You Won’t Believe What Happened When This Mom Asked For Help

Pregnancy and the aftermath of childbirth cause huge changes to a woman’s body.  Hormone levels rise and fall, there are tremendous physical changes to every bodily system, and then, of course, there is the sleep deprivation and lack of energy as this all takes place.

It’s no wonder, then, that almost every woman goes through feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability after giving birth.  And for many women, these feelings can linger and worsen.

Our obstetricians often warn us of what to look for, and let us know to contact them if we experience difficulty in the postpartum period.  With all the medical information available proving that the toll taken on our bodies causes postpartum depression in many women, one would think there would be no stigma attached when a woman asks for help.

One woman, however, has taken to social media to share the terrifying story of her experience in seeking help for her postpartum depression.  But this isn’t a story of support and understanding – she was instead treated like a criminal.

Café Mom reported:

Jessica Porten debated not sharing her outrageous experience but decided to post it on Facebook in order to show the world how little support moms get from the current health-care system. She explained that after giving birth to her second baby, she didn’t have her first OB/GYN appointment until four months later because they kept canceling it. “Which is inhuman in my eyes,” she wrote on Facebook.

After finally getting to a day where they didn’t cancel on her, Porten arrived to the appointment with baby Kira and was kept waiting for over an hour before being called back. “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,” she wrote. “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.”

According to Porten, after she disclosed her struggles, the nurse rushed through her pelvic exam, barely spoke about medication, and then left the room because she “needed to talk to the doctor” about her postpartum depression. Here, Porten thought that she was finally going to get the help that she needed — but the complete opposite happened instead. “They called the cops on me,” she wrote. “They had a staff member sit with me for over an hour waiting for the police to arrive.”

Can you imagine the fear and anxiety this woman had to endure while waiting for the police to come simply because she asked for help from her doctor?  And during this agonizing wait, she had her infant daughter with her.

Jessica had explicitly stated that she would never harm herself or her baby and recognized that she needed therapy and medication to help her be a strong and healthy mom.  She should have been able to expect compassion and understanding from her medical team, instead was betrayed by them for trying to do the right thing.

Café Mom continued:

When the police showed up, they had to figure out how they were going to escort Porten to the emergency room because she had her baby as well as her car seat. “The cops can clearly see I’m of sound mind and that this whole thing is [bs], 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.”

At the emergency room, Porten was assigned a security guard to “babysit” her while she was triaged and had blood drawn. “They take me to the bathroom so I can give a urine sample. They make me remove all of my clothes (including my flip flops, which they replaced with socks) and then take them away from me and lock them up,” she wrote. By 10:45 p.m., Porten and her husband were finally seen by a social worker who declared that Porten didn’t need to be put on a psychiatric hold, so the hospital processed her discharge.  

“Not once during all of this has a doctor laid eyes on me. Not once. Not even before they decided to call the cops on me. The social worker handed her some papers that she deemed “good resources” for Porten and she was finally released. “I leave the ER at midnight, my spirit more broken than ever, no medication, no follow up appointment, never spoke to a doctor. This was a 10 hour ordeal that I had to go through all while caring for my infant that I had with me,” she wrote. “And that’s it. That’s what I got for telling my OB that I have PPD and I need help. I was treated like a criminal and then discharged with nothing but a stack of xeroxed printouts with phone numbers on them.”

Jessica decided to share her story, not for sympathy for herself, but to shine a spotlight on the broken healthcare industry and what she feels is an outrageous lack of support for new mothers.  She hopes that what she went through will never happen to another new mom in need of support.

This situation could happen to any of us, and it is shocking that in this day and age, a woman is still stigmatized and under suspicion for reaching out to ask for help with a common medical issue.  Not only was she treated like a criminal, in the end, she was denied the help she needed – help that should be offered to any new mom who requests it.

Postpartum depression is an illness like any other.  If a doctor refused treatment to a cancer patient, put them under a cloud of suspicion, and sent them off with nothing but a “list of resources,” the nation would be up in arms.  Although women are told that postpartum depression or other mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of, Jessica’s story says otherwise.

It is highly disturbing that a new mother who wants to be healthy for her family is stigmatized, interrogated, and detained by police after visiting the doctor, but if a “transgendered” person seeks drastic medical procedures, they are welcomed with open arms.

Hopefully, Jessica’s story will let other new moms know they are not alone, and perhaps be a cautionary tale for the medical community — this is not how patients should ever be treated.

What do you think of Jessica’s disgraceful experience?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.


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