Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) held a press conference today, Monday, May 10th at the Women’s Club of Ridgewood in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The Senator stood with advocates Brooke Shields, Mary Jo Codey, Susan Stone and Sylvia Lasalandra to celebrate passage of the MOTHERS Act as part of Health Insurance Reform. Passage of the MOTHERS Act will ensure establishment of public awareness campaigns and additional research and support services so desperately needed for moms who will at some point suffer from the debilitating and unnecessary suffering caused by postpartum depression (PPD).
All PPD advocates and many, many survivors are thrilled about the passage of this legislation that will make a HUGE difference for new moms who will at some point–with an occurrence rate of 1 out of 8 (or 15%) of all new moms–suffer from postpartum depression. This is so long overdue, and it it weren’t for Senator Menendez’ persistence in supporting this legislation all these years, this wouldn’t be possible….at least not for a very, very long time. I wish this had passed before my own scary experience with PPD. Perhaps I wouldn’t have suffered the way I did. Only those who have suffered from PPD firsthand and/or those who have seen others they love suffer from PPD can truly appreciate why this is considered such a crucial development on the part of mothers. With a national awareness campaign, hopefully there will be much less suffering, less incorrect diagnoses, less brushing off by doctors (and other well-meaning, but ignorant individuals) that “Oh, this is just the blues…all mothers experience some amount of emotional ups & downs after childbirth, anxiety and sleep deprivation.” From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Senator Menendez! This is truly a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!
Okay, here’s where I digress, and I apologize…but I have to get this off my chest. If you don’t want to be bothered with my complaining, feel free to skip!
Today, I learned a valuable experience. Stay focused. Be proactive. Don’t just sit back and expect things to happen on their own. As with life in general, if you do that, you’ll get nowhere fast. You’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with the press conference. Well, I’ve been annoyed the majority of the day over my experience there. You see, the invite to attend this press conference was extended to me, and I was encouraged by a couple of individuals to bring my daughter along because they were planning for moms and their children to join Senator Menendez and advocates on stage. I took my daughter out of school for this and had to pick up my mother on the way, just in case I needed her to help me watch/distract my daughter. We were one of the first ones to arrive. After the Senator arrived, things happened really fast. No one came up to me to make sure I got rounded up with the other moms. All of a sudden, all the other moms were all up on the stage and the Senator was speaking. It was too late for me to join the group on stage. On top of everything, I tried to speak to members of the press (I thought that had been pre-arranged too) but they only wanted Bergen folks or told me they already had their quota. I don’t want to overthink things, but let me put it this way….if you were one of only 2 mothers in the audience with their child with them who wasn’t on the stage and a photographer goes up to the other mother (who was across the aisle from me) and asks her for her name but completely ignores me….wouldn’t it be normal to wonder “Hey, am I invisible here? Am I chopped liver?” Gee whiz. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s like one, two, three strikes I’mmmmm out. This whole experience annoyed me to no end, which is unfortunate because I went there to celebrate. I hate to say it but I really felt excluded….but what else is new? I brought my daughter there for a reason–and mind you, it’s NOT easy keeping an antsy 5 year old from jumping up and around, squirming and complaining to leave from the moment the press conference began–and it all turned out to be for naught. Arggggghhhhhh!!!!!!
So, I learned a valuable lesson today from my experience at this press conference. I am relatively new at all this, so there is much to be learned. And I always appreciate learning experiences. If I ever get invited to one of these things again, I definitely need to be even more alert and organized!
Brooke Shields slipped out the side door immediately after the conclusion of the press conference, so no one had the opportunity to speak with her. Shucks! I did manage, however, to get some photos with former NJ Governer (2004-2006) and Senate President Richard Codey (2002-2010), the lovely and inspiring Susan Dowd Stone, and Senator Menendez.
Blogging is to help get my thoughts/emotions out, and is therapeutic…….I feel a little weight shift off my shoulders already! Whew! I’m also, as always, sharing my experiences with you and why I, along with my fellow PPD advocates, am so excited. And as well we should be!!! 🙂
Me, Richard Codey
My daughter, Me, Susan Stone
Me, Senator Menendez