A life-saving film has been created. Dark Side of the Full Moon is a documentary about when motherhood meets mental health.
Earlier this week, the production team sent me an early viewing code. I watched it tonight. And let me just say that this film got me fired up.
At the end, Writer/Director Maureen Fura says, “This story could have been about how a group of women, who had never had a mental illness, suddenly at pregnancy and postpartum, found themselves in the midst of a mental health crisis. But the real story is how the most common complication of childbirth could be the best kept secret of motherhood.”
I urge you to watch this film. If you are able to make time tomorrow or Saturday, the Producer has provided a special discount viewing code: JAN2015.
But even if you don’t have a chance to watch it by Saturday, I encourage you to pay the full price because we NEED to spread the word so that the secret can be demystified.
1 in 7 women in the United States will experience a postpartum mood disorder.
Stop and think about your circle of friends and your extended family. Count the last seven to have had a baby. Chances are one (or even two because not all cases are accounted for because many do not seek treatment) have PPD.
Or, like me, maybe one of them experienced postpartum psychosis. I was the 1 out of 1,000. I had been previously been diagnosed with Type 1 bipolar disorder. And yet, discussions on postpartum mood disorders never took place.
This needs to change. We need to have these conversations.
One of the big take-aways from the film is that there is a huge disconnect between OB-GYNs and Psychiatrists/Therapists. It’s almost as if neither wants to take responsibility for a mom struggling with a perinatal mood disorder. Part of the reality is that they have very little training in maternal psychiatric disorders. Why not when so many women (1.3 million women annually – more women get postpartum depression than breast cancer ever year) are affected?
The stories you hear will shock you. They will have you in tears. They will rock you to the core.
But they NEED to be heard.
This fantasy of motherhood being the most wonderful, endearing, perfect time of our lives is not reality. Having a baby is the most terrifying, nerve-wracking, anxiety-provoking event in a woman’s life. Everything changes in an instant. Let’s be real here.
And since the professionals don’t understand how to help us, it’s time we take matters into our own hands.
We can speak out and share our stories so that other women and their families can begin to understand the signs and symptoms. So that they won’t be afraid to reach out for help before a tragedy occurs. The more of us who can stand up and say, “I was sick, but I got treatment and I survived. And I tell my story to help others realize they are not alone,” the more lives we will save.
Maternal mental illness is complicated. But until we start talking about it openly, like any other illness in our body – cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, a broken leg, asthma, etc, etc, etc. – things will remain the same.
And we cannot let that happen. We cannot let mothers and babies slip through the cracks.
Please watch this film. Tell your friends and family about it. Share it because you may save a life by sharing it. Start these conversations.
If you’re currently in need of help for a possible perinatal mood disorder, here are some great resources to start with:
Postpartum Progress – the most widely-read website on postpartum mood disorders, also a non-profit organization focused on increasing awareness and providing peer support
Postpartum Support Interntional – if you need someone to talk to immediately, call the PSI Warmline at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)
and if you’re in the Washington, DC metro area, the DMV-PMH Resource Guide is a directory of specialized mental health providers for pregnancy and postpartum compiled by an incredible Labor & Delivery nurse and her team
The only way we’ll change the fact that postpartum mood disorders are motherhood’s biggest secret is by raising our voices collectively. Together we can force this change. These are secrets we no longer need to keep.