Yesterday I was feeling pretty emotional. The month of December always ends up being really hard for me, mostly because if there is ever a time I am reminded that I am an adult and I don't have people to make things better for me, it's December.
All of my holiday shopping is done. I'm struggling to get my holiday cards out because yet again, I picked a ridiculously time consuming card to make and yet again, I failed to trim down my list so it remains at 185. (Next year? Next year I will be under 60- that's my goal.) But I'm broke, Matt is working as much as he can, the kids all have parties to go to and friends they want to see and I just don't have it in me to entertain other people's kids. My anxiety is through the roof and it's like, anything you can imagine being piled onto my plate? It's on it.
But that's for another day.
Today I'm going to talk about a really great thing I found online yesterday by total chance. An absolute fluke, and it sucked about an hour of my time yesterday. And another hour today because it reminds me that while my current situation seems like crap, it could always be worse.
On CNN right now there is this mini docu-series about Giving Birth in America. Now, being the United States you would think we'd be pioneers in medical care and surely maternal and child care but you'd actually be wrong. Did you know that the maternal mortality rate in America has been consistently on the rise since 1990? That's a pretty staggering thing to think about because we all know someone pregnant, we just assume in this day and age, you go to the hospital, have your beautiful babe, and come home. But so many mothers are not coming home. In one of the videos it mentions how 17.8 in 100,000 women (as of 2011) will die during or after childbirth. Some reasons include obesity related issues, your age, and lack of affordable access. In some low income areas, Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care for those who cannot afford a regular OB or perhaps don't have reliable transportation to get to one. Another reason for the increase? One in three mothers will end up with a c-section for a host of reasons. Twenty years ago, that number would have been one in five.
Another video on there talks about a midwife who provides prenatal care to uninsured women. The odds of her being paid anything are slim, and then you look at the women who move from one state where they had care, and now to a new state where they don't. The women have really valid reasons for the situation they are in and it's really staggering to me to think there are some people who would like to completely end any kind of assistance for these people. I tried to think, if I was in any one of their shoes, I have no idea what I would do. I wouldn't have the first idea of where to look for help or what steps to take to get myself on track. And I'm a college educated person.
And it isn't just that. In another video, it talks about people who live in really rural areas where a hospital could be two hours away. It's one thing to go into labor and have to drive two hours, but what happens if you have a complication once you are home? It's not like you can pack up the entire family and just drive two hours to get to a hospital- women find themselves weighing the risks, how badly do they need to go in?
Lastly, the moms who really need the mental health care post baby. We have all heard of a horrific story where a mother kills her baby and later claims she didn't know. And I can tell you from first hand experience that it is totally possible to have those thoughts and feelings and 100% love your baby with everything you have in you.
It is terrifying.
Even worse is when people brush you off and tell you that you have the baby blues, it'll get better, just get some sleep, stop trying so hard, and everything else well-meaning people say. It's really the last thing you want to hear and you want to scream, "As if I'm doing NONE OF THESE THINGS ALREADY".
But then you'll just look like a crazy person and people assume you suck as a mother. And then you worry about that- do people think you are a terrible mom because you obviously don't love your baby enough?
It's really a tragic situation. The mental health issues in the country are pretty damn atrocious enough but to add otherwise totally healthy women to your list of people who have serious depression and anxiety issues simply because they gave birth, sends the system over the edge. They tell you to just tell your doctor and they will tell you to get more sleep or eat better or get outside once a day for a walk or something. All of those things will help in time, but sometimes they won't. And in that case you have to be the only advocate for yourself and not leave the god damn office until they give you something that will calm you down.
Because as shitty as it is to be on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication (or both if you're super special), it works. The stigma to being on these really sucks but it sucks a lot less than crying for no reason and wondering why you are so sad when you have such a great life.
So I invite you to watch the video series. There are four short videos (find them HERE) and I recommend them for all mothers. Anyone who wants to maybe be a mother some day. Or even those who have zero desire to be a mother so you understand the plight mothers face.
Then call your mom and tell her you love her.