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Time Magazine and The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act

By Expert HERWriter
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Mainstream media is the primary news source for most Americans seeking to learn the facts and form opinions. Major networks, publications and reputable Web sites are powerful resources which help citizens clarify issues of social relevance. The responsibility these news organizations bear to present objective information about crucial pending legislation has long been the proud mission of respected journalists, news editors and, most recently, bloggers.

Some, like CBS Cares, raise the bar to ethical heights by staying out of politics and presenting unbiased, empirically-based information to educate consumers about social, mental health and health care conditions. Lamentably, such judicious use of media power is not always maintained.

Time Magazine (which has changed ownership over the years) is struggling like all print media to retain subscriptions and news stand sales. Its once bountiful pages have been greatly reduced as the economic burdens of publishing takes its toll on the industry. One would hope then that striving for objective journalistic excellence would be even more critical, lest speculative reporting hasten a publication’s descent to tabloid status.

The recent article which appeared, “The Melancholy of Motherhood,” presents a thinly-veiled bias against life-saving legislation, The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, which continues its steady march toward adoption.

The article was researched, outreach made to many who attested to the critical need for this bill. Several of our nation’s most prominent PPD researchers such as Dr. Katherine Wisner and Dr. Michael O’Hara were interviewed; however, some comments were taken out of context to apparently support an editorial view.

Completely ignored were any reference to the interview with Katherine Stone, author of Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the U.S. on postpartum depression, or any attempt to interview Former NJ First Lady Mary Jo Codey who, along with her husband, spearheaded our nation’s first PPD legislation, which has led to the saving of so many lives in New Jersey.

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A web newspaper can be very helpful for those who are in need of quick information. Newpaper companies are now having a move from printed periodical to its online version. Finding a sense of online existence as an entity is crucial for newspapers that have gone entirely online, or magazines that share the same fate, and the same for newspapers looking at the same fate eventually. Since the Kindle came out, the future of newspapers being printed might be shorter lived than they had feared, but they have to figure out how they're going to get customers to frequent their service, and how to get them to pay for it. Online newspapers will need to be able to justify payday cash advances by meeting customer demand somehow.

November 20, 2009 - 1:40am
EmpowHER Guest

Typically when I've spoken with someone who opposes the Mother's Act, that person has never actually read the bill or has misinterpreted the meaning of the bill. The Mother's Act is about education and research, not medication - contrary to the fear mongers' rhetoric. The portrayal of the issue in the TIME article was not only misleading to the public, it was inaccurate on many points.

For instance, although the Mother's Act does not mandate screening, the use of validated screening tools are excellent and effective barometers. Screening is not used for diagnosis but rather highlight potential problems so that appropriate supports are then made available to aid in the prevention of postpartum depression. I was never screened nor offered any type of support, thus I suffered years of life-threatening depression after the births of both my children.

Pregnancy and postpartum are the periods when women are at their highest risk for developing mood and anxiety disorders, sometimes for the very first time. A history of depression (or other mood or anxiety disorder) makes her higher risk, but no woman is immune. This article was biased at best, and potentially damaging. It's essential that those of us in the know speak our hearts.

Dr. Shoshana Bennett
Clinical Psychologist, Keynote Speaker
Author, Postpartum Depression For Dummies

July 18, 2009 - 8:50am

Susan -

So absolutely wonderfully stated.

The author of this article contacted me as well but I did not have an opportunity to speak with her. After reading the piece, it seems that it would not have mattered if I had.

As a mother who has survived two episodes of Postpartum OCD (one untreated due to physician ignorance, one somewhat treated), I stand in full support of the MOTHER'S Act.


Because I've read the bill. Because I've survived ignorance, stigma, and physician inadequacy. I've come to know compassion, understanding and what it means to to reach behind me in order to provide what I so desperately hoped for while I lost in the dark hold of postpartum depression.

As a peer advocate and supporter for women with Postpartum Mood Disorders, I often have mothers approach me requesting information for natural treatments. And you know what? I provide them with that information. I passionately believe in supporting mothers as they journey on their road and make decisions that are right for THEM and their families regardless of what those choices may be. It is not up to me to pass judgement or scare them/shame them into choosing certain types of treatment. To do so would be irresponsible and unethical. It is up to their private discussion with their physician. The most I can do is to guide them towards research (either negative or positive) which will allow them to then make their own informed decision about their treatment.

It is absolutely tragic that a piece of legislation capable of providing so much hope and support to American Mothers has become a pawn of the anti-PHARMA movement. I have no doubt that as the facts regarding the history of the MOTHER'S Act and the potential life-saving value it's implementation carries for Mothers in the US are uncovered by more and more, the argument against this legislation will fade into the darkness.

New families deserve support. Struggling moms don't need to be shamed into remaining silent. They need to be EmpowHered to speak up, speak out, and be confident that their physician will know what they are doing. No mother needs to garner their confidence to admit something isn't quite right only to be shut down or improperly treated. This is WHY the MOTHERS ACT needs to be passed.

Lauren Hale

July 16, 2009 - 7:21pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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