I think everyone can agree 110% that moms with postpartum depression and other maternal mental illnesses need treatment. Happy Moms = Happy Babies = Happy Families.
But correctly diagnosing moms? Providing the adequate help moms need to get better? That's where I see things begin to unravel.
I have a friend who was told by her midwife it isn't possible to develop postpartum depression six months after your baby is born. (It is.)
I have another friend who was told by her OB that her depression two months after her baby was born was "situational," not postpartum, and as her situation improved so would her mood. (It didn't.)
When I was pregnant with G, our OB brushed off my husband's concerns about my anxiety. After being told twice it was "normal" for a pregnant women to be anxious after a miscarriage we didn't question it again. (We should have.)
I tried opening up to a new therapist about my intrusive thoughts. She laughed at me and said I was being ridiculous. (I wasn't.)
That same therapist tried making me believe I caused G brain damage because I breastfed him while taking Zoloft. (I didn't.)
Each year, an estimated 1.3 million US mothers will develop a perinatal mood disorder. Only 15% of those mothers will obtain the help necessary to get better. Getting better is possible. Stigma prevents many moms from seeking help in the first place. Sometimes healthcare professionals are not up-to-date on the latest information regarding these illnesses. Sometimes healthcare professionals simply do not have all the resources mothers need to get fully well.
It's time we had a real, honest look at what happens when motherhood meets mental health.
I have been working with the company Tugg to bring the highly acclaimed documentary Dark Side of the Full Moon to the Regal 14 theater in Fredericksburg.
Having a baby is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. But what if it’s not? Each year, 1.3 million women in the U. S. struggle to find support and treatment for postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. Two women, Jennifer Silliman and Maureen Fura, both with firsthand knowledge of this challenge, came together to give a face and a voice to the countless women who suffer in silence. With the help of Dr. Shoshana Bennett, Executive Producer, they produced a documentary film, uncovering disconnects within the medical community to effectively screen, refer, and treat these women.
Dark Side of the Full Moon is being screened in conference rooms and theaters across the country by moms and healthcare professionals alike who want to see change. It's changed the way some people view their role in helping the mother get well. I would love for everyone who works closely with mothers and children to see this film. The catch? 84 tickets need to be sold by June 1 for this screening to take place on June 9.
If you work in healthcare. If you work with moms and babies. This is a must see film.
If you are a professor in a field relating to healthcare. This is a must see film.
If you are a student studying to be a healthcare professional. This is a must see film.
Doctors, OBs, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, nurses, pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, counselors, friends, family. You all have the ability to put mothers on the path to mental wellness. My hope is that by attending this screening, we can start discussing how to reduce stigma and keep moms from falling through the cracks.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased through our Event Page. You can watch the trailer for Dark Side of the Full Moon on the Event Page as well. If we make this happen, 5% of the ticket sales will be donated to Postpartum Progress, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating the stigma associated with perinatal mood disorders and providing resources to mothers who need them. You will also have the opportunity to make a donation to Postpartum Progress. Your credit card will not be charged unless this event takes place.
Being a parent is hard. Mental illness can make it harder. We all know this is an important issue, so let's #StandWithMoms and start discussing the disconnects and how we can make things better.