It’s About Helping Mothers, Pure and Simple

Check this blog post that is questioning, once again, the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.  And this is coming from a well-established blogger who has won awards for his reporting on mental illness, has been voted as a top ten mental health blogger, and has a large following in the mental health arena.   Frightening, very frightening……

His last paragraph irked me so much that it had me red in the face and shaking with anger, so much that I submitted the following comment addressed to him and doubters of the bill:

“I’m baffled why you would make the statement you make in your last paragraph, which gives the impression that you know very little about PPD.  Here are my 2 cents and food for thought for you and your blog followers:  

Unless you’ve been through it yourself, you can’t possibly know what having PPD is like (scratch your head all you want).  One of the best things about this country is that we are all, each one of us, allowed to think whatever we want.  However, don’t do so in ignorance.  READ THE BILL before anyone should spout their anti pharma claims.  Nowhere in the bill does it say all mothers will be drugged.  Nowhere in the bill does it say that all mothers must be put through screening.  Part of the issue today surrounding perinatal mood disorders is the lack of research, education and public awareness on these very serious AND VERY REAL illnesses.  That includes adequate training of medical health care providers on the proper diagnosis and offering the correct treatment options (and patients being properly informed so the decision THAT’S RIGHT FOR THEM can be made).  Without the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mothers Act, how many more centuries are we going to remain ignorant about perinatal mood disorders with mothers paying the price?!   There has been more progress made in the past 8 years than from the first documented cases in the days of Hippocrates until the turn of the century–thanks to Brooke’s book, Tom’s rantings, passing of the NJ postpartum depression law in 2006 and last but certainly not least media focus on the Andrea Yates case (that’s unfortunately one of many cases of a doctor prescribing an antidepressant without a mood stabilizer for postpartum psychosis, which can lead to disastrous consequences…this is what I’ve read in many books written by subject matter experts).”

I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to sing the same song over and over again.  I’m never going to change my tune, though.  This is where I stand…moms out there currently suffering from PPD or PPD survivors, please join me!  If you are irked by his post–be prepared, though, for the comment thread, as it’s frightening to see the comments from the anti-pharma extremists–definitely speak your mind and submit your own comments!  If you are currently suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, don’t let those anti-pharma comments scare you away from any protocol you may currently be following.  Remember, how you want to be treated–whether it be through medication, therapy or a combination of the two– and how quickly you want to be well again is YOUR decision to make in consultation with your medical/mental healthcare professional.

What I’ve quickly realized in reading some of these disturbing forums, is that there is unfortunately no convincing people who are set in their hatred of anything that has a hint to do with medications.   It’s astonishing to realize how Tom Cruise’s rantings back in 2005 truly pale in comparison to some of these people’s words of pure hatred.  They see the words MOTHERS ACT and they think MEDS, and only MEDS.  C’mon!  That’s ridiculous.

People are losing site of what the bill is truly about.  These anti-pharma people have their own agenda and it’s not really about helping mothers survive postpartum mood disorders.  They are so blinded by hatred of medications that they cannot even see what the bill is truly saying.   Some comments are from people–men AND women–who’ve never had a baby and/or suffered from a postpartum mood disorder and have no concept of what it’s like to suffer, and be so completely in the dark while doing so, from one.   These people should have no business booing the bill whatsoever!  Take your anti-pharma agendas elsewhere because– and I’m going to say it one last time–THIS IS NOT ABOUT MEDS, IT’S ABOUT HELPING MOTHERS THROUGH EDUCATION, PUBLIC AWARENESS & RESEARCH!!!

With public awareness, the public will hopefully one day understand the scope of this illness–how common it really is and what it can do to a new mom–and the hope is that there will be more women-centered health initiatives, including postpartum centers, that focus on the needs of mothers and ensuring there is adequate social/practical support in the first 1-3 months after childbirth (that’s when most women are the most vulnerable to postpartum mood disorders).  Establishing a support network before you have your baby should be up there in priority with picking out the baby’s names, buying baby products and preparing the baby’s room.  Hiring that doula and/or housekeeper just for those weeks, if you can afford to do so.  If you can’t afford to hire help, gather your family members, friends and others in the community to help you.  Refer to previous post on social support.

It’s about helping mothers, pure and simple.

6 thoughts on “It’s About Helping Mothers, Pure and Simple

  1. Ivy,

    Thanks for your great comments over on Furious Seasons. I had a few comments there, too. Plus, I made my own post elsewhere and got a fairly nasty response from someone who’d been on the other blog. Swearing and carrying on. Not very conducive to conversation or sharing of thoughts.

    I would sure love to guarantee that nobody would unfairly benefit from this, but there is no way to secure that. Medication is a reality as a choice. Would love to see solid research to find well-supportive EFFECTIVE options that did not include medication just so women had a wide range of viable options and clear information.

    I think it’s just the infancy of the study of pregnancy related depression that is trapping us in this little corner. Meds are often effective, so is counseling. Everything else is still being looked into and mostly anecdotal. So the meds often get a bad rap.

    So that’s why more research (as in this bill) would help a lot. I could be wrong because I don’t have stats to back this up, but I think there is a greater overall danger of leaving a lot of women undiagnosed rather than millions of women being wrongly diagnosed and given meds just because they were screened. I dealt with this for 3 1/2 yrs with no screening and nobody asking. I came to the doctor myself once I put the pieces together. That’s left me with “leftovers” of depression I will always have to watch for because it went on for so long.

    And also, I’d like to give credit to many women and moms for not being drones that would unquestioningly do whatever a doctor said without any research or self-assessment or second opinion. And for many doctors (not all but many) who would at least think twice before prescribing a pregnant or nursing mom medication of ANY kind for ANY reason that it be for a good reason.

    Not all docs are conscientious that way, but many are. And if a woman refused meds for a while so she could decide for herself, that nobody’s going to forcibly shove pills down her throat.

    Again, thanks for your thoughtful informative comments and I’m glad to have visited your blog.


    • Erica,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and posting your comments. I saw your comments over there and agree with what you said, as I agree with what you say here. The only way mothers can know to even question what a doctor tells them is to be educated BEFORE they get pregnant. That would require general public awareness about perinatal mood disorders, period. How are we going to advance from where we are today without a federal mandate?

      I can’t understand how anyone could be nasty like that to you. I see no difference between your response and mine, except for the fact that yours was better written. Some people definitely have (anger) issues and shouldn’t be taking it out on others. We’re not attacking anyone, but yet we’re being attacked for saying what we believe. Lovely society we live in, isn’t it?


  2. I just wanted to thank you and Katherine both for your comments there. His last paragraph and then his dismissive responses make it pretty clear that he’s not really interested in learning about this issue. I mean, demanding Katherine bring him more evidence? There is this thing called Teh Google that anyone can use if one is so curious.

    That said, I think there are some valid criticisms of the bill, and I would dearly love to see an intelligent discussion among, you know, people who have actually read it and know something about women’s health care services.


  3. Pingback: More Ignorance, More Frustration…Bottom Line, Read the Bill!

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