Because Information Empowers, The MOTHERS Act, and my story

I’ve started several posts about the Mother’s Act today.  I’ve spent some time reading things that those who oppose it have written, including one of the articles which comes dangerously close to libel against the fantastic Katherine Stone.  That’s a line I didn’t expect to see crossed, and it saddens me that it was.

What rattled me almost as much today were assertions that were made essentially suggesting that postpartum depression is not a real medical problem, and that the difficulties women may face during the postpartum period could only come from Western Medicine’s mishandling of pregnancy, labor, and birth.  In light of that, I thought I’d share a bit more of my story. 

With both of my  daughters we faced the real possibility that my husband would be gone during their births  So….  I sought out a doula each time.  I wanted someone WITH me.  Along the way I learned a bit about doulas…  I learned about how they decreased the rate of C-sections significantly, about how they often help Mom’s find ways to endure the pain of childbirth without using epidurals or other medications.  And you can’t learn about doula’s without learning a bit about the ‘natural childbirth movement.’ 

When my second daughter was born, I did most of my laboring at home.  Our doula was fantastic.  She kept me calm and focused.  I spent most of the labor on an exercise ball or curled up on my own couch.  I took showers to deal with the pain, and to stay relaxed.  We actually ended up planning our trip to the hospital around the opening of the military base’s gate that was closest to us.  I arrived still minimally dilated, VERY quickly transitioned from 2 cm to 10 cm, pushed for a reasonable amount of time and held my baby girl in my arms just two hours after getting to the hospital (with a total laboring time of 10 hours–I have to get my full credit!).  I didn’t get an epidural, or any other form of pain relief.  My labor went as close to going ‘as planned’ a labor possibly can. 

But as I said in an earlier post, it felt different from the start.  I felt panicky with my baby in my arms.  When I got home, I found the only time I felt really ok was when I was snuggling my tiny miracle and she was content.  Months went by and I attributed my feeling ‘off’ to the anniversary of the death of my mother, to my  husband’s deployment, and to countless other things only to find when life ‘settled down’ that I still didn’t feel right.

It took weeks of me looking online for people with stories like mine before I got the courage to call for an appointment.  I didn’t have the symptoms I expected to have for a diagnosis of Postpartum Depression.  I felt sad, but I didnt’ cry all the time.  I was irritable and angry too often.  My default setting for life was more negative than positive.  But mostly all I could say was that I felt off.  I wrote more about how I felt in this post.

I was lucky to see a compassionate doctor who was aware of depression and postpartum depression.  When I went to the doctor, I expected to have to convince HIM I had a problem.  Instead he listened to my symptoms and my conclusions and spent the next half-hour or so helping me to understand WHY I was feeling that way, and explaining the avenues of treatment available.  I left knowing that I had a REAL problem and that HOPE was available.  I wasn’t always going to feel like this, and the fact that I did feel like I did WASN’T MY FAULT.

I write all of this for two reasons:  1)  Because I had a pretty minimally medically invasive labor and delivery.  I was in no way, shape, or form a “victim of Western medicine.” (the fact that Western Medicine, while it can be flawed, can also be a life-saving Godsend is really for another post.  In the meantime, go read what Liz at Mother is Not For Wimps says about CesareanAwareness Month).  Yet even with this non-medicated, “natural,” doula-assisted birth, I STILL experienced Postpartum Depression.  I STILL felt off.  2)  Had it not been for me becoming informed little by little, and then having the luck of seeing a physician who both had a clue and gave a damn, I wouldn’t have known I had a problem or believed there was hope to deal with the problem.   For me, information was power.  Denying the problem left me hopeless.  But, armed with the knowledge that I had a REAL physiological condition that could be TREATED a variety of ways left me empowered.  And gave me the chance to dig out of the ‘offness.’

 

The MOTHERS Act was written for women like me.  It was written so that women who might not think they fit the mold for a problem like postpartum depression can become informed, and ultimately empowered.  It was written to bring awareness to health care providers so that a greater number of them will have a clue and give a damn.  It wasn’t written to drug women into mindless zombies or so that health care providers could dupe women into taking drugs they don’t need to pad the pockets of the evil entity known as “Big Pharma.”

Education is Power.  Even more, Education EMPOWERS.  That’s why I support the Mother’s Act.  That’s why I encourage you to speak louder than the opposition.  How can you do that?  Stealing from the, now infamous, Katherine Stone: 

Here are ways to take action:

  • Go to the DBSA and sign the petition.
  • E-mail Susan Stone at susanstonelcsw@aol.com and put your name on the state-by-state list of people who endorse this bill.
  • Call and write your senator or Congressperson
  • Write about the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in your blog.
  • Call or e-mail every one of your organization’s members today and tell them to get up and get to work for goodness sake.
  • Join Postpartum Support International as it works to create more and better services and education for the women who suffer.
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18 thoughts on “Because Information Empowers, The MOTHERS Act, and my story

  1. What a thoughtful, well-written post. I only just found out about the Mother’s Act today, and am doing my research. I found your post via Google.

    Yours is the first thing I’ve read that is in support of this bill. I’m not sure yet where I stand on the Act itself, but your post has given me food for thought.

    I, myself, am a labor doula, so this information is critical to me as to how I intend to educate my clients. I hope that I do a good job in helping my clients learn to educate themselves about this issue. Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  2. Almost ALL women whove had children that I know have experience PPD. You lose tons of water, blood and vitamins and HORMONES change drastically in a very short period of time and it takes time to replace and rebalance these things. PPD is a normal occurrence, and NOT a mental illness.

    ANY psychiatric diagnosis leads to powerful mind-altering drugs, and that is why I am totally AGAINST the Mother’s Act. These drugs, when used in pregnant women, cause birth defects and stillbirths. When used in women with PPD they can actually cause unpredictable outbursts of homicidal rage and many women taking these drugs have killed their children (Andrea Yates anyone?). When someone gets “screened” 9 times out of 10 they end up with a diagnosis and drugs, whether they have a mental illness or not. If you refuse the diagnosis, then you can have your child taken away from you and you can be locked up in ward and drugged into a stupor.

    So NO I will not support the Mother’s Act. It is invasive and will only result in MORE mothers being put on dangerous drugs and becoming a threat to their children’s lives.

  3. If PPD is a normal occurrence, then explain the millions who DON’T experience anything beyond with baby blues. Which trust me, is NOT PPD.

    There’s was nothing “normal” about what happened to me, and while I declined drugs, it would have been nice to have a doctor paying some attention to what was going on.

    And citing Andrea Yates? Seriously? Have you actually read into what happened to that poor woman who suffered continued pregnancies which compounded the problem with her mental state?

    And contrary to your experience, every diagnosis does NOT lead to drugs poured down your throat. Perhaps offered, but not forced. And homicidal rage? Can also occur in UNMEDICATED women who haven’t slept.

    I’m not sure where your experiences are coming from, but they obviously are not based in fact. I’ve actually been admitted to hospitals because of my mental state, and all they’ve done is ask about my children, and how my interactions with them were.

    Screening mothers, TALKING to mother’s instead of making facile blanket assumptions about their “rages” will make a difference. Hiding your head in the sand because YOU believe it’s a huge agenda to place everyone on psychotropic drugs is quite possibly the least informed and more immature thing I’ve read today.

    I HAVE a diagnosis, and I am NOT on any mood altering drug. I’m on one that makes my life livable, and have turned down the ones I researched and did not WANT in my body. Each woman is also RESPONSIBLE for herself.

    But hey, it’s more fun if we treat them like idiot sheep, right?

    (Sorry to hijack-this is driving me batshit insane today. Pun FULLY intended.)

  4. I have written several article, in which Katherine Stone is discussed. Therefore I’m wondering whether the following comment is referring to one of mine:

    “I’ve spent some time reading things that those who oppose it have written, including one of the articles which comes dangerously close to libel against the fantastic Katherine Stone.”

    If the answer is yes, let me just say that I would welcome any attempt to try and shut me up by filing a lawsuit against me (for publishing truthful information), which would allow me to use the discovery process to access records and information of which I have no way of getting on my own.

    Susan Stone had the nerve to write me an email telling me to cease and desist after I wrote the first or second truthful article.

    To all of you, I say bring it on!!!!!!!!!! Sue me.

    The Mothers Act was not written for people like you. It was written in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry to create a whole new treatment industry to get rich off the 4 million plus women who give birth in this country each year.

    I notice you refer to Stone as “infamous”, I would agree with that.

    I see you also posted Katherine and Susan’s link to the petition against the Mothers Act, which was funding with Big Pharma money funneled through the DBSA, as I truthfully pointed out and documented in my articles.

    Evelyn Pringle

  5. Evelyn–I’d sure like to see your facts. You seem to have an axe to grind about Big Pharma, and I get that, but you don’t seem to present a lot of factual informatoin about how you know Big Pharma is behind the bill, and why you think Katherine Stone is personally profitting from supporting it and advocating for women with PPD (she’s not).

    • You obviously have not read all my articles because I have repeatedly shown where for instance, one $20,000 grant from Pfizer went to a Georgia Mental Health America group and then found where the speaker for the lectures funded was Katherine Stone.

      Now Katherine has since said she only got a portion of that money but when I broke down the total on the amount she was paid for 16 appearances it came to $300 and some per appearance.

      I can think of many women who would like to put in an hour and make over $300.

      And of course, Pfizer and Lilly were the only companies with grant reports available for me to review at the time – due to Senator Grassley’s investigation into the funneling of money to psych-drug pill pushing quacks in this country and the “so-called” non-profits.

      In the “Just Say No to the Mothers Act” article, I did the research to come up with the amounts of money funneled to the front groups behind the Mothers Act and I listed it all.

      I suggest you read my work.

      I have been covering the drug marketing schemes of the pharmaceutical industry since mid-2004 non-stop. This one is nothing new or different than any other I’ve covered.

      With the exception that this time, there is a whole treatment industry built up around the scheme and more players.

      But then, Big Pharma could not expect to keep peddling drugs through middle-men and keeping all the profits forever now could it?

      I am probably the most informed journalist on this planet when it comes to these psycho-pharmaceutical profiteering schemes and I resent any suggestion that I do not know what I am talking about.

      Over the past 4 years, I have also covered the birth defects caused by psych drugs more than any other journalist.

      As I have said before, this the sickest plot I’ve ever run across because it’s aimed at young couples and hits right in the cradle. Infants will end up forcibly drugged, some before they even make it out of the womb, with no say so in the matter.

      The persons involved in this sick profiteering scheme can rot in hell as far as I’m concerned.

      Evelyn Pringle

      • Here are some facts for you guys:

        http://momsandmeds.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/pharmapaysmasupporters/

        I’ve never heard anyone claim Evelyn Pringle’s articles were full of made up opinions before. I’ve read them and they’re mostly direct quotes from scholars and studies and sources – i.e. victims.

        The total amount of money that was traceable to MOTHERS Act supporters in the last few years was between 13 and 16.48 million dollars. That’s just the money we know about and it doesn’t include all the hacks, just the ones most directly related to the pushers.

        What pill are you supposed to take when your baby dies – to make you feel better?

        Or when you kill your family / baby from taking deadly drugs- what pill is supposed to make you feel better about that?

  6. I reread a few of your articles, Evelyn. It is obvious that you’ve done a lot of research about pharmaceuticals, and you do have a good deal of documentaion. I apologize for insinuating otherwise. I wholly disagree with most of your fundamental assumptions about the MOTHERS Act and about the motivations behind those that support it, but that you put in a lot of hours passionately researching is obvious.

  7. You might want to take a closer look at the legislation one more time. There is a good analysis on my blog based on Kelly O’Meara’s article Stress Testing The MOTHERS Act. http://tinyurl.com/
    If this bill were really for moms with PPD it would also ensure express written informed consent, it would ensure that all medical testing and non-drug options are explored, and it would do research into these issues as alternative treatments.

    When the groups supporting it pretend they want to help new mothers but the sponsors in the Senate refuse to agree to add informed consent language and examination of EXISTING data on risks of EXISTING treatments, then you know something is wrong. Seriously wrong.

    They are not writing into the bill that they will examine the 7,000 plus MedWatch reports on infant deaths and injuries for existing treatments. http://twitpic.com/6g9gy/full

    There are currently 50 clinical trials going on for PPD treatments. This is no coincidence and they have done things like this before – only now the pharmaceutical industry is targeting pregnant and nursing moms, and women who are highly likely to become pregnant. That’s the sickest part about this whole thing.

  8. I did not expect to win this debate by posting a few blogs, but I do appreciate the acknowledgment that I have done the research to back up my arguments.

    Thank you.

    Evelyn Pringle

  9. Mother’s Act advocates get very shrill and angry at anyone who questions their advocacy and especially they get very shrill, angry and THREATENING towards anyone who presents the truth of what this bill is really all about. The most repugnant aspect of this bill is how psychiatric interests work so hard to smoothly misrepresent the unnatural (drugging of pregnant mothers) as natural or okay when prior to psychotropic drugs, mothers were always counselled by traditional Western medical authorities not to take any drugs or as little as possible. How the authority of traditional doctors was usurped by nonmedical quasi medical(?) authorities would make an interesting investigation. Also, Mother’s Bill advocates are strangely silent about the birth defects that have been linked to these drugs and existing litigation against drug companies for compensation for the death, damage and disability in newborns linked these drugs. The other point about the Mother’s Bill is that it is ironically named for a psychiatric victim and the legislation provides for millions of pregnant women to be able receive without their informed consent the damaging treatment that the woman named for this bill unfortunately was victimized with.

  10. My biggest gripe in the debate over SSRI use during pregnancy is the total minimization of the withdrawal syndrome that infants who are exposed to SSRIs in the womb go through at birth.

    Aside from the physical health problems that often develop, subjecting an infant first entering the world to such horrific withdrawal is absolutely inexcusable to me.

    My research has found it to be more severe than for infants exposed to cocaine in the womb.

    Apparently, or at least I’m assuming, that none of these people have ever watched an alcoholic or drug addict go through withdrawal or they would appreciate the torment and suffering these infants experience and quit listening to the paid quacks who refer to it as “transient” and not life-threatening.

    To buy into this line, one would have to ignore the thousands of adults who have said publicly that they have spent months, and some even years, tapering off SSRIs before they could quit taking them completely, because the withdrawal syndrome was so severe, and the symptoms far worse than the condition that led to their use.

    And as we know, the SSRIs are now off-patent and the big push is to prescribe the expensive and equally toxic atypical antipsychotics for depression and anxiety together with SSRIs, so we can expect to see more infants harmed through forced drugging in the future, with or without the Mothers Act.

    But passage of the Mothers Act would definitely be helpful in the marketing of these highly profitable drug cocktails.

    Evelyn Pringle

  11. One problem with the discussion of birth defects from antidepressants is women read news stories that there is very little risk but that gives them the potentially false idea that it wouldn’t happen to them. It is not something anyone would wish on another unless they were totally evil or just really insane. The following is what never gets in the news. You can read all the surrounding material by googling Manie:

    This is what I have to say to any one who is pregnant or could become pregnant. If you are depressed get help indeed. However please think about this…

    Wouldn’t it be better to seek some other kind of help for your depression? I have been through having a child with a birth defect and I will always be going through it. I can never turn back the hands of time and not take that pill. Unlike you I did not know. I did not have a clue. Until recently I did not know why Manie was born with a heart defect.

    I looked and looked for a reason why and always came up with nothing. Until one day I found out that it was because I took paxil. The guilt I feel will never go away even though it was not my fault. If you think that you are depressed now wait until your life is flipped upside down when your baby is born with a horrible birth defect like Manie was.

  12. Thank you for your story.

    Wish I would’ve known/ had a compassionate doctor etc.

    Maybe my reading this now is too late for the Act, but you’re helping me learn….

  13. I will also say, I was on an anti-depressant when I was pregnant, (had been for 10 yrs prior as I was severely abused growing up) baby did not have withdrawal symptoms or birth defects, and I STILL got bad postpartum depression (psychosis???). I gave birth at a Japanese birthing clinic, naturally and to the determent of my health (I have developed Fibromyalgia as a result of the crazy birth methods they used on me there). I was seen by Navy docs overseas who did nothing to help me.

    Boy, this is a sore subject for me!

  14. I had postpartum depression and had I been educated about holistic, energy healing and other modalities I am certain I would not have suffered for 4 years and it believe BIG PHARMA is after this. My son was born with a heart defect by taking Zoloft which I was told was totally safe b 4 specialists. I suffered horribly on these drugs and they sucked out my soul. I think short term use is sometimes needed but I am learning there are numerous less toxic healing modalities which can help a mother with post paratum depression. Creating villages//communities to support our young mothers and families would help the greatest and decrease post partum depression. Under developed countries have less incidence of depression because of the village supporting the mother and extended family support….it is support we need, not medications….Please I urge you to sign another law which inhibits personal choice

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