does provide a lot of support. But I think that the missed connection that might contribute to a postpartum depression is the loss of nature and the fast-paced environment of a city. As a New York native, I love this city, but sometimes it does drive me insane. I am a firm believer in reconnecting with nature from time to time since it does a lot of good for the mind and body, so in a way, this study didn’t surprise me—until I saw the data.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), showed that “overall, 7.5% of the women who had recently given birth in the weeks prior to the survey developed postpartum depression, but women from urban areas were at a greater risk, with a 10% rate, compared to 6% of women in rural areas.” In a way, it makes sense. Cities tend to be more expensive and having more then one job is not uncommon. These factors act as links to postpartum depression. But then, how does this statistic from the same study fit in: “7% in semi-rural areas and 5% in semi-urban areas…developed the condition”?

So if urban is BAD and rural is GOOD, how is it that mothers in semi-urban areas fare better then women in semi-rural areas? Not to mention, semi-urban and all-out rural mothers apparently only have a 1% deviation. So all in all, it seems like there’s not much difference.


The reasons for developing postpartum depression in urban cities (according to the article) are as follows: more expenses, further away from family, and less space, among being poor, isolated and helpless. Based on these city-living side effects, do wealthy mothers that can afford not to work and as much space as they’d like still suffer from such high levels of postpartum depression? It sounds like #solidarityisforwhitewomen can be applied here to acknowledge the privilege of some urban city dwellers.

To me, this sounds more like a way to pigeonhole urban women who face economic hardships as unfit mothers.  Many women in this category are women of color. It seems to be that this study was totally oversimplified. Plus the tone of the article really felt, to me, like it was pushing traditional gender roles onto women. Being an urban mom isn’t the most traditional way to go, but it’s not necessarily the worst. In any urban or rural area, different women will draw up an affinity to different things and for various reasons. Nothing is black and white and there are always shades of grey. What do you BUSTies think?

Source via Time

Photographs via The Stir

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