Today as I was watching TV with Grandmama, I saw a commercial for Oprah’s show this afternoon. The ad made mention of overwhelmed parents. So I asked my husband to set up our TiVo to record the program as I thought that maybe Oprah would be talking about Postpartum Depression or something similar. I was OH SO WRONG and OH SO MISLED by the ad.
I turned on the show to watch just a few moments ago and deleted it just a few minutes into the program. The topic was about overwhelmed parents but the lead interviewee was a mom who had tragically left her two year old daughter in her car for eight hours. Graphic 911 calls were played prior to the first commercial break (which, by the way, I did not make it to) and the mother wept as they were played.
Really, Oprah? REALLY?
Yes, this is a tragedy and needs to be addressed. But to advertise it as a show about overwhelmed parents with no warning regarding the true topic and stories to be included is sheer irresponsibility. Clearly this is a situation that may arise from being overwhelmed but I would say this is more than just Overwhelmed. My heart and prayers go out to this family as I cannot imagine being in their shoes but SHAME ON OPRAH for misrepresenting her topic and possibly causing harm to a mother out there who may be suffering from Postpartum Depression and had been told to watch the show by some well-meaning family member or like me, seen the ad and decided to watch because SHE TOO was feeling a bit overwhelmed and saw the possibility of hope and help. Afterall, it IS OPRAH and that’s what she does, right?
Here in America during the early colonial days, there was a postpartum tradition called “lying-in” in which the woman who had just given birth would stay in bed while neighbors, family, and the entire community would lend a hand to household chores and any other labors typically attended to by the mother. At the end of this lying-in period, the mother would throw a “groaning party” to thank all who had pitched in to help.
(source: Mothering the New Mother, Sally Placksin, p.45-46, sourced from Richard & Dorothy C. Wertz’s Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America)
Do you have a specific postpartum or maternal tradition? Know of a culturally specific tradition? If so, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with Maternal Tradition in the subject line and they’ll be featured here on Saturdays!
If you’re suffering from Paternal Postnatal Depression and are feeling all alone then I have some AMAZING news for you.
Dr. Will Courtenay has a forum at his website, http://www.postpartummen.com where you can post your concerns and get advice from other dads who have been where you are or still struggling. A great solace lies in finding others on the same journey.
(and guys – if you’re interested, Dr. Courtenay has just posted at the forum about the possibility of doing a FREE support conference call if there’s enough interest. If this is something you think you’d benefit from, let him know!)