Time and time again, I am reminded of how grateful I am to have a husband who has been incredibly supportive of my struggles with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. As I talk to other Warrior Moms, the lack of understanding and compassion from spouses is appalling. “Suck it up” is not an appropriate response. That was an actual response from a husband to his wife who struggled mightily not only with postpartum depression, but also with postpartum psychosis. When I heard that response come out of his mouth, I glared at him. He understood after the fact that his response lacked compassion and empathy.
I am fuming after yet another local case of infanticide that was incorrectly reported as depression. Why do we shame mamas into silence? When mamas reach out for help, they are dismissed. They are seen as “too emotional”, “too sleep deprived”, and “too sensitive”. The majority of the household managing and child raising falls largely on mamas regardless of whether they stay at home, work from home, or work outside the home. We do not have the family or social support that we used to. We live in ever-increasing isolation. As the lovely Lauren Hale stated so eloquently in this post, “Our village is in peril. Our village? FELL THE FUCK APART AND NO ONE GIVES A DAMN.”
Depression feeds on this isolation. When I was depressed, I could not even think about reaching out to anyone. I could not manage the strength to keep up any friendships. I just put my shoulder to the grindstone and soldiered through each day until I hit my wall. I waited too long to get help. I struggled through my entire pregnancy with severe anxiety. I was not diagnosed until seven months postpartum with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I struggled for over a year.
What has to happen before we stand up and take action? My husband has suggested that partners and dads (not the mama who just gave birth or adopted a baby) be given a sheet of signs to watch out for. Everyone needs to be educated on perinatal mood disorders. Oftentimes, a mama is so sick that she does not have the energy or the strength to advocate for herself. Dads, partners, friends and parents, educate yourselves. Let’s start a national conversation about the disgraceful state of maternal mental health ins this country. Here is a place to start: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/every-mother-every-time-universal-mental-health-screening-every-pregnant-and-postpartum-woman/rG1jLyYj. I support this petition whole-heartedly. The village needs to assist. This is not just a women’s issue; it is a family issue. Families are in crisis, and it is time that we stand up and do something about it.