Most moms wouldn’t ask their pediatricians to check them out if they thought something was wrong. After all, they specialize in children, not women. But what about postpartum depression?
In the early months of motherhood, moms spend more time at the pediatrician’s office than they do with their own doctors, so wouldn’t it make sense for pediatricians to know the signs and symptoms of a suffering mama?
People are starting to think so.
Thanks to social media, an article by Dr. Linda Chaudron describing how pediatricians can be an important line of defense against PPD is making the rounds. Even though it was published in 2003, people are beginning to pay attention to it now. You can find it here.
My pediatrician was the one that got me the help I needed after my own doctor insisted I was fine. By the time my son’s six-month appointment came around, she had seen us enough times to know that I wasn’t myself. She asked ME how I was feeling in a way that I felt like she just knew, and that’s when I asked her if she knew of someone who would actually listen to me and help me get better.
She took literally two minutes of her time and it changed our lives. She used the knowledge she already had, mixed it with compassion, and sent me on my way with the names and phone numbers of two doctors-a therapist and a general practitioner-who could take the reins. That’s it. No diagnosis, no prescriptions, just information on how I could get help.
That’s exactly what Dr. Chaudron’s paper suggests pediatricians do: take a very small amount of time, utilize knowledge and resources they already have, and pass the information on in a small way that can make a major difference.
So if you’re a mama that’s struggling or know of one, don’t overlook a pediatrician as a line of defense against the darkness. They help your babies, and they just might be able to help you. All you have to do is ask—but hopefully, they’ll ask first.