This weekend I wrote a post about how the media so often gets postpartum depression wrong. It’s primarily because they don’t have enough knowledge. They don’t know how what they say, or what they leave out, can hurt moms.
Today presents another example of that. Ann-Marie from the blog Do Not Faint appeared in a story on Good Morning America this morning about mothers who take medication. Here is the segment:
Anne-Marie was less than pleased with how the segment came out, and wrote a blog post about it in response. Here’s some of what she said:
At worst, your piece came off as pressure to use meds only in emergencies and to get off as soon as possible … I am not only disappointed, I am angry on behalf of the mothers you shamed today. Now, many of them will have to answer questions like, “Do you really still need medication? Are you sure?”
My interpretation of the story is that it gave the indication, perhaps unintentionally, that moms everywhere are chomping down on mouthfuls of Xanax to get over bumps in the road of motherhood. The reporter never mentioned that at least two of the moms featured were on medication because they had been diagnosed with mental illness. It really bugged me that the segment didn’t tie this issue to real illness. Comments like “daily pill regimen” and “depending on a little pill to get through the day” irked me.
This is why I’m so grateful Dr. Jennifer Ashton came to the rescue at the end of the piece to provide real, helpful information that was actually correct! She talked about the fact that there are many mothers who have been diagnosed with mental illness for whom taking medication is not a “fun to do” just to get through a tough day. She also rightly suggested there are doctors who hand medication out to moms who likely don’t need it, and moms who are not being monitored during the course of the medication by a trained mental health professional. Thank goodness she wrapped up this piece, because otherwise I wouldn’t have liked it one bit.