For too many women (and some dads, too), the birth of a child is nothing near all sweetness and light.
There’s a dark side: postpartum depression, which affects about 1.3 million mothers a year.
It’s the subject of a 75-minute documentary film, The Dark Side of the Full Moon, which will be screened at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St. Admission is free, but donations will be collected for Richmond MISS Foundation, the local chapter of a nonprofit that provides aide and comfort to those dealing with the loss of a child.
The film is told from the perspective of two mothers, Maureen and Jennifer, who each have suffered with perinatal mood disorders and postpartum depression. Here’s what the filmmakers say about the documentary:
“Together, Maureen and Jennifer begin a life changing journey, documenting their common story with women from around the country, Maureen looking to the past, asking why this happened, and Jennifer looking to the future, wanting to find a system that protects mothers from this happening again.”
The host for the screening is Linda Zaffram, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Healing Circle Counseling and Services in Richmond. Here’s what she had to say regarding the film:
R•H Factor: What’s your connection with the screening, and why is it being held in Richmond?
Zaffram: I found out about the Dark Side of the Full Moon documentary from a Facebook post when they were in the beginning phases of the film. I started following their Facebook page, as postpartum mood disorder is an area of specialty that I offer. … Once the film was finished, I wanted to host it here in Richmond, so I collaborated with the Byrd Theatre. As a provider of perinatal mood disorder (counseling) in the community, I see the need for education, the lack of knowledge of how to screen and treat perinatal mood disorders. … Postpartum mood disorder is a family disease; it affects everyone in the family. This illness does not affect just women, up to 10 percent of men experience postpartum depression.
As a clinician who specializes in perinatal mood disorders and maternal mental health, I want to also raise awareness in the community on how to support families postpartum.
In my practice, reasons women have often (cited) for not seeking treatment sooner (include) stigma, perfectionism schema, self/family or support system blame, fear their children will be taken away, denial, feeling it will go away, lack of support, lack of screening and lack of education of the symptoms of PPMD’s (Perinatal Mood Disorders). This has to change.
R•H Factor: Have you seen the documentary? What did you think?
Zaffram: I thought the documentary was well written, and held professionals accountable. The interviews with the women and their families were so raw and powerful to watch. Women explored their experiences with perinatal mood disorders, their attempts to get help, waiting lists, not being listened to, not being screened at all, being hospitalized unnecessarily. This has got to stop!
Perinatal mood disorder is a complication in pregnancy and postpartum. The community needs to embrace these families and get them the help that they need.
Raising families is a lifelong journey, and often providers are the ones who are a big part of that. Professionals need to be able to ask the hard questions and be present in a loving and compassionate way. I started my practice as a result of the lack of resources for women and families in their childbearing years.
R•H Factor: Who is the target audience for the screening at the Byrd?
Zaffram: The target audience for the film is adults, parents, any person or family member who has or has had a loved one experience a perinatal mood disorder. Professionals working with families, such as clinicians, doctors, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, pediatricians, OB-GYNs, midwives, birth and postpartum doulas and anyone working with families from birth through the lifespan could benefit from seeing this film.
R•H Factor: What is the suggested donation?
Zaffram: There is no suggested donation. We hope that whatever donation you find in your heart is what you give.
R•H Factor: What are some examples of the work of the MISS Foundation in Richmond, and what is your affiliation with the foundation’s local chapter?
Zaffram: The local Richmond MISS Foundation chapter hosts free monthly support groups to bereaved parents, has a yearly walk to raise money for their foundation and on International Kindness Project Day (July 27). … They invite people around the world to come together in one unified day of kindness in their memory.
They have kindness cards on their website you can (use) for your bereaved loved ones at any time as well. They provide other services that can be seen on their website. http://richmond.missfoundation.org/
Since I provide services for perinatal mood disorders as well as (being) a birth doula, I wanted training in perinatal loss. In January 2015, I took the MISS Foundation Compassionate Bereavement Care certification training to be able to provide bereavement services to parents in our community. I will also be offering a free miscarriage support group sometime this fall through the MISS Foundation.
(Zaffron offered this caveat regarding the screening: “The film comes with a trigger warning for those who may be suffering or recovering from a maternal mental health disorder, so viewer discretion is advised.”)