06 May 2012

CafeMom's "The Stir" includes PPD on "Most shocking mom confessions"

On one of the Facebook debate groups I'm on, someone recently posted a link to a feature from the CafeMom blog "The Stir". This article is titled "25 Mom Confessions to Top All Mom Confessions". The introductory text states

There are confessions and then there are CONFESSIONS. You won't believe some of the stuff that the members of CafeMom are willing to spill publicly (as long as they don't have to use their real names). Mostly because they know other moms have either done some of them or at least contemplated doing them very seriously. Hey, we are only human!
We're not sure what's more unbelievable -- the confessions themselves or the way some readersreacted to them.
Here are 25 pretty shocking parenting choicesmoms confessed to making, and some reader reactions. Some you can imagine ... but some may surprise you ...

I started clicking through the slides, curious about what the "Most shocking mom confessions" were. I was imagining horrible and outlandish things that you would expect to hear about on the news in conjunction with child abuse. Some of the "confessions were things that made me go "Wow, what were you THINKING" (driving a baby without a car seat, leaving twin babies home alone to drive a friend home, tricking a husband into having another baby, letting a child sleep alone in a car outside, and letting a toddler play outside alone with dogs), and some were "That's a shocking confession?" (Going on vacation without your children, letting your child eat/drink something in the grocery store before getting to checkout, having a wedding be just the two people getting married, putting a crude t-shirt on a toddler).

One entry, though, left me first staring and refreshing my screen going "I'm not actually seeing that, am I?" and then glaring in fury as I thought "That's not shocking and nothing to be considered a confession!".

The text states

I Have Postpartum Depression But My Doctor Doesn't Know

I have postpartum depression and my husband and mom suspect it. I refuse to go to the doctor for it because I'm afraid they'll take my baby away from me. I know I need the help, but there's no way I'll tell anyone what goes through my head.
Reader Reaction:
"Depression of any kind is a horrible thing to have to go through by yourself. Tell someone and get some help so that it doesn't get worse."
"I had it with my first but kept my mouth shut. My mom is a manic depressive and I knew they wouldn't take my kid but I didn't want to go into the hospital like my mom did when I was a kid."

Where do I even start? The ONLY thing even remotely positive here is that they didn't include any overtly nasty and hurtful "Reader Reactions".

First of all, having PPD is not shocking. Neither is not wanting to tell your doctor. These are both very common. Fear of having your child taken away by CPS if you say "Hey, I"m dealing with PPD and need help", fear of the reactions you'll get from other people, fear of being labeled and looked at differently as though there's something wrong with you, and many other reasons.

Including this slide does nothing to help reassure moms that it's okay to seek help, that it's safe to speak up, or that there's nothing wrong with them. All this does is send the messages that "It's shocking" and "It's something that you need to confess", thus interpreting out to "You are doing something wrong". Things like this "slide" only further increase the stigma and incorrect perceptions that are already there. It makes people who have never dealt with it feel justified in having the reaction that "She's doing something WRONG for her and wrong for the baby by not speaking up".

I'm disappointed that The Stir chose to include this in their "Most shocking mom confessions". So if anyone from CafeMom and The Stir are reading this, unless you really want to give off an aura of being unsupportive and having a total lack of compassion, concern, and understanding for women dealing with PostPartum Depression, you might want to think about changing your article and writing something about how it's not shocking and nothing to be ashamed of.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I agree with you whole-heartedly here. That's not a shocking confession. If they had focused on moms afraid to tell their loved ones and made it a supportive article that would have been a WAY better way to go.