Last week a post by Jessica Porten, a California mom with a four month old who went to her doctor for her postpartum checkup, ended up leaving with cops escorting her to the hospital.
In her post she wrote, “A nurse practitioner comes in (one I don’t particularly care for) and I tell her everything my husband told them when he scheduled me the appointment a week ago. That I have postpartum depression that is manifesting in fits of anger, and I want to discuss my medication options. I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby, I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this. She rushed through my pelvic exam, barely spoke about medication, said she needed to talk to the doctor about my PPD, and left the room.”
You would assume that this would be an opportunity for that physicians office to spring into action and get help for this mom – surely an OB’s office would know of these resources, right?
From there Jessica writes, “They called the fucking cops on me. They had a staff member sit with me for over an hour waiting for the police to arrive.”
That’s right. This mom, who entrusted her physician with her care during her pregnancy and birth wasn’t going to receive care from her physician, she was going to be escorted, by police, with her infant, to the closest hospital.
You would think that there would be a psychologist at the hospital waiting for her. Surely they have encountered moms with PPD before, right?
She continues, “They take me to the bathroom so I can give a urine sample. They make me remove all of my clothes (including my flip flops, which they replaced with socks) and then take them away from me and lock them up. We missed dinner, so a nurse gives us two shitty little turkey sandwiches. I am not seen by a social worker until 10:45pm. She decides she does not need to put me on a psychiatric hold, and they process my discharge.”
After 10 hours Jessica is released from the hospital, but not as you would have expected. If you’re like me, you would have expected to read that they followed up, that they called to schedule an appointment with a specialist, that they were working to find support for her.
“I leave the ER at midnight, my spirit more broken than ever, no medication, no follow up appointment, never spoke to a doctor.”
And that was that. Nothing you would have expected for this mom ever happened, until she posted.
The minute her post went live it began to spread through fb groups, eventually finding it’s way to the media. As of this article, the post has been shared over 32k times and has over 11k comments.
Since her post has gone viral, moms all over the United States have began to post their stories in the comments.
One mom wrote, “I don’t know who you are but I’m 2 yrs post partum and still have my ups and downs with PPD, when I told my OBGYN she just gave me a prescription with 2 pills did not even explain well and told me NOT to elaborate on my feelings too much because if I did she would be obligated to send me to a psych ward. I instead just shut up and dealt with it. I was pregnant, I did not want to be put away!! I admire your strength and sorry you have to deal with this.”
And another, “This going to get buried in the comments section but I had something similar happen to me at Geisinger Medical center. Hours after I gave birth a nurse called CPS on me because I have a history of bipolar depression. It was even written in my chart that I was being treated by a psychiatrist and I had a strong support system but they felt I was still a danger to my child. The nurse (who had shit bedside manner by the way) said she called CPS due to the fact I was at an increased risk for PPD. Really!? Thats how you treat women with PPD? You make things even worse by calling child protective services? This is why so many women don’t get help for their mental health issues. I never even developed PPD. They didn’t even give me a chance.”
In recent years, many celebrities have opened up about their battle with PPD, including Hayden Penettiere. There were a few of us that felt like the public spotlight on a widespread issue would mean more resources for moms, but it just hasn’t happened.
In reading about Jessica we learned that 2020 mom had reached out to her. We had never heard of them, but discovered that they are dedicated to maternal mental health. So much so, in fact, that they are working on four bills in California alone.
According to their website, “2020 Mom is introducing a comprehensive bill package based on the recommendations from the California Task Force on the Status of Maternal Mental Health Care.” You can learn more about their event in Sacramento on Facebook.
Jessica, among others, will be there.
It’s our hope that Jessica’s viral post will continue to create resources for mom who are battling through PPD. 2020 Mom has a great website full of resources and ways you can support and take action.