Last week when I went to the grocery store, a magazine caught my eye. On the cover of In Touch magazine was Kendra Wilkinson, and she was telling her story. For the last two years, she has been suffering from postpartum depression. It was so bad, she tried committing suicide, and was hospitalized for her depression. She is opening up about her struggles, and that is so, so important for bringing this issue to the public.
She’s not the first celebrity to talk about their experiences with postpartum depression. Brooke Shields wrote a book sharing her story. Her book was actually what made me realize what was going on with me. It put a name to my problems, because what she went through was almost exactly what I had. Reading about someone else’s experiences that were like mine was comforting, and it being a celebrity made me even more comfortable. If a celebrity had suffered the same way as me, then it must be more common than I thought. That may not be the most logical of thought, since we as a society seem to put more weight in celebrity words. That is why is it’s important for the media to talk more about PPD, and shed more light on the topic.
Last week, Anderson Cooper talked on his new daytime show about women eating their placenta to ward off postpartum depression. Dr. Sanjay Gupta said at the beginning of the segment that there was not any research performed on this topic, and there was nothing to prove that it worked. However, if women want to eat it, and they feel good, then more power to them, right? The entire segment, PPD was mentioned in passing, as supplemental information on placenta eating. This was a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Gupta to talk about what PPD is, but he never did. Anderson Cooper and Dr. Gupta are prominent members of the media, and could have (and should have) used their platform to at least mention what PPD actually is.
There is not enough serious talk on postpartum depression, especially in the media. If there was, there might be more understanding by those that have not experienced it. There might also be more mothers that seek help because they realize they are not alone. I didn’t read Brooke Shields’ book until a year or so after kiddo was born. That entire year leading up to it, I had never heard mention of postpartum depression, neither from my doctors or in the media. I think if I had, I might have sought help much sooner. Knowing that it’s more common than I had ever thought, and that there are women (and some men!) that have had the same experiences as me, could have helped me tremendously.
There needs to be a push for more talk in the mainstream media. A few blurbs here and there aren’t enough. Bullying has received a surge of attention lately because of teen/child suicides. This is amazing and wonderful that more attention has been brought to it, and the same can happen for PPD. Mothers attempt and commit suicide more often than you might think. Babies are harmed or killed in the most severe cases. That should be enough to bring some serious attention. That should be enough to discuss in the mainstream with prominent doctors and experts, mothers who have suffered, and dads too! That should be enough to bring discussion to end the stigma. More discussion in the mainstream could save lives! More people would understand, and recognize the warning signs of not just PPD, but suicide as well. More women might seek treatment, and not be ashamed to do so.
There are so many wonderful blogs out there on PPD. Women are sharing their stories, and reaching out to other women. This is amazing and important, but it needs to be taken to the next level. The media needs to use their voice, and celebrities need to use theirs too. PPD is nothing to be ashamed of, and if more attention was brought to this illness, then maybe we could bring more help and awareness to those who suffer. It’s not too much to ask for.
Email, tweet, or do whatever you can to get this illness in the mainstream. I think it’s important, as I know MANY others do too. It could save lives, and bring many of those suffering alone some comfort, and a push to seek treatment.
Kudos and love to those that have shared their story, every day moms and celebrity moms. Keep sharing! Even if you think nobody is listening, keep sharing. You never know who you might touch, or when. ❤