What is an e patient? According to Wikipedia, it’s a person who uses the Internet to gather information about a medical condition of particular interest to her, and who uses electronic communication tools (like the internet and social media) to cope with medical conditions. YOU are an e patient already, because you’re here, right now, reading Postpartum Progress. You might even talk to me on Twitter. Or be part of our Facebook page. You’re using the internet as a part of a larger set of tools to try and get better from postpartum depression or anxiety, or depression during pregnancy, or postpartum psychosis or another related illness. Smart girl!!
What else is an e patient? Someone who participates fully in her medical care and who sees herself as equal partners with her doctors in the healthcare process. I believe in the power of survivors of PPD and related illnesses. If I didn’t I never would have started Postpartum Progress. I mean, what business did I have right?! I’m not a psychologist, or psychiatrist or social worker. I’m not an OB or a pediatrician. I’m not a nurse. I have no medical training whatsoever. I have a journalism degree! What gave me the right to carve out a part of this space to try and help my fellow mamas?
What gave me the right is my experience and my passion. I know what it is like to go through a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, and I know how many problems there are for those of you who seek help, and for the many women who don’t even know they need to seek help. You know, too. Together we can do something about it.
It’s true that many of us having been working to create change for a long time. People have been doing good work. But I want to formalize the process of bringing together survivors and the people who support them. For years, many of you have emailed me asking how to help, what you can do to support Postpartum Progress’ nonprofit mission and how you can raise awareness and help your local communities. How can you represent what it means to be a member of the Postpartum Progress family and share our tools and free programs locally? Now we have your answer: join the Warrior Mom™ Battalion. We’re going to combat stigma and raise awareness. We’re going to let the medical community know what we expect and deserve to have happen when we reach out for help. And, as I said on our Facebook page, if you’re a peace-loving type, don’t worry, our only “weapons” are empathy, innovation, understanding, information, strength, experience and hope.
How do you join? It’s easy and free. Just fill out the survey here. You tell us what you’d like to do, and just as importantly, what you don’t want to do. We’ll be so happy to have you on the team!
Research on the e patient movement has found:
- A growing number of people say the internet has played a crucial or important role as they helped another person cope with a major illness.
- Since the advent of the Internet, many clinicians have underestimated the benefits and overestimated the risks of online health resources for patients.
- Online support groups have become an important healthcare resource.
I’m not surprised at a single one of those findings. We can play a role in helping our communities and our healthcare providers deliver what we need. We should play a role.
If you look at the top of your screen, right underneath our Warrior Mom logo and the words Postpartum Progress, it says “together, stronger.” We’re only as strong as the number of us who come together to make sure women get the help we need. Please join the Warrior Mom Battalion. We need you.