I had my annual gyno exam the other day, and like previous years, I checked to see whether there were any pamphlets on postpartum depression (PPD) available to patients or a poster on PPD hanging anywhere in the waiting room or each of the patient rooms. What did my search come up with? Nothing. Nada. Not a single pamphlet or poster. I was extremely disappointed. In previous years, there was at least the “Speak Up When You’re Down” poster hanging in the general waiting room, but not this time. Not sure what happened to the old poster. Obviously, someone took it down….not sure why, it’s not like a hanging poster would get frayed or anything….and didn’t bother to hang another one up in its place.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again a million times. All it takes for more awareness is for information to be made available. If a doctor doesn’t do his (or her) duty to inform an expectant mother about PPD–including its symptoms and its risk factors– by verbally spending a few minutes in an antenatal appointment going over them, the least he (or she) can do is provide pamphlets and hang a poster in each of his waiting and patient rooms. I’ve also mentioned previously that–and this is from personal experience–a pamphlet is just a piece of paper that can easily be discarded especially if you don’t realize the significance of the information that is printed on it. A pamphlet needs to be accompanied by a doctor’s emphasizing that this information is important and why. Otherwise, that piece of paper is as good as garbage. If my doctor had given me the pamphlet at a prenatal checkup without an explanation, I would’ve just tossed it away, thinking something like PPD could never happen to me.
Well, you don’t need to be an OB/GYN to read this post and do something. You can be a patient that wants to be empowered with knowledge that can make a difference in her pregnancy and postpartum experience. You can be a patient that asks the OB/GYN for information, and if that doctor doesn’t know much about PPD, you just might want to consider finding one that does. You can ask your OB/GYN why he (or she) doesn’t have any pamphlets available to patients or posters hanging on his walls. You can tell him (or her) how to get free posters. Or you can be like me and look into ordering free posters to hang up in your OB/GYN’s office. I am going to order a Postpartum Support International (PSI) poster for my OB/GYN’s office.
Click here to find out how to order free PSI posters.