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A Best-Selling Author Dismissed Postpartum Depression Screening As A Pharmaceutical Conspiracy

"Mood changes are NORMAL. Meditation helps. Prayer helps. Nutritional support helps."

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On Tuesday a U.S. medical panel recommended that all new and expectant mothers be screened for depression and other pregnancy-related mood disorders.

Jill Krause

Proper screening has been a long-fought battle among maternal mental health advocates, while the U.S. has struggled to identify and treat the 1 in 5 mothers (many of whom come from low-income and underserved communities) who will experience some form of reproductive-related mental illness.

(Incidentally, postpartum depression and its related mood disorders are the No. 1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth in the U.S.)

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The postpartum depression community quickly responded and organized around the hashtag #MeditateOnThis.

Every #PPD mom doesn’t need medication. But she does need to be recognized. And helped. #meditateonthis

"These claims that screening for PPD is unnecessary and financially motivated are dangerous," Postpartum Progress Founder and CEO Katherine Stone told BuzzFeed.

Katherine Stone surrounded by survivors of maternal mental illness, July 2015 / Via Morgan Shanahan

"Avital Nathman and I launched #meditateonthis as a way to respond to pushback we've seen to the new recommendations to screen all pregnant and new moms for postpartum depression. It's silliness and it just furthers stigma. So we wanted to speak up."

Survivors of maternal mental illness shared their reactions to Williamson's statement.

With a single post, you have stigmatized sick women and sent those who were close to getting help back into a world of guilt #meditateonthis

If I hadn't sought help and meds for my perinatal mood disorder I would not be here to mother my children. #meditateonthis

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The idea that meditating and prayer is *THE* way to heal is a disservice to those who pray and meditate and still suffer. #meditateonthis

And their concerns for fellow sufferers.

.@marwilliamson Untreated anxiety leads to higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and congestive heart failure. #MeditateOnThis

Meds saved my life - but I waited so long to seek treatment I've been left with physical issues that will be lifelong #meditateonthis

Mothers need to know that it's okay to ask for help. #PPD is not normal, but it IS common. #meditateonthis

Many shared their personal stories with PPD.

@marwilliamson A #ppdsurvivor that prayed and took medication and the baby that survived! #meditateonthis

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Medication saves. Screening saves. I know because I’ve lived it. Conspiracy theories save no one. #meditateonthis

#meditateonthis PP depression is a medical illness of the brain. Not a defect in the mother or in her support system.

#meditateonthis In a way, I'm jealous that @marwilliamson has this perspective. She hasn't experienced the hell so many other women have.

By Thursday morning, over 6,517 tweets had been registered on the #MeditateOnThis hashtag, with more rolling in every second.

For Williamson's part, she updated her Facebook page to express sorrow for the "many American women acquiescing so easily to Big Pharma's propaganda on this one." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

#MeditateOnThis

1 in every 7 women gets a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like #PPD. 1 in 4 low-income women. We MUST do more. #meditateonthis

If you believe that you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or a related illness, please visit Postpartum Progress for a list of resources in your area.

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