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Taking mother blame to new heights: PPD and AOL

There are topics that I know I write about extremely well. Ones where my words ring across the blogosphere and have the power to move people and to change minds. On other topics, very important topics, it is other voices that have that power.

Please read:

Postpartum depression is real. Moms who suffer from it need help to be better today and tomorrow. To do right by themselves, their children and their families. They don't need to be classified as killers. Read Katherine and Catherine and Amy and Lauren. Spread the word. Please.

Image credit: Charlotte Spencer on flickr

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Reader Comments (16)

Thank you for writing this and help spreading the word!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Thank you, Annie. I read the original article earlier today and my head just about exploded.

However, the myth (perpetuated in Catherine's article) that you have to choose between breastfeeding and medication for depression/anxiety/etc in every case is infuriating!
It is not always the case. Women should do some research or insist their pharmacist or physician does - beyond the physicans' desk reference.
Not necessarily easy given the vulnerable position a woman suffering from PPD (and the usual new parenting stresses on top of it) and mental illness makes it difficult to self-advocate..

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterradmama

Thank you Annie.

And, based on the other commenter, I wanted to make sure to say that you don't have to choose between bfing and meds., or bfing and treatment for PPD. I think what Catherine meant is that she was made to feel as though she did. You are right, radmama, that there are definitely things you can do to get treatment for PPD and continue to BF if you want to.

Yes Radmama - I agree. I ended up in the hospital emergency room having a PPD breakdown. All I said was, I cannot stop breastfeeding but I need help (I truly thought it was the only thing I was doing well). I was put on two different drugs and both allowed me to both recover AND breastfeed.

Thanks so much for highlighting both these articles today. I tried to write my own response but not sure I adequately communicated how angry I am.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

And I certainly didn't mean to criticize Catherine's decision, I just wanted to put it out there that there may be choices available in any particular case.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterradmama

Thank you for raising this radmama. I added the following comment on Catherine's post:

Thank you for sharing your story Catherine. Stories like these are so powerful in helping people to understand what postpartum depression is like and helping them to understand how real it is.

I wanted to clarify one point, since people have since been commenting on it on my blog (where I linked to your post). Breastfeeding and medication for PPD is not always incompatible. Most doctors are not educated enough on which drugs are okay while nursing, but for a mom who is suffering from PPD and who feels like one of the few things she is doing right is nursing her child, finding a way to treat the PPD while allowing her to continue to nurse is critical.

There is some excellent info on this topic on the kellymom.com website, written by Dr. Thomas Hale, the leading expert in medications and lactation. Here is a link:


August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

You're welcome.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterradmama

I just remember that someone commented on my BlogHer 10 post saying that AOL handed out cards at BlogHer that said:

“AOL understands women, their passions and what kind of content enriches their lives. AOL connects women with the content, tools and conversations they care about.”

Seems they either do not understand women at all or they completely forgot that they do when they wrote this article.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I just edited the post to add a link to another post, which includes replies from a letter to Pat Brown, the investigator who made the horrible remarks printed by AOL.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I can't believe that today people still act like this and make horrible comments about PPD. It was pretty severe with my 1st. That is something I'm trying to get up the courage to blog about.
That was such a dark time in my life. I keep thinking about it so maybe it's time I let my voice be heard on the subject.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDarcel @ The Mahogany Way

You're the first I've heard of this. I just posted about it, basically linking to the same posts you mentioned so others can find them. Hope that's okay.


August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSt. Louis Smart Mama

Thank you for sharing such an important message. And I appreciate the information about BF shared by the commenters. It was a bit difficult to leap beyond the ego in your first sentences, though, even if they are true...

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

"It was a bit difficult to leap beyond the ego in your first sentences, though, even if they are true…"



I think the BlogHer experience stroked my ego a bit.

But mostly I just needed an intro to explain why I wasn't tackling this topic and instead sending my readers elsewhere. That is because I cannot write with the same passion about PPD as someone who has experienced it. I know how important it is. I know that it is real. But I feel like my words on it would ring hollow since I haven't ever been there. But I know these women have and I know that they write about it with the same type of passion that I write about other things.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks for the link. LOVE your blog! Love your thoroughness!! Added you to my feed reader, and I can't wait to get to know you better.

Be well,
Amy @ prettybabies

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

[...] Annie, @phdinparenting, PhD in Parenting (read her post on this) [...]

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBloggers & Tweeters Stand

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