Do you remember getting that wonderful glucose test for gestational diabetes when you were pregnant? Or perhaps you were one of the lucky ones (like me) who even got the follow-up test, where you drank the sugar solution and waited for hours to find out your glucose level?
These are routine tests, and they can be beneficial for ensuring that mothers get the medical intervention they need for elevated levels of glucose. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that about 1 in 9 mothers develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, in contrast to the startling statistic for moms related to perinatal depression and other mental health concerns which is even greater: 1 in 7 mothers. So the chances are higher that a mother will develop perinatal depression than gestational diabetes, yet we have few protocols in place for screening and referrals to treatment for perinatal mental health concerns.
Given the negative effects of perinatal mental health concerns on mothers, their babies, and partners, this is clearly a critical public health issue. What do we do in our country to address this serious issue? Unfortunately, not enough.
In the critically-acclaimed documentary Dark Side of the Full Moon, the real face of postpartum depression and the gaping holes in our healthcare system to address mothers’ depression are painfully revealed. In this film you will see the experiences of mothers and their families who desperately needed help and didn’t get it. Either their practitioners didn’t ask how they were doing, the mothers didn’t feel comfortable to disclose how they were feeling, or the system was ill-equipped to deal with the mothers’ mental health concerns. In every case, the mothers and their families suffered…unnecessarily.
If you care about supporting moms and families you must see this movie. It will move you by the powerful stories and the filmmakers’ compelling quest to better understand postpartum depression in our country.* It will leave you feeling both angered and motivated, wondering how it’s possible that we don’t better support the future of our country and wondering what you can do. And perhaps this combination of anger and motivation will encourage you to think about how you can do more, on small and large levels. I know I am trying to figure that out myself, and I haven’t stopped thinking about this movie since I watched it.
So, please spread the word. Dark Side of the Full Moon is now available on iTunes.
*Trigger warning: Please note that this film could be a trigger for mothers who have experienced perinatal depression and may not be appropriate for women who are pregnant or postpartum.
This blog post originally appeared on hopefulmama.com as “If You Care about Moms and Families You MUST See This Movie about Maternal Mental Health.”
Lisa Edwards, PhD is a mother and professor of counseling psychology at Marquette University. She is a volunteer on the Spanish Warmline for Postpartum Support International and created hopefulmama.com to offer strategies to help mothers cultivate their strengths. To read more from Lisa you can follow her blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. On her Pinterest boards you’ll find many resources about perinatal mental health, positive psychology, and parenting.