In May 2007 a bill was introduced to Congress. As do most bills, this one has a nickname: The Mother’s Act. It is still pending. (website below)

The Mother’s Act revolves around postpartum depression (PPD). The gist of the bill deals with grant money being given to states that provide education to new mothers regarding PPD. The bill summary reads:

To ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services, and to increase research at the National Institutes of Health on postpartum depression.

There is much controversy about the bill. Many argue over language. Many argue over the requirements of the bill. Many say that the bill is a ploy to “medicate” bored mothers in order to fill the pockets of the drug companies. Others argue about medical staff liability and misdiagnosis. (I’m not going to get in to it.)

The arguing ALL deeply saddens me. We are called to be a community. To be our “brother’s” keeper.

I strongly agree that mothers should be educated about PPD upon leaving the birthing facility (or if an at-home birth, by their care giver). They may not have heard otherwise. PPD is indeed very scary and no-one should have to battle it.

But don’t wait for the government to step up. Fill the gap.

I also think that PPD should be shared in Public Service Announcements, in teen pregnancy centers, at church, on your block, with your friends, family and any one you encounter!!

If you know someone who is pregnant (or adopting*), simply tell her to be aware of her emotions. And then offer that she can come to you first. Maybe the mother is not sure. The best medicine is an ear and a shoulder.

Love your neighbor. Wouldn’t you want the same?

_______________________________

Some things to know about PPD:

  • PPD can occur immediately after birth up to many months or even a year or more later.
  • The father can develop PPD.
  • *Mothers and Fathers who adopt can experience PPD.
  • There does not have to be any history (for that mother) of depression for PPD to occur.
  • I feel it is important to note, the depression can begin during pregnancy.
  • Some clinicians are using newer language for PPD. You may her it referred to as “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.” I think that is a good thing. You may not experience depression. You may have an anxiety “disorder” as a new mom.
  • If clinical diagnosis indicates PPD, keep calling/checking your friend/relative. As I said, your care and concern is the best medicine.
  • If you have PPD, do not be afraid or feel stigmatized to get whatever help you need to get through. You do not have to struggle alone.
  • The symptom “list” or definition of PPD is not exhaustive. PPD is different for everyone.
  • Be careful about what you read about PPD (on either side). Do your homework.
  • Be careful about what you read about the Mother’s Act (on either side). Do your homework.

Read the Bill: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s110-1375
Follow the Bill: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-s1375/show
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546

Here are two sites I came across, but have not fully reviewed:

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