800,000 women in the United States will develop a diagnosable perinatal mood disorder this year. Only 15% of them will get any kind of treatment.
If you consider a population of 300 million, that's too many. As a nation, we treat our mothers appallingly. After all, a healthy baby is all that counts, right? It doesn't matter that a mother's body and rights were trampled on to get that healthy baby, does it? Even other mothers turn on each other over how we birth, feed, and care for our babies.
The Mothers' Act is a good start. It provides grants for education about postpartum depression. However, nothing will change until the social stigma of being affected by depression is eradicated.
The stories and voices of perinatal mood disorders are varied. They extend across social, economic, and racial boundaries. It's not just poor women, or white women, or rich women, or black women, or Hispanic women or middle-class women. It's all women.
In a nation that has the most advanced medical technology and the best doctors on the planet, we shame women who need help. "Cheer up!" "Buck up!" "You have a healthy baby, that's all that matters!"
We should be ashamed of ourselves. It's not all that matters.