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Last week a mother, Miriam Casey, was shot by police after trying to ram the gates of the White House and striking a Secret Service Agent with her car. Her one-year old-daughter was with her.
I heard the news as I sat at my kitchen table with my husband. Hearing that a woman was acting the way she was AND had her baby in the car with her, I immediately said in dismay, “I wonder if she has a postpartum mood disorder?” It turns out she had, indeed, been diagnosed with postpartum psychosis- a very rare postpartum mood and anxiety disorder- and was under the treatment of a psychiatrist who was stepping down her medication.
Today, I stand in solidarity with Miriam Casey.
Like me, she was a mother.
Like me, she loved her child.
Like me, she had good relationships with colleagues and neighbors.
Like me, she suffered from a postpartum mood & anxiety disorder.
Miriam- not some nameless ‘other’- Miriam was like us. I’m not shocked by this event- horrified, yes- but not shocked. Many women suffer from a PMAD during their first year postpartum (or whenever breastfeeding ceases) that causes them to be different than their true selves. Most of us don’t suffer as badly as Miriam did. And she could have been me. She could have been you or your wife or your daughter or your sister. Because Miriam isn’t some sort of monster that rose from the depths- she’s the one of the 950,000 women who suffer from a postpartum mood disorder EACH YEAR.
Please watch your mamas. If there are any signs that she’s experiencing depression or if she acts erratically between 1 and 12 months after the delivery of a baby, reach out to a physician or counselor for help. Getting mama the care she needs- and likely can’t reach out for herself- may circumvent more tragic deaths like Miriam’s.
(Content below this line is not Hearthside generated. Please disregard.)
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