Something in Common — Blog Day for The MOTHERS Act

Wed, October 24, 2007

Women in Politics

Being a mother by adoption, there are some things my motherhood experience has not included — stretch marks, 36 hours of labor, epidurals. But there have been other challenges.

PunditGirl was about 12 months old when she arrived home with us, so she was pretty much sleeping through the night. I smugly thought that I had escaped the infamous mommy sleep deprivation.

You’ll be pleased to know that my smugness caught up with me — PunditGirl didn’t sleep through the night from about the age of 2 1/2 until 5. I am now intimately familiar with this universal motherhood experience!

I did not expect the depression, though. Since I was not pregnant for nine months and didn’t have all those crazy hormones racing through my body in the lead-up to my name becoming “Mommy,” I was not prepared for the hugeness of the feelings that would sweep over me.

Yes, I was incredibly happy that I had finally been able to become a mother. And PunditGirl was an amazingly inquisitive and busy baby. But why didn’t I feel those happy feelings more?

I felt depressed and irritable and abandoned and angry. For months.

In the blink of an eye, I went from a woman who had worked for 20 years to achieve the nice office with the good title to the one with spit-up all over me and no one to see or talk to from six in the morning until after six at night. As my new PunditBaby napped, I wandered the house wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into, occasionally checking to see if there were any old Xanax in the medicine cabinet, prescribed, but not taken, after a particularly bad break-up with a former fiancee many years before.

I know some people are going to say, well, that’s not really postpartum depression.

Maybe I didn’t have the requisite hormones coursing through my system to make it a clinically diagnosable condition, but I’m here to tell you that I had it, whatever you want to call it, and it was directly related to my sudden and complete immersion into the world of motherhood — a world that was as foreign and unforgiving to me as if I had been dropped into the middle of the Sahara desert with no water or shade.

I know I’m not the only adoptive mother who was in the same boat.

However we experience it, it is real. And it’s time for more people to realize that it’s not just some weepy woman thing that will go away on its own. For some people it does, but for many it’s more than that.

Why is it that if there’s a condition that is unique to women, it gets short shrift in the medical community? Lack of treatment for postpartum depression is just one of them. But finally, there are some people in Congress who want to do something about it.

That’s why I’m blogging today for the Mother’s Act that’s been introduced in Congress to help raise awareness about postpartum depression among mothers, require health care providers to screen mothers for the symptoms of postpartum depression and train professionals to help diagnose and treat this depression.

Maternal health is neglected in many ways — this is one of the more subtle ones globally.

If you can, take a minute today to E-mail or call your Senator and ask for their support of the Mother’s Act.

I know we probably can’t count on any support from Tom Cruise, but maybe the rest of us can pick up his slack.

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14 Responses to “Something in Common — Blog Day for The MOTHERS Act”

  1. Sunshine Says:

    Hormones or not, the transition to parenthood is a rude awakening. The utter responsibility of it is overwhelming, knowing the another human being needs you utterly and completely….it’s SCARY!!!

    And, oy, that Tom Cruise interview… when I re-read the transcript for that, it makes me frightened how many people listen to his crap because he’s famous. Moms need people on their team, not criticizing them for taking a prescription to deal with depression. He is such a tool. I wonder if Scientology would have helped Andrea Yates?? Hmm, Tom?

  2. PT-LawMom Says:

    I definitely think it’s more the transition from career to home that takes its toll. Your whole identity shifts and it’s hard to feel competent when you don’t get feedback from this new little creature. I think women definitely need to receive more support and understanding from both healthcare professionals and society at large. And they need to stop chalking everything up to hormones!

  3. impromptublogger Says:

    Parenthood is a transition period whether biological or not.

    And no, it doesn’t make me feel better that Punditgirl didn’t sleep. My dd didn’t sleep through the night until she was 2 1/2 and it was NOT fun. I’m glad you’re no getting the rest you need.

    I only had very minor PPD a day or two after I got home, which I attribute more to sheet exhaustion than anything else. Luckily both dh and my mother-in-law were there to help out.

  4. Redsy (formerly CrankMama) Says:

    I’m with sunshine… You don’t need hormones to feel the heat, baby. Becoming a mother requires all the help we can muster from all the sources available.

    I’m the queen of outside help.. I simply cannot imagine how those without my resources get by…

    Thanks for this reminder, PM

  5. Denise Says:

    Great great great post. Thank you!

  6. Ashley Winters Says:

    Great post! People think adoption is the easy way out. Boy, are they wrong!!

  7. Queen of the Mayhem Says:

    First of all….stretch marks STINK…you did not miss anything there (because I am sure I read somewhere in that post that you were saddened not having them…hee-hee)

    Second of all…I think it is the experience of a new baby that can make things so difficult! For me, it was the overwhelming guilt of being sad and irritable. I felt like I should be happy and completely fufilled when my daughter arrived, while I secretly felt desperate and abandoned!

    I am DEFINITELY calling my senator. As a mother who needed medication with both of my children, it is so important! Sometimes it helps just to know you are not a terrible person…to know you are not alone!

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Katherine Stone Says:

    Thank you so much for writing about this today. If your readers haven’t had a chance to call their Senators yet, I hope you will encourage them to do it before the end of this week. Each call is SO important.

  9. Amanda Says:

    It ain’t easy. Thank goodness we are able to harness the energy and passion of this community and take a stand. I posted on this over at Tumble Dry, here’s hoping we get the kind of play Tommy did.

  10. Laura Says:

    i struggled with PPD after the birth of my 3rd child. i also lived the emotional upheaval that was our son’s adoption process.
    i contacted my senators. thanks for the info and linkage.

  11. WhyMommy Says:

    Great article, PunditMom. I’m going to contact my Senators today!

  12. Jenny Says:

    Amen sister, amen.

  13. Julie Pippert Says:

    Are the hormones required for that diagnosis? I can’t think why. I didn’t have my hormone levels checked when I got (mis)diagnosed.

    I think you explained really well how it feels, however and whenever it happens.

    Using My Words

  14. Damselfly Says:

    This was really a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

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