To Good Morning America, From Anne-Marie Lindsey

Dear GMA,
I’m sure that you did your best; frankly, your segment and blog post misrepresented my story and [www.mommyneedsaxanax.com]. At best, it was harmless, except for the anxiety and anger it has caused me. At worst, your piece came off as pressure to use meds only in emergencies and to get off as soon as possible. A “response to motherhood” does not even come close to an accurate characterization of most stories. If you want to cover postpartum mental health, say that. If you were trying to cover mental health for women like me, who became mothers after overcoming mental health obstacles, you utterly failed. You may have shown me saying that meds are a tool in my toolbox, but you didn’t mention the other tools available, how to “find a support group” or the fact that 2 of the 3 moms you interviewed were on meds before motherhood. I am not only disappointed, I am angry on behalf of the mothers you shamed today. Now, many of them will have to answer questions like, “Do you really still need medication? Are you sure?”
Women do not take medication because they can’t cut it as mothers alone. That was the message your show and segment sent. You wasted a golden opportunity to change hearts and minds. You perpetuated the stigma that mothers like me are weak. The “anchors” came off as callous and completely lacking in empathy. You could have done worse, and that’s the best I can say for your so-called “news” piece. This was sensationalism and a disservice to mothers. Trivializing mental illness and the medication that helps the mentally ill is never ok.
Anne-Marie Lindsey

21 Comments

  1. Ugh, I’m so sorry that you were misrepresented, Anne-Marie. Big hugs.

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
  2. Oh Anne-Marie. I’m sorry to say this happens a lot. Hang in there and keep speaking up!!!!!

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      If anything, my voice is stronger for the experience. Thank you for your support! This is an email I actually sent, and I got a phone call in response. I asked the producer to post links that were actually helpful. I hope that anyone who found the piece triggering or goes to their site gets to see those links to PP, PSI, etc. I’m upset for me, but I’m mostly upset because I had hoped it would help more.

      March 20, 2013
      Reply
  3. Brenna Darazs said:

    Shameful. It’s a step back instead of forward.

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
  4. So sorry! Hope you are able to file it away and enjoy your weekend! Hugs!

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
  5. Andrea B said:

    =( I didn’t see it, and I don’t know your entire story, but I am so sorry that they failed you so horribly. It’s completely wrong, unfair and totally inappropriate. I send you strength to keep sharing your words because we need them. All of us. Moms everywhere. ((hugs))

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
  6. Laura said:

    Oh no! Do you happen to have a video clip from it?

    March 20, 2013
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  7. Grrr…this makes me so angry. It took me 18 months of suffering before I finally got the help I needed – partly because of THIS stigma towards depression medication. I found myself cringing just reading their tagline about “popping pills” as if it’s just a game? or as if moms who say they have PPD and take meds are just making excuses. Really??? I’m glad you are speaking out and I’m grateful there are more and more people like you. But, for crying out loud, the media needs to GET THEIR FACTS STRAIGHT!

    March 20, 2013
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  8. JD Bailey said:

    I saw the segment online and I can totally understand why you’re upset. I was offended that the show made it sound like SSRIs and anti-anxiety meds are to be used only “while they’re really needed.” GMA made it sound like weak moms turn to drugs to get them through their days. HELLO. We take the meds we take to manage a chronic condition.

    I thought YOU were great though. All three of you moms were. So congrats on speaking out and being brave. :-)

    March 20, 2013
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    • Lindsay Okruch said:

      ^ditto! I would be crushed if I saw my words twisted like they did. Bravo for keeping your cool! <3

      April 27, 2013
      Reply
  9. Anne-Marie said:

    The video is up, now. You can watch it, here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/prescription-drug-rise-mothers-18771348?tab=9482930&section=1206852&playlist=18772267

    I’d like to add that after I spoke with a producer at GMA, links were added to the end of the transcript to Postpartum Progress (http://www.postpartumprogress.com/) and Postpartum Support International (http://www.postpartum.net/) at my suggestion. I wanted them to add these links so that there would be actual, helpful resources in addition to an unhelpful “discussion.”

    March 20, 2013
    Reply
  10. Erika K said:

    This piece really bothered me, too. I had undiagnosed PPD and PMDD for 2 1/2 years and medication was the only thing that effectively pulled me out of that hellish swamp. I had already assumed I was a bad mom and just couldn’t hack parenting, but that was the depression talking. If I’d seen this segment back then, I’m not sure I would have found it helpful. It’s just too tabloidy to be comforting or reassuring.

    March 21, 2013
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  11. Kayla said:

    The ONLY thing I can say in their defense is that they obviously have NO idea what they’re talking about (and anyone who has dealt with mental health issues knows it’s pretty much impossible for others to understand what you’re going through if they’ve never been through it themselves!) That said, I completely agree with you- this shames moms who take meds in order to be good moms. I have been taking meds for anxiety for about 2 years now, and it has completely changed how I am as a mother! I am SO grateful to live in a time where I can take meds and feel like a normal person again!

    March 21, 2013
    Reply
  12. Caitlin said:

    Wow, I just watched the video and am appalled! I’m wondering if the interviewer was listening to you at all or had just decided the angle of the piece in advance and was waiting for the right quotes. (By the way, I didn’t see links anywhere…) Just know you are helping many more people with this blog than Good Morning America helps with all of their air time.

    March 29, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      The links are tacked on to the end of the transcript, not even with the video. I think the producer meant well but the final edit tried to fit a complex issue into a neat little package. And it makes no sense! I hope the blog helps. It certainly has a longer life.

      March 29, 2013
      Reply
  13. Lindsay Okruch said:

    Oh honey, I’m so sorry! At least the topic can be discussed these days! There was a time not too long ago where if you suffered from PPD you suffered alone. I don’t know if this makes you feel any better, but at the very least it has strengthened your resolve in the cause. <3

    April 13, 2013
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      I definitely see your point. But I also feel like it’s more ok to talk about postpartum mood/anxiety disorders than to talk about knowing that you have mood/anxiety disorders and having a baby, anyway. I never had PPD. I knew what the issues were, what the risks were, that I could not function without my medication and I had a baby, anyway. That is the story I wanted told.

      April 13, 2013
      Reply
      • Marie said:

        Thanks for telling this story, Anne-Marie. I am 19w along and still on my meds, and I know this is the right thing for me and my family. I am so grateful for you for putting yourself out there and being a voice for moms like me.

        May 1, 2013
        Reply
  14. I found you on twitter, and am so touched by your story. I suffered from panic attacks for decades. I’m older than you and yet the pain I felt during my pregnancies came back to me in a very visceral way when I saw this clip and the documentary trailer you’ve made.

    My anxiety started when I was a teenager, with shifting hormones. It was brutal during my second pregnancy in particular. I am healed now in ways I never thought possible, through therapies like EMDR and my meditation practice, but Valium and Klonopin were extremely helpful to me when I was raising my children.

    For so long, I felt alone in my suffering. Bravo to you for telling your story so that it can help so many others feel less alone.

    December 18, 2013
    Reply

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