PPPSS News & Events

Bell, Let’s Talk About Maternal Mental Health

Image Copyright www.andreapaterson.com 2017.

Every year Bell runs its Let’s Talk campaign to shine a light on mental health issues. It’s been a great way to bring awareness to mental health struggles and has gone some way to deconstructing the stigma around mental illness. But when it comes to maternal mental health there’s still work to be done and it’s becoming clear that Bell has been leaving perinatal mental health out of the conversation. This year let’s talk Maternal Mental Health because it’s very clear that we still need to be shouting from the rooftops in order to bring awareness, empathy, and acceptance to the gamut of mental health issues that mothers, and fathers, suffer from.

A case in the news recently outlines the plight of a woman who was suffering from postpartum depression manifesting in episodes of intense anger. We know that anger is a common symptom of PPD and this woman was aware of her situation as well. She asked for help from a doctor. A nurse called the police, who then escorted the woman to the hospital. You can read the entire article here.

It’s no wonder, then, that women are terrified to admit they are struggling after the birth of their babies. In PPPSS support groups it’s common for mothers to worry that if they admit their struggles their children will be taken away. In reality, this almost never happens. Postpartum mood disorders almost never prompt women to hurt their children. In most cases mothers are anxious, hyper-vigilant, and while they may have scary intrusive thoughts about harming their children, they are very unlikely to act on them. There are rare exceptions of course, but exceptions occur mostly in relation to postpartum psychosis, which is very different from the more common postpartum mood disorders. And even postpartum psychosis can almost be effectively treated if properly diagnosed. Which is why it’s so important to speak up early and speak up often.

If women remain terrified that admitting to a difficult postpartum adjustment will lead to being taken away by police they are much more likely to suffer in silence, which will ultimately be far more harmful to mom and baby than if she had sought appropriate help.

And it’s not just fear of legal action that keeps women silent. It’s fear of social judgement, fear of what their spouse or extended family will think, fear of how a mental illness might affect their job prospects or ability to work. I have written openly, and often, about my three year struggle with severe postpartum depression and anxiety on my blog and on other online forums. I have been asked on more than one occasion if I think this is a good idea. People are worried that if some potential future employer found my writing they would be unlikely to hire me. This may be true. I don’t know. What I do know is that I help no one by staying silent. If I can’t educate those around me, including people who might be future employers, about the realities of postpartum mood disorders then nothing will ever change, the stigma will remain firmly entrenched. So I take my chances. I write, I talk, I reach out to others who might be suffering. If I lose a job opportunity because of it, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. But not everyone is in a position to take that risk. So there is a lot of silence.

So this year let’s talk about maternal mental health. You can use the hashtag #BellLetsTalkMaternalMentalHealth to join the conversation. And you don’t have to do it publicly. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, find a doctor you trust and talk to her. Talk to the new mom you’ve met at the park. Know what your local maternal mental health resources are and use them. Direct your friends to them if they’re suffering. In whatever way you can, make your voice heard. Things will only chance if we are not too afraid to give voice to our suffering.

We’re In This Together: Steph

I was happy to participate in the We’re in this Together campaign because the knowledge that so many other moms were going through the same thing as me was so comforting throughout my personal journey. I wouldn’t say I am happy to have gone through my PPD struggles, but the fact that I came out the other end with an optimistic dream of the future, gives me a feeling of victory. The first year of my second son’s life was one of the most amazing and also the toughest of my life. I learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and what I need in my life to take care of me. Women give their all to their families, all their love, all their thoughts and dreams start to focus on family, we forget that we are people too. I am important, I deserve to be happy and healthy, I deserve time to myself, I am a person too. I remind myself of this often, when my family tries to take more of me than I have to give. I am a person too, I am important, I deserve to be happy and healthy. I know that allowing myself to believe this will lead to a better life for my children, who are the most amazing achievement in my life. To the new moms, moms struggling to make it to tomorrow; reach out, there are so many wonderful people out there who want to help. The world is better with you in it, your baby’s world is better with you in it.

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Sarah, Niki, and Lyndsay

Sarah

Niki

Lyndsay

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Daisy

This project means so much to me. The Good Mother Project found me at a really hard point after my second daughter was born. I was having a really hard time talking about it or admitting I was struggling. A friend had posted on Facebook about an event called ‘Mommin’ Aint Easy”, and it took so much nerve for me to show up to this event, but I felt that it was something I needed to do. I felt really vulnerable just showing up, but I am so glad I did. After these brave mothers shared their experiences with the group, I hung about putting off the reality that was waiting for me at home with 2 under 2…then a few moms struck up a conversation with me, and we realized we lived in the same community, they immediately invited me into their book club. I will never forget this gesture and how kind-hearted these women were. All of a sudden I didn’t feel alone, even though at that point everything in my life was overwhelmingly impossible. I knew that I now had an amazing community of women to rely on, with no judgement. From that day forward, the GMP mothers have been there for me, even when they didn’t know it, and for this I’m eternally grateful. Being a mom is hard, but if we can help each other up on those hard days, we can get through it together, as a community.

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Stephanie, and Zoe

Stephanie

Mariana

Zoe

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together