Racism, Sexism and Postpartum Mood Disorders

I have been wanting to write a blog about current events without it feeling like I am writing an obligatory George Floyd post. Of course if you write about current topics it is more likely to be shared by other sites and read etc., but even if I wanted to how could I relate it to what I write about which is normally mental health, parenting, and mood disorders, especially postpartum ones? Also, I am not black, but my black friends have been encouraging us to speak out more for them lately more than ever. Over the last few weeks, I have seen two different ways these current events do relate to what I write about, even though there are probably many more.

I have always posted a lot about women not receiving enough care before and after birth and this being worse in the United States than most other major countries. This is the case for black women even more than white woman though. Too many women die giving birth, too many have premature babies, too many women get postpartum mood disorders and do not get proper treatment for them, but black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than other races, 50 percent more likely to give birth prematurely compared to white women, according to the March of Dimes, and at least twice as likely to get postpartum depression and less likely to be treated properly for it. Some will say this is due to other issues such as poverty, drug addition, etc. but if poverty and drug addiction are affecting one race so much worse than others, how can that not still be related to race?

Also, it is not just poverty and drug addiction. I have ready many stories recently about middle class or rich black women who have felt they were treated differently during pregnancy or birth due to race, including Serena Williams. I have also read stories of some even losing their life like this one: https://thegrio.com/2020/02/19/distraught-father-sues-cedars-sinai-hospital-after-his-wife-dies-during-childbirth/. I do not think the majority of these cases are doctors or nurses being outright racist, although we all know that exist on some level. It seems like with many other things it may truly be stemmed in systematic racism. Anyone can experience police brutality, but black men seem to experience it the most.

The people affected most are trying to fight against these things, but we should all be fighting together because they affect us all. I have friends and family that are cops. Just because I believe in reform within the police department (and also prison reform and so many other things while we are at it), does not mean I am siding against them or I do not think their life matters too. I truly do. If anything, I think some reforms would benefit police as much as citizens, although I am not for getting rid of the police dog on Paw Patrol and I stand with Chase. If citizens are less scared of police, than they are less hated and are safer. If things are put into place to reduce the number of women dying giving birth or giving birth to babies prematurely, why would anyone be against this?

If you are still wondering the second way I think this relates to what I write about, when I was younger, I often heard people imply that racism and sexism no longer exist, or are no longer major issues. Then I experienced sexism repeatedly. I experienced it the most when I became a mother, but I experienced it some before that. I experienced boys being able to grab your body and get away with it, I experienced fear of getting too comfortable or drinking at a party, or wearing certain things or acting a certain way, or going certain places alone at night, because if something happened to you it would be your own fault. I experienced sexism in so many ways in my career.

I experienced sexism with an accountant a couple times before I finally realized and used someone else. My husband and I have taken turns being the breadwinner in our marriage. When we first married, he was still in school and I was earning more. When we went to get our taxes done for the first time, the man doing our taxes had swapped our incomes. I tried to pretend this might be an honest mistake, it was fixed and we filed. Next year, the same thing happened again, so of course I started doing our taxes on my own using Turbo-tax. I also caught another mistake he made that year I knew about because of my job that would have cost us hundreds off of our refund.

When I went through severe postpartum depression years ago, my husband and I got so close to divorcing that I tried to remove him from my bank account. I had this bank account since I was in high school and eventually had him added to it when we got married. He did not even use it, I just wanted him to have access to it if he needed it or something happened to me which is exactly what I told the bank when adding him. When I tried to remove him, it turns out the bank had made him the main one on the account when I added him, so I was not able to remove him, even with his permission. I had to open a new account. Seriously? This explains why when they sent me new checks back then, I wondered why his name was the main name on them and mine was on the second line. I did not even want his name on them at all unless it had to be, and never requested he be the main person on the account or on my checks. I probably should have switched banks over this, but I realized the person who did this had done it years ago and may not even work for them anymore, but I did voice my concerns to them.

We have yet to have a female vice president or president but sexism no longer exists? I do not know how many times in my life by the way, I heard that a woman could not be president because she would be too emotional and might get us blown up. I usually try not to get too political in my posts because people of all beliefs get postpartum mood disorders, and I hope to help them all, but even if you are a Trump fan, can we all agree that argument went out that window when he became president? That is one emotional man.

Black men got the right to vote 50 years before black women or white women, but many still face barriers legally voting even now and ever since it became legal. Black people and women both gained a lot of rights in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s. Women could not even open their own bank account before the 1970’s, or breastfeed in public (and they often still get shamed by many for that second one, and that bank account experience in this blog occurred around 2011). Women still often have to have permission from their husband or have had to have a certain number of children before some doctors will provide them a hysterectomy or tie their tubes, but men do not face the same when getting vasectomies. Clearly sexism and racism both still exist. At least we are making progress, but it seems we still have a ways to go.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

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