I was on my way home from work today and thinking it wasn’t such a bad day…that is, until I stumbled across a post on Facebook. This post made it clear there was yet again an ignorant comment(s) made about perinatal mood disorders. I went to Twitter to see what the ruckus was about. Someone–and I’m not going to say who it is because I feel no need to advertise her blog post and give it any more attention than it may have already gotten–put up a blog post today that poses the question of how it is that moms with postpartum depression (PPD) can use their illness as an excuse, a get-out-of-jail card, for killing their babies……okay, then…right.
[WARNING: I realize that there are moms out there suffering from a postpartum mood disorder that should not be reading articles that will only cause them further distress. So, if you are currently suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, you should probably wait until you are feeling more strong before reading the following post.]
Yep, here we go again. Another case of stigma and ignorance skipping along, hand-in-hand, with the mindset of an innocent child, with limited maturity, experience, and know-how. A case of instinct to judge, label, hate and turn a blind eye. The primitive reflex of wanting to see justice done regardless of what the circumstances truly are. I could picture this blogger (and someone else who posted a comment in her favor)–and just about everyone else who is as ignorant as her and chooses to stay that way–picking up stones and wanting to hurl them at any mom whose circumstances may follow that of an Andrea Yates–who had postpartum psychosis. Remember the recent cases of women getting stoned to death over in the Middle East? How we were all horrified at the injustice of it all. And yet here we are judging and passing on guilty verdicts, regardless of circumstances?
Here’s the comment I posted on the woman’s blog:
Firstly, let me just say that everyone is allowed to wonder things, especially when you don’t have any personal experience with an illness such as postpartum depression–or in the cases you cite (Andrea Yates, Otty Sanchez), postpartum psychosis–AND you’re not a medical/mental health professional. But let’s just get something straight here. There is a HUGE difference between postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis. I blogged about this very thing back in Sept ’10 when certain comments–comments made out of ignorance– rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not through your fault or the public’s fault that there is not a whole lot of knowledge about perinatal mood disorders out there. But it’s the lack of awareness that is causing the general population to have misconceptions, which can be very dangerous. Dangerous in that mothers who suffer from a perinatal mood disorder suffer the consequence (e.g., fear of getting help, fear of being labeled another Andrea Yates when in fact Andrea had postpartum psychosis, far rarer than PPD). And that really pisses me off. These misconceptions cause a vicious cycle of ignorance and incorrect generalizations and assumptions–such as moms deliberately setting out to use PPD (not even the right term illness) to escape punishment for killing their babies. Before you go running around proclaiming that the mother who is devastated by a horrible illness such as postpartum psychosis and in rare instances may kill her baby deserves to be put to death herself, become knowledgeable about postpartum psychosis. So, please read the article by Katherine Stone (that link was provided via a tweet today), and please read this: https://ivysppdblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/postpartum-psychosis-know-the-facts-and-stop-judging-based-on-ignorance/
There is a whole lot more to it than you think.
We need to open our eyes. Really know the facts before we start labeling, judging, and hating.