Last year I wrote here about my initial experience with the VA during my pregnancy with Austin. So many of you reached out and helped me make my voice heard online and the VA eventually heard me and decided to treat me throughout my pregnancy again. Dealing with their mental healthcare system hasn’t been easy since I gave birth a year ago. It’s been manageable, but it’s been a process that has challenged me significantly.
Today I’m over at Postpartum Progress writing about what I’ve learned the past year a half…and what I’d like to see the VA do differently for pregnant and postpartum women veterans. Here’s an excerpt:
“While I understand the desire to avoid liability, I fail to see how flat out refusing to treat a veteran who’s been in your care is striving to provide the best level of care for a population you’re committed to serving.
As a result of serving in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom), as well as the alarming prevalence of sexual assault in the military, many women veterans suffer from mental health conditions such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. As such, it places them at particularly higher risks for developing antenatal and postpartum mood disorders should they become pregnant. Refusing to continue to treat these veterans during such a critical time in their lives is negligent and dangerous, as is telling them the best thing to do is quit their medications cold turkey. You cannot leave these women out in the wind to navigate the journey through pregnancy alone.
Eventually, I was assigned to a psychiatrist on staff with a background in pharmacology who agreed to work with my OB’s treatment plan and offer input.
I would love to see the VA do away with such a harmful policy and replace it with one that is collaborative with the civilian providers they outsource care to, as well as guided by current research. My fellow veteran mothers deserve that.”
Head over to Postpartum Progress and read the rest of part 1 here.