Something is afoot.
Something strange, disturbing, and downright irresponsible.
Sadly, I am not surprised at this recent development given what a hot topic Postpartum Mood Disorders has become of late in relation to recently (passed!) legislation and the courage of more and more mothers speaking out about their own difficult experiences after the birth of a child.
More and more, I have been receiving very odd links in my Google Alerts for several Postpartum Mood Disorder related search terms. These links lead to websites that have absolutely nothing to do with anything maternal, postpartum, baby, family, or any other related topics. And the information included therein is anything but accurate or reliable.
Even worse, I’ve been seeing a lot of new websites crop up with blanket promises of “Curing” postpartum depression for one low price. (One website even includes a friends and family “coupon” which cuts the price in half just for you!)
My stomach has been churning at the very thought of at-risk women and well-meaning family members finding these sites.
Oh yes, ladies and gentleman, I’m talking about the spammification of Postpartum Mood Disorders.
I can tell the difference between a reliable website and an unreliable website.
Women who blog with me, survivors, experts, and others intimately familiar with the topic can tell the difference.
But what about women and families currently being tossed about on the big nasty Postpartum Sea? Can THEY tell the difference or will they fall prey to these deceptive tactics masquerading as effective life preservers in a hopelessly churlish sea?
Spamming is a disgusting and contemptuous act which has been going on for years. Many of our in-boxes sit full of spam. Some of it makes it through from the spam folder into our in-box making it seem even more reliable. And if one of these links were to make it into the in-box of an at-risk woman or a well-meaning but uninformed family member of a woman struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder, the results may prove ghastly.
So what are we to do?
How do we get educated and knowledgeable when it comes to dissecting the authority and reliability of a website?
There are a few steps you can take.
First, is the site’s URL address directly related to the topic you’ve researched?
Chances are that if you’ve researched Postpartum Mood Disorders or Depression and end up on a website for air conditioners, furniture, auto repair, or turf builder, you’re not at a reputable website.
Second, let’s say that the website you’re at DOES correlate to the topic you’ve researched and the word postpartum is in the URL address. That’s gotta be good, right? Well, yes, and no.
Does this website link to known organizations specializing in helping women with this issue? (Think Postpartum Support International) What’s their google page rank? Are they HON Code certified? (Think Postpartum Progress) What’s the story behind the person who put the website together? Are they clear about their training? Do they let you know they’re a Mom/peer supporter, a doctor, provide confirmable evidence of education/degrees/certifications? Can you find anything about them elsewhere? Have other bloggers or websites linked to them and endorsed them or mentioned them? Or are they only published at their specific website and other unreliable websites? (I don’t have a high Google Page Rank or an HONcode certification but I am working to improve my page rank and also toward an HONcode certification as well. I also over-research everything I put up here which is why sometimes I’m a little behind on posting about a hot topic. I’d rather get it right than have it up as soon as it happens)
Third – is the website trying to sell you something? Does the website promise a cure? Are they dismissive of an entire approach to treating Postpartum Mood Disorders?
If the website is really trying to get you to buy something without describing in detail what it is, you need to be wary. There is no one size fits all treatment. There is NO overnight cure for Postpartum Mood Disorders. Just as with all women, all pregnancies, and all deliveries, there are many different types of Postpartum Mood Disorders and they are rooted in different issues dependent on the history of the woman, the type of birth she experienced, her thyroid levels, anemia levels, etc. There are SO many different layers to uncover when it comes to a Postpartum Mood Disorder. It is dangerous to buy into a one size fits all approach. Just as labor is a fluid process subject to change at any moment given any circumstances, so is postpartum recovery. We all approach life with our own individualized chemistry and baggage. Matching sets don’t commonly occur out here in the real world.
The practice of Quackery has been around for eons and will unfortunately continue to exist as long as people are willing to grasp at any answers that may save them from their current condition. That being said, there are legitimate complementary treatments and alternative approaches available for treating postpartum mood disorders. Anyone worth their salt in dedication to helping women with Postpartum Mood Disorder will be open to supporting whatever path you choose to take toward wellness regardless of what type of methods you choose. In the same vein, anyone worth their salt will also strongly encourage you to work with medical professionals as you work toward wellness. Anyone worth their salt will also openly share their training, education, and base of knowledge with you as well. There should be no hidden cloak, no Wizard of Oz mumbo jumbo going on during your journey to wellness with a good provider.
Here are a couple additional links that may help you navigate your way through the 102,000 results you’ll get via Google in .20 seconds for Postpartum Mood Disorders:
Tips on Identifying Reliable Health Information on the Internet
What can you do if you fall victim to one of these websites? First, you can file with the FTC. And if you’ve lost money and care to pursue legal action, you are entitled to do so under something called the Lanham Act. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau’s Online department by clicking here. You can also click here for seven tips on how to keep your email address from getting added to the growing number of spam lists out there.
As more and more voices speak up about their experience with Postpartum Depression, more and more Snake Oil salesmen will crop up to take advantage of the growing searches occurring on the Internet for information. It’s sad and blasphemously tragic but such has been the way for ages with many medical conditions.
Bottom line: If in doubt, throw it OUT. That phrase is handy in the restaurant industry and certainly handy here too. If a link promises too much too fast or reeks of a foul distrusting odor, throw it out.
Tread carefully. Think it through. Talk to a professional. Take care of you.
Tomorrow we’ll be sharing tips on how to tell a good doctor/therapist from a bad doctor/therapist.
Have any tips or insights to share on this? Email me at ppdacceptance(@)gmail.com.
Be sure to check back to see if your tips/experiences were included!
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The spam was bound to come so sad. Thanks for the good spam fighting links. The quakary was also a given. Sigh.
Inevitably sad indeed. Quackery bordering on tragic. Really can’t stand people who are just out to make a buck and don’t care about the lives they may trample all over in the process. Absolutely breaks my heart.