As if it’s not enough that we already face enough during PPD, the stigma, the refusal of acknowledgement, the confusion over baby blues, postpartum depression, other mood disorders, and Postpartum Psychosis – then along comes an article like this one: Woman found insane in Baby Blues Case seeks Sanity Restoration with the subtitle specifying: Sheryl Massip was found not guilty by reason of insanity 20 years ago for killing her infant son while suffering from post-partum psychosis.
Cover your ears. Prepare your eyes. i’m about to yell. And I mean YELL.
THE BABY BLUES ARE NOT AT ALL SIMILAR TO
Get your facts straight Mr. Welborn. (by the way, you can email him and call him (714 834-3784.) Let him know that he is seriously mistaken with his usage of terms.
Let’s revisit the facts, shall we?
According to an article by Helen Jones at the Postpartum Support International website, the baby blues affect up to 80% of new moms and involve crying for no reason or general stress or anxiety that dissipates after the first few weeks.
Within the same article, Jones defines Postpartum Psychosis as:
Postpartum Psychosis (PPP)
The onset is usually sudden, with symptoms including: delusions (strange beliefs) and/or hallucinations; feeling very irritated, hyperactive and unable to sleep; significant mood changes; and using poor judgment in making decisions. Women who are more vulnerable are individuals who have a previous history of psychiatric disorders, previous postpartum mood disorders, or a family history of psychiatric disorders. Women who display any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately. Family members should be alert for these symptoms as well, since they are often able to recognize serious symptoms sooner than the mother does.
Do these even SOUND like they’re in the same ball park?
In fact, Baby Blues aren’t even classified as a mental health disorder.
Could referring to PPP as the baby blues scare a brand new mother who may be feeling a little weepy or be starting to become seriously depressed? HECK YEAH.
To make matters worse, Mr. Welborn also later refers to PPP as an extreme form of Postpartum Depression. Let me make one thing crystal clear. POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS NOT THE SAME THING AS POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS. It’s an entirely different creature consisting of a break with reality. From what I understand, Postpartum Depression cannot develop into Postpartum Psychosis. (I’m doing some checking into that and will get back with you regarding research on that point)
I am very disappointed in Mr. Welborn’s apparent lack of tact and compassion for new mothers struggling with this range of disorders. And even more disappointed that the newspaper he works for would publish this article without such a brazen irresponsibility and lack of concrete understanding into the condition on which they are reporting. VERY DISAPPOINTED. Did I mention I’m pissed too? Or have you already figured that out?
Those of you who either read this blog regularly or know me should recognize that I don’t do this very often but when I do, I mean it and I am truly, deeply saddnened that this is still happening. Media sensationalism of these cases is a barrier to treatment for women – I’ve had many women share with me that they or their husbands are fearful of admitting they have postpartum mood issues for fear that what happens to the women they read about in the paper may happen to them. UGH! I can’t personally guarantee that you won’t develop PPP but I CAN tell you that it is rare – extremely rare BUT these cases are the ones who make the news. Not the positive cases of recovery – no – the ones that end in sheer tragedy and will bring in viewers.
Email Mr. Welborn. Call him. Contact the OC Register’s Editorial Staff and Operating Management. Let them know we won’t stand for this. Let them know that if they’re going to cover a PPD story they need to get their facts straight and focus on the positive rather than the negative. BE SENSITIVE not only to the people in the story but the people who may be reading the story. They owe us that much.