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.
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.