Skip to main content

For Melanie

When Melanie Stokes become pregnant, she seemed to have everything in place. She was a successful pharmaceutical sales manager happily married to a physician. She had a supportive family and her share of brains and beauty. She was a radiant pregnant woman, eager to meet the child inside of her and to begin her new life as a mother.

On February 23, 2001, Sommer Skyy was born, beautiful and healthy. When Sommer was only a month old, Melanie's depression had grown so severe that she had stopped eating and drinking and could no longer swallow. She began to have paranoid thoughts about others--she thought that her neighbors across the street had all closed their blinds because they thought she was a bad mother. She became gaunt, hallow-eyed, a shell of her former self. Then, she began searching for a way to end her life.


Melanie's was hospitalized three times in seven weeks. She was given four combinations of anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant medications. She also underwent electroconvulsive therapy. Her family rallied around her with all their strength, but in the end, Melanie jumped to her death from the twelfth floor of a Chicago hotel. [link]


Today legislation that bears her name may finally be passed and signed into law to provide funding for research into postpartum depression and create an awareness campaign. The House passed their bill last week. On the Senate side, Senator Menendez & Senator Durbin have introduced the Mothers Act bill. Both would accomplish the same thing except the House bill has an interesting amendment attached to it. It wouldn't just look into postpartum depression
SEC. 104. LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF RELATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONSEQUENCES FOR WOMEN OF RESOLVING A PREGNANCY.

(a) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that the Director of the Institute may conduct a nationally representative longitudinal study (during the period of fiscal years 2008 through 2018) of the relative mental health consequences for women of resolving a pregnancy (intended and unintended) in various ways, including carrying the pregnancy to term and parenting the child, carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the child for adoption, miscarriage, and having an abortion. This study may assess the incidence, timing, magnitude, and duration of the immediate and long-term mental health consequences (positive or negative) of these pregnancy outcomes.
When I first heard that this amendment was attached, I hit the roof & flew off the handle. I am just sick and tired of the anti's attaching anti-abortion language to anything that moves. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), who opposes abortion rights, said that although postpartum depression is a serious disease, it is "just as important to know the effects of adoption, miscarriage and abortion in order to properly help women" (Abrams, AP/Google.com, 10/15). I personally think they will end up being shot in the foot by this amendment.

Post-abortion syndrome has been shown in an APA study to be very rare. This is years after Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, despite his own feelings & a lot of political pressure, stood his ground and said there was no evidence that abortion was a risk to women's health. While I am still upset that money will be wasted on studying something that I think is already known, perhaps one more study will shut them up. Oh, wait, I forget, we're dealing with people who still cling to the idea that abortion gives you breast cancer despite study after study.

But I think the most damning report may come out of the adoption study. I personally support adoption and think it is one of the most courageous things a woman can do. BUT...if a woman desperately does not want to carry a pregnancy to term, I think that may cause more psychological damage. And there goes the anti's mantra of "Don't abort, adopt!" If the woman wants to carry to term and relinquish their child to another family, great. But if being pregnant makes a woman crazy, let's not force her. I firmly believe there are situations where abortion is better than adoption.

PSI: Blog Day for the Mothers ActThe silver lining? Perhaps we will have a better understanding as a society of how to treat & heal women who miscarry.

In the end, I hope that every single dollar goes towards solid science and an awesome PR campaign. I can't wait to see what comes of it.

To take action on the Mothers Act bill, click here.

This post was in support of BlogHers Act: Blog Day for the MothersAct

Cross-posted at Chicago Moms Blog.

Technorati tags: Blogher, BlogHers Act, depression, postpartum, Melanie Stokes, abortion, miscarriage, adoption

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for writing about Blog Day for the MOTHERS Act. I hear the phone lines were pretty busy today, so if your readers haven't had a chance to call or to get through yet, I hope you'll encourage them to do so before the end of the week. Every single call is important to all the new moms out there.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your support of the MOTHERS Act. Too often postpartum depression is a problem that goes unnoticed, and most women with PPD never receive any type of treatment. PPD is a treatable illness, and it is essential that we continue to educate ourselves and others about this important issue.

For more information on PPD, visit us at The MGH Center for Women's Mental Health.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages. Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops. Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet show

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc