The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act has been reintroduced in both the House (H.R. 20) and the Senate (S. 324) for this year’s Congressional session. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it’s unfathomable how anyone would want to prevent a bill from happening that would help mothers. You would be suprised to see people out there voicing their thumbs down on it because they are convinced that the bill is merely a government plot to overmedicate society. These people are so narrow-minded that they can’t see how the bill would benefit new mothers.
This legislation has been eight years in the making. Ignorance about PPD due in part to the stigma surrounding mood disorders–and resulting silent suffering of those experiencing these disorders–has repeatedly blocked this legislation from passing. The stigma associated with PPD–and with depression in general–must stop and the only way that can happen is by making public awareness of the illness–in addition to research, support services and screening– a national priority. Each of us should do our part, as citizens of this country, to effect positive change and bring our views and treatment of mothers from out of the Dark Age and into the 21st century.
Thanks to last year’s online petition in support of the MOTHERS Act made possible by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Congress very quickly received over 24,000 signatures supporting this legislation. As of March 9, 2009, the DBSA, in partnership with Postpartum Support International, is once again making the online petition available to the public.
If the MOTHERS Act was very close to passage last year, then let’s make sure we help push it through this year! Don’t sit there and think that your signature is only one signature and it doesn’t matter. It DOES matter. Everyone’s signature counts! Just think, you could be responsible for helping important legislation pass that would make a huge difference for many, many women who may at one point suffer from the leading complication of childbirth. A friend, relative, colleague or neighbor may one day suffer, or at this moment could be suffering, from PPD and you may never even know it because she doesn’t know what is wrong with her and is ashamed to let anyone know that she needs support and rest, and is feeling anxious and unable to enjoy her baby as she’d dreamed she would. No woman is completely immune from PPD after having a baby. With the right combination of risk factors and stressors, any woman–even you–could end up suffering from it.
To sign this online petition, click on this link http://capwiz.com/ndmda/issues/alert/?alertid=12832296, scroll down and enter your zip code in the bottom right of the screen to automatically generate emails (or letters) of support for the MOTHERS Act to your Congressman, Senators and committee chairs. It only takes a few seconds of your time, but it will be so well worth it!
For more information on this petition, please visit Susan Dowd Stone’s blog: http://perinatalpro.com/blog/?p=148