Texas Postpartum Depression Awareness Month

Published 9:01 am Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dear Editor,
As a woman and mother, I am tearfully overjoyed to recognize May as Texas Postpartum Depression Awareness Month with the Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas in Austin, the Yates Children Memorial Fund Advisory Committee at Mental Health America of Greater Houston and other advocates in our state.
Words cannot express what I feel.  You see, my daughter experienced severe postpartum depression and borderline psychosis for more than 6 months, and I lost her to suicide—a tragic complication of an untreated or undertreated perinatal mental illness.
I never thought my vivacious daughter would lose her life in this way.  After all, she had a new baby, the support and love of family and friends, plus experience as a mental health social worker and as an attorney.
Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth. Sadly, my daughter became one of the 1 in 7 mothers living with postpartum depression who struggled with its debilitating symptoms, and the STIGMA associated with it.  She feared having mental illness would damage her life and her career, so she kept it a secret which delayed her treatment and her recovery.
After 5 1/2 years, my heart still aches for my daughter, but I am grateful for HB 2079, authored by Rep.  Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), which recognizes the need for postpartum depression awareness.
Every mother deserves mental health.  I urge you to start the conversation this May about postpartum depression with your daughters.  It’s a matter of life.

Donna Kreuzer

Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas in Austin