On June 29, communities from across Massachusetts met in Boston at the State House for Bringing Postpartum Depression into the Light: Decreasing Stigma, Supporting Families and Implementing Policy Change in MA, a day of awareness hosted by the MA Commission on Postpartum Depression (PPD).
Some form of postpartum depression (PPD) affects nearly one in four mothers -- roughly 950,000 women. Likely brought on by the hurricane of hormones that moves its way through a woman's body during pregnancy, PPD could also be trigged by major life trauma or some blip in genetic makeup -- any number of factors, really. One that researchers are finding more and more common: blue light.
I'll never forget my Gus. His loss has been my biggest trial, but he will always be my angel baby.
There is one thing I know for sure about being a mother, and that is what having maternal instincts really means. When I was pregnant, I envisioned what I believed motherhood would look like for me.
A mother and her child are two parts of a whole, and we need to treat them as such during and after pregnancy. Making sure moms are healthy is how we give birth to a healthy society.
There are days I think about you, baby number two. I wonder what sex you'll be and what color eyes you'll have, and I wonder if I will ever see them.
A recent research study indicates that for women with the most severe symptoms, maternal depression and anxiety often begin during pregnancy not just after giving birth. Yet despite this staggering statistic, 70 to 80 percent of these women never receive treatment, because they are never properly identified and diagnosed.
To me, the house felt like a symbol that everything might turn out all right, that there might be a way for two childish adults to somehow make a family.
I write on behalf of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing over 1,800 pediatricians practicing across the Commonwealth.
The idyllic picture of a smiling nurturing mother, caressing her growing belly or loving her cooing adoring newborn, is not the reality for many women during pregnancy or the time following a birth.
I remember standing on the porch in the rain on one of my first Mother's Days and sobbing because no one did anything special for me.
I strongly believe that our pain, whichever it comes from, is on purpose. It helps us grow and give birth to a better version of ourselves. It is hard to be thankful for our pain but, if we shift perspective, we realize it always brings us a lesson in disguise.
Every parent of an older (or adult) kid likes to remind you how you'll miss these early days. But I think what those moms are secretly trying to say is that they miss being young, too.
Unlike some women who slide into motherhood like pulling on a pair of well-worn yoga pants, motherhood for me felt more like trying to squeeze into a pair of too-small skinny jeans. I pulled and twisted, held my breath, bent and contorted and still ended up in a puddle of tears.
When we sit together in your nursery, cuddled chest to chest, I feel the weight of glory pressed upon me despite the uncertainty that always tries to take over.
Moms with postpartum depression cannot wait for care and treatment when faced with depression and other perinatal emotional complications. The impact on both Mom and her infant can be serious. But in Massachusetts there is a new model that is providing hope for these mothers and changing the landscape so that providers can provide the care that is needed.