FDA approves new drug for PPD but ignores connection between birth experience and mental health
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience Postpartum Depression.
1 in 7 women.
Last week, BIG news broke.
But chances are, if you blinked, you missed it.
"The FDA approves the first drug to treat postpartum depression."
At quick glance, one may read that headline and think, oh, that’s good. But, when I read those words, during one of my middle of the night nursing sessions with Savvy, it completely broke my heart.
The more I read — the more my heart crumbled for every person who has ever experienced PPD.
The more I read, the more it infuriated me that this conversation is finally being had on a national, mainstream stage, and the only solution we’re discussing?
Zulresso will be available only through a restricted program called the Zulresso REMS Program that requires the drug be administered by a health care provider in a certified health care facility. The REMS requires that patients be enrolled in the program prior to administration of the drug. Zulresso is administered as a continuous IV infusion over a total of 60 hours (2.5 days). Because of the risk of serious harm due to the sudden loss of consciousness, patients must be monitored for excessive sedation and sudden loss of consciousness and have continuous pulse oximetry monitoring (monitors oxygen levels in the blood). While receiving the infusion, patients must be accompanied during interactions with their child(ren). - FDA https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm633919.htm
Now, by no means am I against antidepressants. For some people, in certain situations, they can be lifesavers. But it’s circumstantial — a lot of variables play into that decision.
What really gets my blood boiling here — The government has not done ANYTHING to make postpartum self-care or women’s postpartum mental or physical health a priority in this country.
Not one damn thing.
Yet here they go approving and releasing a drug that doctors will most likely push to their patients like nobody’s business without ever addressing the REAL ISSUES. Of course, that’s IF they’re patients can afford the drug or are in need of desperate help and willing to go into debt to receive treatment that is expected to cost around $30,000 and may not be covered by insurance. https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/first-year/postpartum-depression-drug-approved-zulresso
If the federal government wants to do something to help mothers who are struggling with depression, let's support women in taking care of themselves and their growing families immediately following birth.
Let’s encourage woman to establish a village to take care of themselves and their homes well before baby comes!
Let’s stop focusing on the celebrity snapback and the Instagram model post-baby body and let’s focus on spiritual, mental, and physical healing and well-being.
Let's acknowledge and respect the idea that babies exist in the inner womb for 9 to 10 months, and they thrive best in close proximity to their moms, in the outter womb, for at least the same amount of time.
Why not make sure every pelvic floor physical therapist, midwifery practice, psychologist, birth doula, postpoartum doula, acupuncturist, and chiropractor are covered under insurance and available to every woman who needs or wants one?!
Imagine a county where pregnant women and new mamas can pay a $10 or $20 dollar copay and take care of themselves!!!!! Get to the root of the problems.
WHY ARE WE NOT TELLING THE WHOLE TRUTH?!
If we are going to have this conversation on a national, mainstream level, then lets BE HONEST about the fact that there is a direct connection between the way a woman births — how she’s treated, and the birth and postpartum experience as a whole — and whether or not she will battle postpartum depression.
A DIRECT CONNECTION.
Yes, there are other factors. Yes, a chemical imbalance is part of the issue, but if we are going to work to heal women, let's tell the truth in its entirety and fix the whole problem!
The FDA does not need to pump a drug into the nation without first supporting healthy conversations that support a societal shift in the way woman are treated in the United States of America while they are pregnant, while they are birthing, and once they are mothers.
While on maternity leave, the only thing I got sad about — the only thought that broke my heart, was staring at our newborn baby girl who needed me, wondering how the hell I was going to leave her to go back to work!
It haunted me.
When you are 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 16 weeks postpartum, leaving your baby to go back to work it’s literally feels like you’re leaving your heart and/or brain at home. As women, can we do it? You better bet your bottom dollar we can, and we’ll probably make it look easy. But so many are suffering in silence.
The fact that in the US we are forcing families to chose between keeping a roof over their kids’ heads and a mother’s mental, spiritual, and physical health — sickens me.
(chart from WAPO "The world’s richest countries guarantee mothers more than a year of paid maternity leave. The U.S. guarantees them nothing") https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/05/the-worlds-richest-countries-guarantee-mothers-more-than-a-year-of-paid-maternity-leave-the-u-s-guarantees-them-nothing/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d1a731d7783d
If the government wants to do something to help woman with postpartum depression, how about changing maternity leave laws!? Maybe offering PAID MATERNITY LEAVE?! I don't know....just a thought.
But no. Instead of investing in women. You know, honoring and taking care of the beings who are bringing whole humans into the world, and raising future generations. This lovely country rushes them back to work, ignores any problems or traumas they may have experienced during pregnancy or birth, adds a little pressure for them to look better than they looked before baby, but oh...Don’t worry, if all that’s too much the FDA now approves of new moms paying $30k for a drug that will make them feel better for a bit.
In the meantime, 1 in 7 women experience Postpartum Depression.
1 in 7.