Miriam Carey – A Tragic Example of How Statistics on Postpartum Depression Are Wrong
My blog has never really touched on the subject of postpartum depression, and I’m really not sure why because JD at HonestMom was one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. This brave woman is open and honest about her struggles with postpartum depression, and has been receiving a lot of attention for her efforts to remove the stigma associated with it. But why is JD one of the few mothers willing to share her experience with the emotional and mental changes that come with motherhood (not to mention the hormones!)? Her blog is full of literally thousands of comments from moms, with comments basically saying, “You’re singing my song, sister! Thank you for letting the world know that it’s OK to admit that you are struggling…Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone…” and so on. If only Miriam Carey had known that she was not a horrible person for feeling the way she did and more importantly, that she was not alone in feeling this way, maybe, just maybe, the tragic events that unfolded at the Capitol Building on Thursday could have had a different ending. Now, this is not to say that if Miriam had read a blog post, it would have stopped her…but perhaps if she didn’t feel so alone & without options, she would have thought twice before acting.
While the story linked above has some great Postpartum Depression resources, there was a certain statistic that shook me to the core: “PostPartum Depression affects up to 10-15% of mothers within the first year after giving birth, according to federal estimates.” (Source: cbsnews.com). I call shenanigans, and here’s why: those “estimates” are so skewed that it’s almost laughable. That 10-15% number? That’s the number of women who actually seek help for their PPD, NOT the actual number of women who suffer in silence, just like Miriam Carey.
My personal story of Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety are not what this post is about; but I will write about it…sooner rather than later. This post is about how incredibly sad it is that the majority of our country thinks that Postpartum Depression is some rare phenomenon that only affects the weak. What can we as communities of women (and mothers) do for our part to prevent more Miriam Carey stories? GET HELP. You know yourself, and you know when things aren’t right. Maybe medications are right for you, maybe they aren’t; but by stepping up and telling your doctor how you are feeling, you will be contributing to lifting the stigma surrounding PPD as well as making that lame statistic more realistic. Being a new mom is hard enough – let’s not make it even worse on someone who is struggling with the transition by making them feel ashamed of asking for help. There’s a saying somewhere that says something like, “Smile as much as you can at other people, because you never know what battles they are fighting. That smile may be the only bright spot of their day.” Or something like that. You all get the drift.
Let’s not let Miriam Carey’s death be in vein. This is the perfect time to speak out (even if it’s in a post on a blog with a very small audience – heeey, guys!) and let our Mama Roars be heard.
Note: I know there are other mom blogs that discuss PPD, but I’ve been following JD since I started my blogging journey so I’ve chosen her as my example. Opinions in this post are mine, and I have no affiliation with honestmom.com other than being a fan. J Please feel free to leave other great PPD resources in the comments section below.
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