I’m sorry, is The Mother’s Act trying to help women? My bad…

22 May

Once upon a time, everything was wrong. I knew it. I couldn’t bring myself to where I needed to be. So I lived with it, we worked around it, we did what we could, the people in my life, me. But when there’s a fuzz in your brain you can never quite shake, you can’t see through it. You can feel the wrong vibrating through your life, but you can’t quite settle it.

Even if you talk to a doctor, even when I sat down and said, please, I want to die, I can’t hold it in, they saw nothing. The next time I’d be fine, and bouncy and wonderful and life was grand and they saw nothing. So I carried on, with the wrong still buzzing, believing I was doing what I could do.

But then pregnancy, and pregnancy again, and there was a slight snap that let loose the dogs of crazy, and I slipped slowly into the vibration, becoming consumed, becoming someone I wasn’t, someone who I can’t recognize today.

They didn’t see it. They didn’t watch for it, they didn’t ask. My urine was more compelling than my mental state, even after the first time, even after being through it, after asking for help. Nothing. No one. They watched me crying, sobbing in a fetal position 3 hours after birth and did nothing. I should have been happy, shouldn’t I?

More and more foolishness comes out on the Mother’s Act. More lies, more blatant bullshit (prozac in a baby’s eyes? Really? People BELIEVE this crap!?!?) more obstacles to providing women with nurses and doctors who pay attention to their emotional state, who stop and ask them if they’re ok, who take a moment to look them in the eyes and tell them it’s ok to admit if maybe it’s not all puppies and rainbows.

Honesty. Caring. Compassion. Research to prevent post partum mood disorders.

I read a story like this one, where a mother kills her son. And I read how the family felt “she did not express the typical love of a mother for her child.” And how nothing had been done before that. How the mother said she killed him because “she did not want him to grow up with no one caring about him, the same way that she had grown up where nobody had cared about her.” She then walked the streets of her city.

If she never reacted properly to her son, why would no one ever see, or be told, or help? How long? From birth? Could this have been stopped, years before? This mother, who now waits to be tried, who wants now to die, who felt this was the only way, could she have been helped by something as simple as a doctor noticing, at some time, what was going on?

As a Canadian who has suffered a bad case of PPD, I’ve been watching the Mother’s Act hopefully, and wondering if we can implement something similar in Canada. Something that would extend a hand when it’s needed, not forcing or demanding, but merely being a support when it’s so desperately needed. Education for doctors and nurses to recognize the signs.

I’ve also been watching the backlash, the ridiculous claim from out of nowhere that this is basically an excuse for “big pharma” (I’m so tired of that term) to drug everyone into insensibility, make oodles of money, and giggle maniacally in their lairs. Because it’s hard to believe that anyone, even a senator who is paid to represent the constituents, or a mother who lost her daughter, might only want things to change for mothers. Because nothing can ever happen on a broad scale without some sort of conspiracy attached.

It’s disgusting, and infuriating, especially when coming from other mothers. I didn’t take anything when I was suffering-I went through therapy, and was eventually diagnosed, nearly 2 years later, as bipolar. Which I should have been diagnosed as years before. I elected to start treatment with medication, and did my research on each until we found one that corrected the imbalance in my brain, and allowed me to function, NOT exceed, but merely FUNCTION at the same level as everyone else.

I CHOSE my path. I still see a doctor, sometimes more, sometimes less. I take my medication because for me, talk therapy isn’t the only answer. But I refused anti-depressants twice, and was merely told that they were available, if I needed or wanted them. As with many women I know, I didn’t want them.

But some women might. And women should have the choice, since free will, after all, is a bitch.

There are lives to be saved here, women’s lives, children. By simple screening, questions, a kind word, someone paying attention. And yet we constantly see blowhards screaming their agenda, which is not so much about women but about their misguided attempts to protect. We see people who have never ever even given BIRTH, who decide, based on their vast experience, that this bill must be evil evil evil.

We have hundreds, maybe thousands of women, every day, suffering in silence, suffering in from of medical staff as I did, who get no help at all.

We are a compassionate people, aren’t we?

****

So I went to read the bill again. Looking for the “feed me Risperdal” clause.

Yeah…no….

(1) Basic research concerning the etiology and causes of the conditions.

  

(2) Epidemiological studies to address the frequency and natural history of the conditions and the differences among racial and ethnic groups with respect to the conditions.

 Again, research, especially about incidence, good. 

(3) The development of improved screening and diagnostic techniques.

  

(4) Clinical research for the development and evaluation of new treatments.

  

(5) Information and education programs for health care professionals and the public, which may include a coordinated national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of postpartum conditions. Activities under such a national campaign may– 

Gee, educating the public? Kirstie, are you listening?

 (B) focus on–

(i) raising awareness about screening;

     (ii) educating new mothers and their families about postpartum conditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment; and

    You mean, let people know what it might feel like so they can educate themselves? NO!

     

    (iii) ensuring that such education includes complete information concerning postpartum conditions, including its symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources.

    And education means providing ALL options and alternatives to the woman, so SHE can make a decision like a big girl wearing big girl pants? How progressive!

      

     

Frankly, I don’t see it. While I take medication, and it has literally saved my life, I don’t like pills either. I hate taking them. I’ve declined many medications because I don’t want it in my body. I would never support something that mandated medication. And this doesn’t. Unless there’s some super special secret page that only Amy whatshedrinking can see with all her friends. This is about education, and providing women with the tools they MIGHT need to help them get a handle on things.

Maybe I am insane, but I fail to see how this infringes on freedom, goes against the constitution, or any of the many things it’s been accused of doing.

It’s trying to help. People who have been there are trying to help. What’s really in it for those trying to prevent that help? Dollars for Scientology perhaps, more money for “natural” remedies that might also poison you? Is this just another way for some women to convince you that you aren’t a real woman if you haven’t “toughed it out” if you suffered true post partum, and not just baby blues?

I’m not proud. I deeply desired to give away my daughter at birth. To harm her and end my life. Many things too painful to write down. I recovered with therapy, with the help of a very aware lactation consultant who called at the right time. What I felt wasn’t natural or normal, and it took me a year to connect to her, despite fighting for therapy and assistance.

Now imagine the woman without an advocate.

That’s who you’re destroying here.

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16 Responses to “I’m sorry, is The Mother’s Act trying to help women? My bad…”

  1. misspudding May 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Don’t forget the Brooke Shields vs. Tom Cruise (scientology) episodes.

    I think we’re still really very far from accepting that mental illness exists. Not just the scientologists, but society on the whole. Things are getting better but a lot of people still just get angry when you suggest that you’re depressed or see a therapist, etc. It’s everyone’s problem.

  2. Molly Chase May 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    I didn’t suffer from PPD with my son. Nearly ten years prior to that, however, I did go through a severe depressive episode when I spent about ten months alternating between wanting to die and being afraid that if I tried to kill myself, I would fail.

    I wish everyone who thinks that mental illness is a lifestyle choice or something ridiculous like that could spend ten minutes feeling the way I did that year. I didn’t love being medicated, not by any means, but if I hadn’t been, I would absolutely not have survived it.

  3. Hannah May 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    I’m frankly speechless. I don’t even know where to start with Scientology, Kirstie Alley, and the big puddle of OH DEAR LORD that this is.

    I suspect that KA couldn’t organize a “Million Mom March” on a bet; I just doubt she’s that influential anymore. Mind you, I wouldn’t have thought that Jenny McCarthy could get a whole generation of otherwise intelligent people to stop immunizing their kids, and look where that’s ending up.

    *sigh*

    One more reason why I want to go off the grid, and raise rabbits. 🙂

  4. sweetsalty kate May 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Beautifully put, thor.

  5. Marcy May 22, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

    It’s good to hear your passion and reasons. I don’t trust the government or pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies or the medical establishment. I don’t trust alternative practitioners. I don’t trust myself. I worry about me or others being forced into psych wards or unnecessary or unwanted medications or having their kids taken away. I worry about no one noticing or caring or offering assistance. I worry about people not learning about ALL the options.

    Clearly, though, the myth of the magic motherhood needs to go away.

    With caution and proper oversight, this act could help.

  6. beingmade May 23, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    SO very well said.

  7. cooledskin May 23, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    There’s been this huge movement lately, especially in Canada and spearheaded by second-wave feminists, to eschew medicalised childbirths and etcetera at any costs. As a person involved in gender studies academically, I got a lot of guff for getting an epidural. Now, I ripped almost all the way from anus to clitoris. I thank god or something similar for my epidural. But, as mothers, everything we do should be “natural,” or it’s not real, not as good.

    I think this issue is more of the same. These people think they’re protecting motherhood and women, but really all they’re protecting is the barefoot-and-pregnant correlation of women to nature, at the expense of all else.

    Great entry, thank you.

  8. de May 24, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    Thank you.

    Great timing. My mental cycle is tied to my menstrual cycle and I have just come out of a horrible month that my anti-depressants did not touch. I spent a week with my mind divided between I want to die/I need to wait this out, it will get better, and I have no one to talk to that understands this.

    One of the elements of my down period is that I feel rejected and it’s damn near impossible for me to go against that tide and reach out for the help I want. It needs to be offered.

  9. ivyshihleung May 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Thank you for this wonderfully written blog post. It’s a shame that there are so many people out there who want to stifle this bill. It’s the flock of birds mentality. One person who shouts “Down with the Mothers Act” and all the other blind and ignorant people follow. Most of these people shouldn’t even have a say since they never experienced PPD.

  10. Kelly May 26, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    I suffered terrible post-partum with my daughter. It almost wrecked my marriage. It made it impossible for me to bond with my daughter until she was over 6 months old. It turned my entire life inside out and on its ass. I told my pediatrician about my feelings. She is a woman, and a mother. She told me the feelings and urges and depression were nothing, probably just due to lack of sleep. WTF? You better believe this act would be signed into law if it benefited wealthy white males.

  11. Marcy May 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    “just” lack of sleep? As if lack of sleep were a minor issue? Lack of sleep was perhaps the number one contributor to my PPD — it’s a big deal.

    Not saying it’s always or ever the only factor, but it’s not one to just dismiss like your doc did. Humph.

  12. Ameroux May 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Well-reasoned and well-written. It always amazes me when people who have not experienced something are sure they know what’s right for people who have. Mind-boggling . . . As usual, ThorDora, you rock.

  13. Holly June 9, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    Scientology has power over legislation?

    Wow.

  14. Emily June 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    thank you for this sensible post. people are so wrapped up in proving they are “free thinkers” or somesuch nonsense that they start telling everyone else what to do.

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