What you can do to help
From Katherine Stone at Postpartum Progress
Wake up, Warrior Moms. Wake up people who work to prevent child abuse, people who work to prevent suicide, people who work to prevent preterm births, people who care about healthy families. Wake up, people who care about motherhood. Wake up, women of America. Wake up psychiatric professionals, nurses, OB/GYNS, pediatricians.
Here’s an actual text of a communication being sent far and wide by the very loud and vociferous opposition to the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act to support increased funding, education and research for postpartum depression (the underlining is mine):
“This MOTHER’S Act, with its innocuous sounding name will mandate “mental screening” for pregnant women. This will lead to many more young mothers being labeled with fraudulent psychiatric conditions and many of them will be put on dangerous psychiatric drugs even while they are still pregnant. This is already happening in some states such as New Jersey with the state legislature previously passed a similar bill.
With your help, we were able to stop this Federal bill dead in its tracks last year, but the drug lobby apparently never sleeps and they got it through the House of Representatives. Now we need some fast action from thousands of doctors and patients across the country - in the form of phone calls and faxes to their US Senators to stop this bill from passing in the Senate …”
Let’s be VERY, VERY clear. There are some people who, for whatever reason, have decided to convince others that the singular purpose of the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act is to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and drug our nation’s mothers. If you think they aren’t calling their Senators and Congresspeople you are mistaken. They are very convicted in their feelings and they call WAY MORE than we do. If you believe what they are saying is true, then I’m not sure why you’d be reading this blog. Because chances are, if you read this blog, you know for a fact, as sure as death and taxes, that there is nothing “fraudulent” about postpartum depression or anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis, or depression and anxiety during pregnancy. I find that deeply, completely insulting. I’m not sure what is so difficult to accept about the idea that women who are ill with REAL illnesses need help and we need our society to take more responsibility to help them, starting with the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.
PERIOD. END. OF. STORY.
Have these people not seen the research? Do they not know that women with untreated postpartum depression can go on to have chronic depression for the rest of their lives? Do they not know that women with untreated depression during pregnancy are twice as likely to have pre-eclampsia, twice as likely to have a C-section, twice as likely to have a pre-term delivery and twice as likely to have their baby go to NICU? Do they know the odds of developmental delay for children whose mothers illness goes on and on and on and on? Do they not know that suicide as a result of postpartum mood disorders is the leading cause of death for women postpartum in the US?
You can sit by on the sidelines and watch them win, just like they say they did last year when the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act was NOT passed. You can say I signed that petition last year so I’m not doing it again. You can decide that your voice doesn’t count. You can let them convince the rest of the world that the MOTHERS Act is a conspiracy to drug the mothers of the world. You can say I have too many other things to worry about. You can say they’re just the fringe and that no one pays attention to them, but you’d be wrong.
I’m asking you not to. Please do not allow more women and children to suffer when it’s no longer necessary. I don’t care if you’ve never had PPD and it’s not on your radar screen. Healthy women, healthy children and health families should be on EVERYONE’s radar screen.