Mary Jo Codey

Mary Jo Codey (in interview): I got involved in having the media talk about postpartum depression because I faced postpartum mainly on my own. I looked through all the books on postpartum care and pregnant women and I found nothing on postpartum depression. So I felt like I was the only one in the world who had postpartum depression and nobody else was even just maybe blue and I couldnít forgive myself for being depressed after being the beautiful gift of a baby.

Mary Jo Codey (testifying before Congress): Congress has a moral obligation to women and their families across the whole country to provide more research to determine the full extent of this public health crisis; more education, screening, treatment and support to avoid needless suffering. It will take a federal mandate to do that effectively.

Mary Jo Codey (in interview with WABC News): I talked to mothers, in the 24 years that Iíve been talking about it, and they said they didnít know to watch their daughter or their wife 24/7 because they didnít know, they thought, a babyís a happy thing, sheíll snap out of it. They didnít know the difference between postpartum depression, postpartum Ö

Interviewer: Or the baby blues or what the difference is Ö

Mary Jo Codey (in interview with WABC News): Or postpartum psychosis, thereís three of them. And they didnít know and I thought, how could we not know that?

Mary Jo Codey (in interview): People come up to me and they whisper to me, I had postpartum depression or my aunt had postpartum depression and they whisper it to me like it was something wrong, like there was something wrong with it when the fact is that youíre just physically ill and it takes a mental form.

Connie Bonillas, postpartum depression survivor: One thing that really led me to start telling my story was realizing, I really wasnít alone, and the only reason that it hit me, I knew I wasnít alone, I knew I wasnít the first one, or the last unfortunately, that had experienced it. But I was listening on the radio that Mary Jo Codey had experienced postpartum depression. And I remember hearing it, I just started crying in the car. I just felt such relief, which is horrible to say, but at the same time I felt, now I know Iím not alone and thereís no reason for me to have shame. And really I felt, if this happened to me, I really have to help other women not experience what I went through.

Mary Jo Codey (testifying before Congress): One of the worst aspects of PPD is that it strikes at a time when you expect to be overjoyed. When you arenít, you feel shame, guilty, inadequacy and isolation. No matter how much support you receive from those around you, you lost touch with them and with yourself. You fail to bond with your baby. You canít function and you have no idea whatís happening or where to turn for help.

Mary Jo Codey (in interview): I feel like that itís something that has to come out of the close and the time is right now for it to be talked about and to educate doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals about postpartum depression because really not a lot is known about its care and its treatment.


Full interview

Interviewer: Mary Jo, just for everybody here when we show this in the clip and stuff like that, if you could just repeat a little bit why you got so involved in this.

Mary Jo Codey: I got involved in having the media talk about postpartum depression because I faced postpartum mainly on my own. I looked through all the books on postpartum care and pregnant women and I found nothing on postpartum depression. So I felt like I was the only one in the world who had postpartum depression and nobody else was even just maybe blue and I couldnít forgive myself for being depressed after being the beautiful gift of a baby.

Interviewer: And yet you run into so many people now after youíve spoken or talked and youíve been on TV, tell me what happens when people come up to you.

Mary Jo Codey: Well, the funny thing is people come up to me and they whisper to me, I had postpartum depression or my aunt had postpartum depression and they whisper it to me like it was something wrong, like there was something wrong with it, when the fact is that youíre just physically ill and it takes a mental form. And I try to tell them, reassure them, that thereís so many women that come up to me and their families Ė husbands and sons and daughters Ė who come up to me and say, my mother suffered from postpartum or my sister or my aunt suffered from postpartum and years ago they didnít know what it was. So I feel like that itís something that has to come out of the close and the time is right now for it to be talked about and to educate doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals about postpartum depression because really not a lot is known about its care and its treatment.

Interviewer: When you hear the term, baby blues, do you hear that being used almost, somewhat offensive, because it refuses to admit itís more than a baby blues thing?

Mary Jo Codey: Well, there is baby blues, postpartum depression is sort of the middle. Baby blues is common, about 50 to 80 percent of women have baby blues after having a baby. Postpartum depression is more severe and more serious and then I think the statistics are one in 1,000 of postpartum psychosis. Mainly what I dealt with and that I talk about is postpartum depression because it is in the middle and it is serious and it affects a lot more women than postpartum psychosis, but it needs to be treated with medication and counseling.

Interviewer: What do you tell spouses, how they should interfere without upsetting their wife anymore than sheís already upset? I think a lot of husbands are also overwhelmed with the birth of a child, at the moment, and all the balancing things that you do and yet you almost donít want to hurt the feelings of your spouse by saying that thereís something wrong with you.

Mary Jo Codey: I think itís important for a spouse to be honest with his wife and realize that sheís not eating maybe, sheís not sleeping. She has time to rest when the babyís resting but she just canít rest. And sometimes the spouse can go to the doctorís, the pediatrician, with the wife to show his support. And try to take over some of the care of the baby. Or if the husband is working, financially itís difficult to have a new baby, he could get her a baby nurse or a babysitter to relieve her of some of the pressure.

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