December 29, 2012
In Memory of My Mom
I am writing this post on the day that my mom would have celebrated her 89th birthday. Oh, how I wish she was still alive. In May 2013, it will be ten years since my mom was tragically taken from this world. She died unexpectedly as a result of a car accident.
She was a spry, healthy and happy woman so it was totally a shock when she died so suddenly. My mom was my greatest encourager. She was my spiritual mentor and my hero. She overcame so much in her 79 years. She was a huge blessing to her eight children and to all of those that came in contact with her.
I started my volunteer advocacy work in the year 2000, three years before my mother died. She encouraged and supported me in my efforts. She was one of my strongest supporters when I experienced postpartum psychosis after the birth of my son.
I felt truly blessed to be able to provide emotional and informational support to mothers and families that were experiencing mental health issues related to childbearing. But it was not until my own mother died such a sudden death that I felt more compelled to support and encourage mothers and families experiencing mental health issues related to childbearing.
Losing my own mother was difficult but it caused me to never give up on advocating for others. You see, I was blessed to have my mother in my life for more than thirty years. But sadly, there are children, who lose their mother when they are only an infant. Tragically, in severe cases of postpartum mood disorders, there is a risk of suicide. But there should be no such deaths because I believe suicide can be prevented.
Often those who die by suicide do not get the help they need. In the case of suicide by mothers, who are experiencing a severe postpartum mood disorder, the stigma and shame as well as lack of support and proper treatment can take their toll on a mother. I know this first hand.
The only statistic I can find related to suicide as a result of a severe postpartum mood disorder is a 5% rate, which is grouped with infanticide. Why have the numbers not been gathered separately? I guess it is because research and attention to mental health related to childbearing has not always been a priority. Thankfully, we have come a long way but there is still much that needs to be done in this area.
I believe that if the statistics were available, the suicide rate would be much higher than the infanticide rate. The media only seems to give attention to the rare cases of infanticide and the cases of suicide of mothers go unreported. Both infanticide and suicide as a result of severe postpartum mood disorders should be and can be prevented.
I know I am only one person but I will continue to do my best to help prevent such tragedies. I will continue to do what I can to help mothers and families experiencing mental health issues related to childbearing as well as those experiencing mental health issues, in general. On this day as I reminisce about my mom, I know, that if my mom where still alive today, she would not only be my biggest encourager but she would be right by my side in advocating for others.
I hope the year 2013 is a blessing to all of us and that it will be a year of great strides in increasing the awareness, proper treatment and prevention of mental health issues related to childbearing as well as mental health issues, in general.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders