Two weeks ago in her weekly blog, my colleague and friend, Karen Kleiman, of the Postpartum Stress Center, thanked ten of us who had been involved in promoting awareness and education of postpartum depression. It felt wonderful to be recognized among such an esteemed group of women, many whom I’m happy to say are friends.
It also made me think about a book I’ve been reading, Crones Don’t Whine by Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, and the importance of having gratitude for the women who have come before us and cleared the way for us to follow. I remember 28 years ago when I became one of the psychologists associated with PPD (postpartum depression) and other postpartum conditions (anxiety, OCD, PTSD, PPP), there were two women whose tireless efforts led the field now called “perinatal mental health” to what’s it’s become: Jane Honikman and Nancy Berchtold.
Both were survivors of postpartum conditions and had the courage to speak out, each in their own way, about how we needed to pay attention to these conditions women were experiencing after childbirth for the mom’s and her family’s health. Long before others, these two pioneers dared speak the unspeakable, that motherhood is not always bliss, and that most women who experience PPD suffered in silence and tried not to let it show so as not to be judged a “bad mom.”
They helped many of us start a journey which continues to be an important part of our lives today. I know it has been in mine. Here’s to you Jane and Nancy for your passion, leadership and inspiration.
With much gratitude and affection.