I received a letter from James Hamilton, M.D. in March 1984 that was addressed to me and Anne Simpson of Edinburgh Scotland. This is what the father of our postpartum movement wrote to us: “I am writing to both of you because both of you are doing the same thing: heading up local self-help groups for mothers who are depressed or who have other symptoms which they didn’t have before. I think that you should exchange some communication. Then, I think that you should put together what you know abut similar groups, if there are any. The potential public attention value of the Marce Society meeting to announce this as the beginning of an international movement can be used. Not a medicine dominated movement. I can tell you this: your organizations have enormous potential for helping people. When I was most actively in practice, 10 – 20 years ago, I always had from 3 to 8 postpartum cases in the same ward. The first thing I did when a new case came in was to introduce her to a woman who was on the road to recovery. This is the best therapy possible. This is why the British Mother and Baby wards are so effective. The woman with a postpartum illness is very dejected. She feels that she has failed, she has a character deficit. When she sees others with the same thing, in various stages of recovery, she knows that she is the victim of an illness, not a character failure. This is the most effective factor in recovery, in hospital patients, and it must be effective in lesser degrees of illness. I would like to see this launched in August. I think that you could claim a lot of support and interest from feminist sources. I think that you could say, for the U.S., at least, that this field has been totally neglected by male-dominated medicine, which, with pitifully few exceptions, is totally ignorant of the kinds of stresses which are involved here.”
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