A new mother in California has taken to Facebook to spread awareness of how new mothers with postpartum depression are treated by the medical establishment. Jessica Porten, upon the birth of her second child, recognized that she was struggling with postpartum, or postnatal, depression and attempted several times to see a doctor for her issue.
After being cancelled on for four months by a certain doctor, she was finally able to go with her new baby, little Kira, to be seen for her condition.
But the doctor’s reaction to Jessica’s pleas for help shocked the new mom.
Read Jessica’s experience in her own words:
“I went to the appointment alone with Kira. It was at 2:10, and I was not called back to a room until 3:15.
“A nurse practitioner comes in (one I don’t particularly care for) and I tell her everything my husband told them when he scheduled me the appointment a week ago.
“That I have postpartum depression that is manifesting in fits of anger, and I want to discuss my medication options.
“I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby, I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this.”
Her own pelvic exam was then rushed, and afterwards she was notified that she had to stay because the doctor and nurse practitioner had decided to call the police on her. Jessica was shocked.
“The cops show up and we’re trying to figure out the logistics of how they’re going to escort me to the ER because I have Kira and her car seat.
“The cops can clearly see I’m of sound mind and that this whole thing is b******t, so they allow me to drive to the ER with Kira in my car while one cop drives in front of me and one follows behind.
“We arrive at the ER and I’m checked in, triaged, blood drawn. I am assigned a security guard to babysit me.”
Jessica spent 10 hours in the emergency department, mostly waiting. No doctor showed up to see her. A social worker finally arrived and cleared her to leave.
After experiencing the stigma and poor treatment that many mothers also experience, Jessica Porten is determined to work to change the system. She realizes that if she, a white, well-off woman can be treated this way, that other, less priviledged women might have much worse experiences. She really just wants mothers to be treated with respect, for their voiced concerns regarding their mental and physical health to be heard, and for the medical community to do a much better job.
Says Jessica, “There needs to be systems in place to treat this extremely common condition (PMD) without traumatizing families or ripping them apart.”
“At first I felt very overwhelmed, and I still do, but there’s a feeling of empowerment now as well,” she told The Independent.
“All of the messages I have received have been so healing for me.
“I’m excited to enact some real change that will positively impact our community.”
The Sacramento Police Department provided The Independent with the following statement:
“The Sacramento Police Department responded to this call to assist during this situation.
“Our role was to assist an individual in need of medical attention. Our goal is to facilitate getting people to the most appropriate resources available at any given time.”