As of this year in Texas, May was officially designated Postpartum Depression Awareness Month.
This is an important designation to help create awareness, education and support for mothers and families struggling with any postpartum mood disorder throughout the state of Texas. DEPRESSION IS THE NUMBER ONE COMPLICATION DURING CHILDBIRTH, and the public recognition of this important issue will help remove the stigma associated with mental health conditions in mothers.
The Postpartum Depression Awareness Month Bill, known as HB 2079, was introduced in early 2015 by Representative Senfronia Thompson. Later in March, the public was given the opportunity to hear the introduction of the bill, and testify for, or against it at the Capitol. The Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas (PPHA), medical professionals, and members of the community were present to provide written and oral testimonies in support of the bill. It was announced in May 2015 that both the House and Senate passed the bill. HB 2079 was officially signed into law on June 16, 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott, and became effective September 1, 2015.
To celebrate the passing of this bill, PPHA hosted an incredibly important awareness event on the south steps of the Texas Capitol
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, the event commenced with Representative Senfronia Thompson officially announcing, “May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month in Texas,” by reading the official state declaration. Attorney George Parnham, PPD Awareness Advocate from Houston, was the keynote speaker. The event also included presentations from local PPD supporters, providers, and survivor stories from brave and honest mothers. Their moving stories were so powerful, and PPHA greatly appreciates their courage for speaking out.
Country singer Wade Bowen performed a special song entitled ‘Turn on the Lights.’ This is a song that he wrote as his own wife struggled with postpartum depression.
The event also included exhibits from local vendors, yoga demonstrations, face painting, kids games, display of the Traveling Memory Quilt provided by Postpartum Support International, and refreshments and water provided by HEB. The community support for this event was tremendous.
PPHA is forever grateful to the Legislators who deemed postpartum depression awareness a necessary bill in the state of Texas. We look forward to the continued support from the Texas community, and for more postpartum depression awareness throughout the rest of the year.
If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression, or any postpartum mood disorder (anxiety, OCD, or PTSD for example) please know you are not alone, and there is help.
Written by Amy Tucker, Director of Programs of PPHA and owner of Mama Peace which offers placenta encapsulation and postpartum doula services.