I don’t like to delve much into politics. I keep my opinions to myself about it all. The heated arguments it causes just makes my blood pressure go somewhere above the stratosphere, makes me put my fingers into my ears while loudly singing “lalalalalalala” and then bang my head into the nearest wall. Thus, it goes without saying that my plan is to generally avoid such discussions. Don’t get me wrong – I DO vote and believe strongly in the right, I just prefer to keep my opinions to myself, thankyouverymuch. However, because of my passion for postpartum depression ministry, I’m going to make a political post and plea this one time only.
There is a bill called the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in front of the Senate right now. This bill will provide funding for research for postpartum mood disorders, screening for new mothers, and training for healthcare providers – in a nutshell. On October 15, 2007 it passed in the House by a vote of 382-3.
Here is a description of what the MOTHERS Act is as quoted from Postpartum Progress:
What is the MOTHERS Act? The Moms Opportunity to Access Help, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, or MOTHERS Act (S. 1375), will ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms and provided with essential services. In addition, it will increase research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression. The bill is sponsored by Senators Menendez and Durbin.
Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers — as much as 800,000 American women each year. Yet only 15 percent of these women will receive any assessment or treatment. Let me repeat. With all we know and as smart as we are, only 15% of 800,000 women will get diagnosed and treated. That is so wrong on so many levels. Women are not being diagnosed because they’re not being educated and they’re not being screened. Untreated, the consequences of maternal mood disorders range from chronic, disabling depression to death. The impact of untreated maternal depression on infants/children ranges from behavioral and learning disabilities to depression and, in the worst case scenarios, death from infanticide.
Specifically, the MOTHERS Act will help new moms by:
- Providing important education and screening on postpartum depression (PPD) that can lead to early identification and treatment. The legislation includes two grants to help healthcare providers educate, identify and treat PPD.
- Expanding important research to improve and discover new treatments, diagnostic tools and educational materials for providers. Since the exact cause of PPD isn’t known, research continues to be the key to unlocking the mystery of this condition.
In addition, Senators Obama and Clinton are also both co-sponsors of the MOTHERS Act now as well. This act is named for Melanie Blocker Stokes who leapt to her death because of postpartum psychosis that was not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. How many other news stories have we read and clucked our tongues at or shook our heads at, thanking the Lord silently it wasn’t our family? I even recently posted on a story about a mom that shot her baby and herself while in the midst of battling postpartum depression. How many families personally have you known that have suffered with a postpartum mood disorder? More than you realize…
Now the frustrating part is that there is a few people out there convinced this act is some sort of conspiracy to drug all new mothers or some such nonsense. Come on. Puh-lease. This particular movement are the ones getting their voice heard, and unfortunately, we moms who have suffered need to SPEAK UP. Those of you who KNOW moms who have suffered need to SPEAK UP – for research, for screening, for training of healthcare professionals.
Oh, I know what you’re asking yourself. How can I help? I have FABULOUS news for you! You can email ALL of the following people with thirty seconds of your time. Seriously. I’m NOT kidding. I even did it myself and I can vouch for you that it works.
|President George W. Bush|
|Mr. John McCain|
|Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton|
|Senator Barack Obama|
|Vice President Richard B. Cheney|
|Your U.S. Senators|
|Your U.S. House Representative|
Go to this page, sign your name, fill out your name, address, email, and phone number to the right and click submit and off it goes! THAT easy. That many emails. Form letter already done for you. I promptly received back three emails thanking me for my email/comments. Unfortunately, two were from Clinton and Obama thinking it was about their campaign (*rolling my eyes*) but hopefully SOMEONE will read it and my voice will be heard.
I had a delightful surprise regarding the third one. It was just an email in the subject line really saying “Thank you for your email” from my U.S. Representative’s Office – Ander Crenshaw. Not five minutes later I had a phone call from Washington D.C. – a staff member personally called to thank me for my email and taking the time to email their office about this MOTHERS Act, and that the email would be printed and passed along to Rep. Crenshaw. He was very nice. And I was impressed.
Not such a bad experience for my short foray into politics today, huh?
In all seriousness, PLEASE do take the time today to make your voice heard about this issue, if you feel so led. Its so important for moms like me who have suffered from such a horrible illness.