I came across a post from a writer who was responding to an article entitled Why French Parents Are Superior. I was immediately intrigued. The writer, to me, wrote an eloquent piece arguing that ALL Moms are trying their best to raise their children. No culture or ethnicity makes us superior.
I was curious to see what other readers of her post were saying so I scanned down the page, only to find one comment full of stigma that slapped me square across my cheek:
“I totally agree that (in the absence of mental illness or abuse) parents do what they feel is best for their children, even if it goes against ‘the norm’.”
What in the world did she mean by absence of mental illness? Was she implying that people with mental illnesses aren’t capable of knowing what is best for their children? Was she implying that people with mental illnesses aren’t capable of being good parents? I had so many questions.
I sat there staring at my computer screen with my fingers ready to unleash a fury that was suffocating my chest, and I thought for a long while.
Moms with postpartum depression are no different. Our illness does not, DOES NOT define our parenting. We are no different just like the French moms aren’t any different than Catholic moms and that they aren’t any different than a mom with cancer. The stigma is unfair.
Have you ever heard “Oh that mom has a heart defect. I wonder how good of a parent she is?” You probably haven’t. Actually I can put 20 bucks on it that you haven’t heard that said before. So why are we with a mental illness continuously singled out? What makes us any different? We are moms, spouses, daughters, friends, aunts, etc. that walk around this earth just like anyone else. Only we have a mental illness. Big deal.
It’s important that our society knows that we not our illness nor should we be seen as the stigma that surround them.
Having suffered through postpartum depression I feel that it is my responsibility to say something when a comment is made that further segregates people with mental illness from society. It isn’t fair that people make ignorant assumptions and when they do, I try to do my part in helping to educate and destigmatize mental illness.
So I commented. And she apologized.
When you hear someone make an ignorant comment about mental illness do you say something?
Do you take negative comments as an opportunity to educate people about postpartum mood disorders?
If you have said something, what was the response?