When Will A Celebrity Survivor of Postpartum Depression Step Up to the Plate?

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Hey ladies. Just thought we’d chat. Here’s a cup of coffee. Do you take cream? Sugar?

I’m thinking of all of you out there right now. Those of you who are in despair and trying to figure out what the hell is wrong. Those of you who have figured out that you have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety/OCD or postpartum PTSD and have started treatment but still feel like you’ll never get better and worry about how this is affecting your child(ren). Those of you who are down the road to recovery and just waiting for the day when there are NO more bad days or bad thoughts or bad feelings. Those of you who have recovered fully. The women out there that are sick that don’t have access to good healthcare or the internet or any information to tell them they need to get help so they don’t suffer chronic depression for the rest of their lives. The women who are sitting in jail or psychiatric hospital because they fell through the cracks. And those of you who are psychologists and social workers and psychiatrists and nurses and midwives (etc.) and who care enough to get more information or perspectives on women who suffer to visit this blog.

Some days I wake up and I feel so positive. There’s some new piece of research on postpartum depression, or a great post or story I want to link to, or some idea I’ve had that I’m excited about. (Just got my first vlog sent in from an Australian reader this week – Weehee!)

Other days I’m frustrated bythe lack of attentionto perinatal mood and anxiety disordersamong the mainstream parenting websites or popular mommy blogs or media, wheneveryone seemsmore than happy to tweet or report about how to lose all your baby weight in 6.3 days or the latest research “proving” antidepressants don’t work. WTF? There are women who are hurting themselves or their babies because wearen’t paying enough attention to their risk factors and their symptoms. There are children who are going to suffer lasting behavioral consequences because their mothers didn’t receive any help. There are mothers who are desperate and are convinced they are alone and no one can help them.

Where are the celebrity moms who’ve had postpartum depression? Why is it that the only time you hear about their experiences with postpartum depression is when they have a new movie to promote or a new book coming out or a new clothing line or whatever? Yes, I’m talking to you Gwyneth Paltrow, Amanda Peet, Angie Harmon, Lisa Rinna, Brooke Shields, etc. Why is it that they haven’t used their considerable money and influence to become REAL and TRUE and DEDICATED spokeswomen for these illnesses? Not just people who show up at the occasional, paid speech, or speak out when it serves their own purpose, not just women who speak about it once or twice in Vogue, but women who believe in the cause with all their might and want to prevent the suffering of others and will stick it out for the long term. Is it because postpartum depression just isn’t “sexy” enough in the public arena, the way breast cancer is? Maybe they don’t realize how many women don’t have access to good care?

And where is the funding from all those organizations that care about preventing child abuse or ensuring strong family foundations or women’s health or mental health? Where are the deep pockets who can make sure that women in poverty have access to mental health care and transportation to get to that care and childcare to make sure they can leave their homes to get that care? Who can fund creating more specialists at medical schools? Who can fund major awareness campaigns like the ones that already exist for illnesses that impact far fewer people? Yes, I’m talking to you Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundationand the WW Kellogg Foundationand the Foundation for Excellence in Women’s Healthcare.

Argh.

Anyway, I want you to know that you are all awesome. I love this blog and its wonderful band of followers. I’m so unbelievably grateful to all of you who send me emails saying you liked this or that thing I wrote about, and to those of you who comment on my posts and who support all of the women who appear here (via posts or links) with your words of encouragement. You keep me going through my good days and bad. I’m grateful to all the volunteers, like those at PSI, and the bloggers who keep working to help people and bring awareness to postpartum depression while getting paid nothing and receiving little to no acknowledgment.

We will never, ever give up on the millions of girls and women who will some day, without any doubt, develop a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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Comments

  1. Great post, Katherine. I'm most surprised that Brooke Shields doesn't do more for this cause. I really loved her book Down Came the Rain – it was the first one where I felt like I wasn't insane. Sometimes I wonder if it's that women don't want to go back there once they've recovered – maybe it's too scary to recount the experience?

  2. Cowards. Seriously. They're in the spotlight and could do so much to help so many and yet they don't. It's shameful!

  3. Some nights, I curl up with Brooke's book so I don't feel too crazy.
    I just wish she kept doing more.

  4. She doesn't do more. Brooke goes to various paying gigs or to accept awards from various mental health orgs, but she is not doing what I am talking about. I am talking about Michael J. Fox's dedication to Parkinson's. I am talking about the people behind Stand Up 2 Cancer, or Lance Armstrong or Susan G. Komen.
    We get almost no funding. The attention we get in the media usually only comes when there's tragedy. We are an afterthought for many mental health organizations.
    People can argue with me on this all they want but it is 100% true. If they really look deep inside and are honest they have to admit it is 100% true.

  5. I think this is just the first step. There is still so much stigma attached and women being labeled as just crazy and hormonal. Even Brooke was blasted by Tom Cruise and even though I think he is insane, how many people agreed with him? How many people think that women use it as an excuse? How many people think that we just need to 'get over it'?
    Mental health is just difficult to begin with…soo much stigma attached…and I think the first comment was part right…too many don't want to revisit it.
    I don't do that though. I tell my story until people get sick of it. I figure if I can help ONE person then it was all worth it. Just like others before us…we just have to be patient and do what we can until that right voice and face steps up. That's all we can do. One day a celebrity will step up…it is all a matter of time.
    Keep telling your stories…one day someone will listen.

  6. Amen sista!

  7. samantha says:

    Kendra Wilkinson also touched on it but that was it.

  8. You rock, Katherine. Awesome post. And so true. I just saw a headline about Gwyneth Paltrow having had PPD, and I found myself wondering why she never talked about it until now. I guess everyone has their reasons, wants their privacy. But, still. It sure would remove some of the stigma if these influential women would open up.

  9. Amen, I agree that reproductive depression and related anxiety disorders are not publicized enough and many women are still suffering in silence and not getting the help they need, not to mention that the lives of many mothers and their children are being lost. I think the stigma of depression is still to blame, even in this day and age where its more appropriate to admit that you've been in rehab than to say I'm depressed after having a child. When we lived in Europe, where you don't hear a word about PPD, I mentioned to my husband that I should help others after surviving PPD. There was no talk of PPD let alone any support group. His reply was 'why do you want to be the poster child for PPD?' He didn't want his co-workers and others we knew to know that his wife suffered with depression, it may have been more acceptable to admit that I had survived cancer. We were also forced to hide it from his extended family. I think the same happens with celebrities, their handlers (agents, publicists, etc) chose the "public friendly" causes they should represent and unfortunately PPD isn't one of them. It's frustrating but I just don't know when and if the tide will turn.

  10. Thanks for that – I am a PND surviver and love your blog for the links and resources I can pass on to clients, since I'm a doula. I keep a bit of emotional space between myself and PND. But sometimes I feel it welling up like a hidden giant under the surface, especially right now as I'm off meds and trying for baby #3, and scared. Your message has made me well up. Thanks. Hug back.x

  11. I just want readers to be aware the exceptional contributions of country singer Wade Bowen. He raised awareness by writing the song Turn on the lights about his wife’s experience with PPD. Today he is giving his second concert to benefit PSI and will do a home performance for the winner of an Ebay auction (going on this week), all of which goes to PSI. Here’s a celebrity dad we should all be thankful for!

  12. Colletta says:

    Wade Bowen? I'll have to check it out.

  13. Colletta says:

    This video is very touching…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM_CtGsT2Tg

  14. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Excellent point Carin. Wade has done
    an amazing job supporting PSI and the cause.
    I was referring more to the celeb mom
    survivors. But I am enormously grateful
    for Wade and all he has done!

  15. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Hugs to you!

  16. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    It is frustrating. Someday someone will
    be brave enough to take it on and be honest
    about it. I'm looking forward to that day.

  17. Michelle says:

    I am continuing the everyday ups & downs with Postpartum OCD & PTSD & all I can say is that my heart goes out to all of the mothers that are going through postpartum & do not have the financial means for therapy & med management. I think that their should be much more help out there to mothers that cannot afford the the private therapists & Phychiatrists.