US Petition: Every mother, every time.

After my “blogathon” in which I’ve posted an original piece almost every day for over three months, I’ve reluctantly decided to divert my attention to completing my book. I won’t be posting so often, but I will still be blogging – it’s in my blood now.  I always knew that daily blogging was unrealistic for me to do forever.  But blogging has been way more fun than I anticipated.  Blogging has been challenging, it has introduced me to the practice of daily writing, and it has connected me with other super-cool writers in the blogosphere.

I’ve discovered that I can be disciplined enough to write on a daily basis for a longer amount of time than composing a five minute grocery list or emails! For someone who used to drop off her girls at school only to return home to lay in bed for hours incapacitated by bipolar medication side effects, this is huge.

That said, I am posting my first official “reblog” and I cannot think of a more worthy reblog to share with you.  It only takes a few minutes to register and sign this White House petition created by my inspiring Facebook friend Dr. Walker Karraa, which aims for every pregnant and postpartum woman to get mental health screening.  Your signature will potentially help countless mothers avoid going through the hell that I’ve suffered in my not being screened during pregnancy and postpartum.  If the petition is a success, mothers will get the early and appropriate care they so greatly deserve.  As of this morning, Friday, March 7th, there are only 317 signatures. Another 99, 683 signatures are required by the goal of April 4, 2014. Please share the link with everyone you know.  Of the petition, Dr. Karraa writes:

“Every mother, every time. Universal mental health screening for every pregnant and postpartum woman. Suicide is a leading cause of death for women during the first year after childbirth. 1 in 7 women will experience a mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or postpartum, yet nearly 50% remain untreated. In pregnancy, maternal mental illness negatively effects fetal development, and leads to adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and premature delivery. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can impair infant and early childhood cognitive and emotional development. Despite overwhelming empirical evidence, there is no universal mandate for care providers to screen pregnant and postpartum women for depression, anxiety, or family history of mental illness–a well established risk factor. Screen every mother, every time to prevent and treat perinatal mental illness.”

Lately I’ve noticed there has been more national attention to eradicating mental illness stigma.  Maybe even a sea change. While this is heartening, with various anti-stigma campaigns in full force, mental illness stigma (ESPECIALLY towards pregnant mothers) is festering.  Every now and then I check out the totally vacuous People magazine website.  This week People posted the headlining news story about a thirty-two-year-old pregnant mother who drove her minivan containing her children into the ocean in Florida.  Thank God there were eyewitnesses able to rescue them before everyone drowned.

This story made me incredibly sad, but I was about to become way more upset because I started reading the People readers’ comments in regard to that event.  (I usually don’t allow myself to read comments on the People website because many of them are full of hate, envy, and worst of all: ignorance.) The comments aren’t 100% bad by any means, but still….honestly…reading them gives you a pulse on many Americans’ views because this magazine has a huge readership; it’s probably bigger than the Huffington Post. I won’t quote any of them here, but I wanted to mention it because stigma is very much flourishing in our country.

Back to what’s most important: this petition.  So please, do something good with your day.  Take three minutes to hop over to the site, register, and sign.  Let your Facebook & Twitter & other social media channels know you did this (The petition site gives you an option to automatically do this.) and help us reach 100,000!

Thanks, and I’ll be back over the weekend. I can’t resist the lure of my little, ‘ol blog! 😉 Happy T.G.I.F.,