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Kristin Davis: Why Are We Fighting Against Each Other Over a Bill That Will Save Lives??

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I continue to be amazed at the backlash that has generated in response to the much-needed, ground-breaking Mother's Act that is currently before the US Senate. Apparently just a handful of women are behind this backlash, however they're raising quite a stink. And they appear not to have actually read the bill. Rather, they obviously have their own agenda regarding SSRI's and thus have twisted the actual intent of the bill to fuel their agenda.

So let's back up...... It has taken 7 years for this piece of legislation to get to where it is today. Here is a synopsis of what the bill is really about, taken from the Postpartum Support International web site:

"H.R. 20 prioritizes research and treatment of postpartum depression and psychosis by expanding and intensifying research through the National Institutes of Health and the National Institutes of Mental Health on the causes, diagnoses and treatments of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.
H.R. 20 also encourages the National Institutes of Health to work in partnership with local communities to coordinate and broadcast heightened public service awareness about postpartum depression and its symptoms. H.R. 20 further provides grants to groups that have a track record of working with women who suffer from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis."

A comment on the bill by U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush: "Because of the failure of our nation's health system to effectively address the medical ramifications of postpartum depression and psychosis, I will continue to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to join me, Melanie's mom and millions of concerned families throughout the country to ensure enactment of this legislation," Chairman Rush said.

If the group of women who are attempting to sabotage this bill were to actually read it, they'd find that it's not about "pushing pills." It's not "big pharma" taking over and making sure that every new mom is diagnosed with PPD so they can be prescribed SSRI's. That's a bunch of crap.

It's about spreading awareness of PPD, to the public as well as to the medical community. It's about education -- every new mom who leaves the hospital will be armed with information about PPD. It's about actually helping new moms who are suffering from a postpartum mood disorder and who are now left either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. It's also about educating the medical community on how to look for signs of postpartum depression in their patients and to make sure they get the help they need, whether that's talk therapy, an anti-depressant, a support group, a postpartum doula, etc.

I nearly lost my life to postpartum depression after the birth of my third baby and I know firsthand what it's like to be misdiagnosed and left untreated. The doctor who failed to diagnose my PPD literally threw up his hands in front of me and told me to "go home and be a mother to my babies." I wouldn't wish this kind of mistreatment for any other woman, and yet it's happening to new moms out there EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's about time a bill like this gets passed so that we can not only increase awareness of this insidious, and yet easily treatable disorder, but also save lives. Anyone who is speaking out against this bill because of an issue with anti-depressants/pharma clearly doesn't understand its purpose.

I believe that we can all agree that when something works to bring a PPD/PPP sufferer back from the abyss, we should all be grateful, whether that "something" is yoga, a support group, a loving mother-in-law, a helpful neighbor who cooks dinners, a postpartum doula, acupuncture, prayer, music therapy, a supportive husband, a help-line counselor, meditation, a sugar pill, an SSRI, massage therapy, chanting, whatever.... For me personally, a combination of talk therapy, prozac and yoga saved my life. For some others, this would not work. All brains are different, with very different chemistry make-ups.

Regardless, I believe it's time we stop casting judgments. We should pull together as women who care about other women, to bring an end to the needless suffering of those with perinatal mood disorders. Let's focus on the positive and stop bickering about a bill that will do a lot of good.

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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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