About 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in August. It's an illness that no mother should have to endure alone, in silence, or especially without treatment. Thankfully, Congress passed postpartum depression legislation that help moms battling PPD. It's an issue that continues to need nationwide attention.
As The Huffington Post reported, Rep. Katherine M. Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts, announced on Nov. 30 that her postpartum depression legislation, "Bringing Postpartum Depression of the Shadows Act," had passed in the House. It passed in the Senate on Wednesday, the HuffPost reported. The legislation provides federal grants to states to provide better treatment and screening for PPD.
Clark shared her motivation to introduce the bill in the press release announcing its passing:
No mom should feel alone while suffering from the pain, isolation, and frustration that comes with postpartum depression. The health and success of families include – and begin with – the whole health of our moms. The passage of the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act means we’re taking active steps to break down the stigmas that have kept moms from getting the care they need and deserve.
Doctors have long warned about the effects of PPD on mothers and families. According to a 2010 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, PPD can "have serious adverse effects on the mother and child relationship," which can "disrupt the infant’s development."
The CDC cites the following as symptoms of PPD:
Crying more often than usual.
Feelings of anger.
Withdrawing from loved ones.
Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby.
In an interview with the HuffPost, Clark said that her bill was inspired by the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project, for its aid for moms which includes "psychiatric consultation for behavioral health concerns and questions around medications when pregnant or breastfeeding."
Brining Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act is part of the H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act. Clark told the HuffPost that the bill affects "moms who suffer from the pain and isolation that come with postpartum depression, and they shouldn’t feel like they’re on their own..."
Clark's recently-passed legislation is certainly a victory for moms, and their families. Postpartum depression is too often brushed off as "mommy guilt"; on the flip side, too many mothers feel as though they are failing their children by feeling anything but joy about having a new child. This legislation will help combat both of those ideas, and that's a pretty big step forward.