A University of North Carolina hospital opened up a free-standing Postpartum Depression clinic, the first of its kind in this country (NPR, 8/14/2001). Here is the article: Postpartum Depression Clinic. This is amazing, and 100% needed. The clinic is designed for women suffering from postpartum depression. They have outpatient and inpatient resources for these women, such as pumps for breastfeeding mothers, and extended visiting hours so the mother and child can develop a routine while the mother is seeking treatment. The women can feel safe going into this clinic, knowing that the staff that will be helping them know all about postpartum depression, and how to treat it. That is the crucial part.
The reason I did not seek help, at first, was fear. Fear that the doctors would not understand what I was experiencing, and fear that my daughter would be taken away from me. When I did seek treatment, the doctor did not, in fact, understand me. My fears had been confirmed, at least in that sense, and that is why many women do not seek treatment. Many doctors do not understand the woman’s mind while under postpartum depression. My doctor said I was just being bitchy! Why would anyone want to seek help for anything if they know the doctor’s will not understand them at all?
On top of not understanding the postpartum mind, women who are admitted for inpatient treatment are often put into a mental health ward designed for schizophrenic adults and addicts. The needs of a PPD suffering woman are not the same as someone with schizophrenia or addiction. The women need time to bond with their baby while undergoing treatment. We need people who understand that most of us do not intend on acting on our dark thoughts, and need to be able to spend time with our children in order to learn how to cope and heal from the depression.
This clinic will help combat that, and I hope this clinic idea catches on. I hope more hospitals across the country create these kinds of clinics. I am positive if one had been available around me, I would have sought treatment there. Would it have been scary and difficult? Yes, but knowing that the staff understood my mind and what I was experiencing would have made it worth it.
If you know someone in North Carolina, and they suffer from postpartum depression, let them know about this clinic. I truly believe this clinic can help so many women. Not only will it help them, but it will help their babies and the rest of their family. Petitions and outspoken requests for similar clinics are needed, as well. This country needs places like this, the women of this country need places like this. I hope I see more of these in the near future. I wish they had already been around.