Dear Savannah Guthrie:
I would like to talk with you for a few seconds.
“Would postpartum depression, if it existed, ever lead to something like this?” you asked psychologist Jennifer Hartstein this morning on the Today Show as you kicked off a discussion about mental health and the tragic situation which concluded in Miriam’s death yesterday. (You’ll note that the “if it existed” part is strangely omitted from the screenshot)
“…if it existed…”
So, Savannah, darling, about that “…if it existed…” comment… I am guessing you would like to tell me that when I was in the hell that was immediately after giving birth to both of my daughters, I imagined it. Didn’t happen.
I did not have compulsions, I did not delve into the darkness and fight to get through every day even though I was triggered by even the tiniest cry. Never existed. My hospitalization – unnecessary because it was for something that never existed.
My blog? A bunch of hot air because I waste my time discussing some inane make believe condition that doesn’t exist.
Women fight and struggle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders every damn day. Reporting about it as you did this morning helps no one. I get that it is easier to say Postpartum Depression because it’s a term the general public understands. BUT it’s a term they understand because people like YOU refuse to educate the public at large about the other conditions along with Postpartum Depression such as Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum Post Traumatic Syndrome, Postpartum OCD, and Postpartum Psychosis.
There was no discussion of these other conditions on your show this morning. NONE.
You sat there and grinned through the entire segment, nodding and smiling but educating no one.
What about the mom in Iowa who is three months postpartum and watches you faithfully and is struggling but heard you associate postpartum depression with a desire to harm oneself? Oh, now she can’t seek help because people will think she wants to kill herself and her child. YOU did that to hundreds of mothers across the country today, Savannah. You added to the stigma instead of taking a few extra minutes to educate yourself about the entire situation.
But “It’s a developing story…” so? Gather the facts on what you have and educate yourself along the way. Don’t be ignorant along the way, be educated. You, more so than any of the rest of us, are in a position to remove stigma in a powerful way because you have the audience and the platform on which to do so.
You failed us this morning.
You broke our hearts and made us wonder when or even if, stories like these will EVER be reported properly. Your colleague over at ABC, Dr. Richard Besser, got close when he made a point to mention Postpartum Psychosis.
Instead, you discussed Postpartum Depression and a potential brain injury as a result of a fall.
Way to fail, Savannah. Way.to.fail.
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I’m so glad to see you back on the blogging scene! And you’ve returned with a fury! Spot on, as always, a spokesperson, advocating on behalf of mothers suffering (and who have suffered from) postpartum mood disorders. I hate it when I read in headlines that “it appears that PPD was the culprit” even though this was not the case. This misinformation by major news agencies is unforgivable. How are we to dispel myths if such agencies continue to feed the embers that we are slowly but surely trying to put out? We’ve tried open letters (remember the Time one a couple yrs back?) but I think the upcoming For Miriam blog carnival should increase the reach of getting our voices out there for the world to see.
Bravo! Especially this paragraph here!
“What about the mom in Iowa who is three months postpartum and watches you faithfully and is struggling but heard you associate postpartum depression with a desire to harm oneself? Oh, now she can’t seek help because people will think she wants to kill herself and her child. YOU did that to hundreds of mothers across the country today, Savannah. You added to the stigma instead of taking a few extra minutes to educate yourself about the entire situation.”
I interpreted her comment not as questioning whether PPD existed as a condition, but whether if PPD was present in this particular individual, could it lead to something like this (or could this be the outcome/result of a different medical condition). Yes, the wording the awkward, but I didn’t interpret it as denying the condition….
Good point, but as you stated, the wording is awkward and she certainly didn’t clarify she may have meant if it was present in this particular individual. It would have been a very simple correction to have made.
I interpreted it the way that Liz did, but yes, the wording is awkward and misleading and unnecessarily incorrect. The entire report is so, so misleading and inaccurate that I see stars when I think about it. I think about that mom in Iowa, or Illinois, or North Dakota, or down the street from me, and there is anger in my head at the shame she might now feel.