When Lisa Carmody first brought her newborn baby home from the hospital, she never imagined she would soon be feeling some of the worst emotions she’d ever experienced.
© Guardian photo
Independent MLA Olive Crane enters Province House.
It began with anxiety, then spiraled downward.
Carmody was eventually diagnosed with postpartum depression.
She says this was difficult to accept at first.
“I felt so guilty that I felt that way when I was supposed to feel so happy,” she said.
But she quickly realized the hardest part was not just accepting the diagnosis — but finding any services to help her beyond medication.
She tried several avenues, but kept coming up empty — meanwhile she discovered other provinces offer a wealth of services to struggling new moms.
“I didn’t feel like I had the right therapeutic support to even comprehend what happened,” she said.
“About five tries in, I thought, I’m too tired to do this. This should be easier, there should be an easier access point, and that’s what I want them to create.”
In the legislature Thursday, Independent MLA Olive Crane raised concern about the lack of services for new mothers like Carmody, who discover they need resources and help.
She tabled a motion calling on government to review what services could be made available for women suffering from postpartum depression and to find solutions for any gaps that are found.
Crane said she has heard from 15 other women who have shared their personal struggles and are also looking for more help.
“There’s too many people falling through the cracks,” Crane said, adding there are also women who need help coping with the devastating feelings of loss after experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth.
“This whole area needs attention.”
Crane asked Health Minister Doug Currie if he would agree to a roundtable discussion with some of the women affected by these issues together with the province’s chief mental health and addictions officer, Dr. Rhonda Matters.
“It’s a very serious issue and an issue that I would encourage and welcome a conversation with the group of ladies … to get to the heart of the concerns,” Currie said.
He also supported Crane’s motion calling for action to be taken, but spoke only of possibly implementing a new screening test for new mothers. He did not commit to new services.
“If implemented, and we’re looking at it, we would train our nurses in the Edinburgh screening tool,” he said.
“This is used for screening purposes only, this is not a treatment for postpartum depression, once the tool provides an assessment, we would then refer women who require further support to community mental health.”
Crane viewed Currie’s willingness to sit down and discuss the issue in depth as a success and says she plans to keep pushing for more services.
Her motion passed, unanimously supported by both government and the Opposition.
Carmody says she hopes something changes soon. She is expecting her second child in September.
“Ideally, there would be something in place, something better than what we have right now, by Sept. 30, when I have my next baby,” she said. “I know that’s wishful thinking, but I mean, why not wish for better than what we have?”