Thursday, January 24, 2019

Postpartum Psychosis on NPR

Quite likely lost in your news feed last week was an NPR story about postpartum psychosis. It was heartening to see the article called She Wanted To Be The Perfect Mom, Then Landed In A Psychiatric Unit because the mania that is possible after childbirth so rarely breaks into the national news cycle. 
"Shots" Health News from NPR

NPR respectfully told the story of a California mother's 2014 psychosis. It went further and outlined improvements to mental healthcare that would improve outcomes for postpartum psychosis. "The gold standard is to admit the mother and the baby into the hospital together, on a specialized mother-baby unit, where they're treated as a pair," NPR reported based on research dating back to the 1940s.

This isn't the first I've read about mother-baby psychiatric units. They exist in Europe along with postpartum mental health seminars and support groups and what seems to be more abundant open dialogue about mental health. But rather than shame America, NPR pointed out several programs here in the states that are working within our mixed up health insurance system to provide that gold standard care to women.

When I was hospitalized in 2005, I was permitted daily 20-minute visits with my infant daughter. It's distressing that nine years later, the mom featured in NPR's article had to negotiate for hour-long staff supervised visits with her baby. Nothing makes you feel less like the "perfect mom" than spending weeks away from your newborn baby. So any psychiatric unit making progress toward keeping mother and child together for the duration of inpatient care is a good thing.

And having moms share their stories will eventually make an impact on the care that's available. Read the NPR article and share it to help new moms with mental health disorders.