Preview of The “Dark Side of the Full Moon” Documentary, And an Exclusive Interview

DARK SIDE OF THE FULL MOON

Here at Pregnancy Corner, we love to discuss the joyous celebration that is pregnancy and motherhood. We’ve also covered important, hard-hitting topics that maybe aren’t as easy to talk about, including How to Help Mom With Her Delivery, Battling Pregnancy Fatigue and Overcoming Feelings of Mommy Isolation.

Today we’re discussing another serious issue that affects many new mothers: mental health disorders, not limited to postpartum depression. This topic is prompted by the upcoming documentary, “Dark Side of the Full Moon,” which deeply explores the often ignored issue of maternal mental health in the United States.

According to the film, there’s a stark “disconnect within the medical community to effectively screen, refer, and treat the 1.3 million mothers” annually affected by debilitating mental conditions. Not only does the film give a face and voice to mothers who’ve previously “suffered in silence,” it explores peer-to-peer support groups, relevant policies, research and treatment.

The film is pioneered by two mothers, Maureen Fura and Jennifer Silliman. Maureen is a mother of two who says that at her very first OB appointment she told her doctor that she didn’t feel like herself and was sad. After six months and visits to nearly 30 medical professionals, she was rightfully angry and confused. This motivated her to not only share her story, but to do some research. Along the way, she met Jennifer, also a mother who says she hid intrusive thoughts from those closest to her for months. Jennifer serves as the Southeast Regional Coordinator for Postpartum Support International and is the founder of momTOmoms, a postpartum depression support group for mothers and fathers.

After joining forces, the courageous and determined duo set forth to create a film. In addition to documenting their stories, as well as stories from other women, the film “highlights inconsistencies of care, questioning the system and doctors, as well as [mothers], asking who should be held accountable for the staggering number of women still suffering in silence.” It also aims to inform the general public, as well as educate and encourage medical professionals.

You can watch the emotionally moving trailer here:

A Pregnancy Corner Exclusive Interview With Co-Producer Jennifer Silliman

Pregnancy Corner: What inspired this film?

Jennifer Silliman: Dark Side of the Full Moon was inspired by the director’s experience with pregnancy depression and anxiety with intrusive thoughts.  Her and I met by absolute chance, and when I told her that I went through the exact same thing during my pregnancy, she couldn’t believe it.  She asked if I’d like to make a documentary and I said yes.  We both fell through the cracks of the healthcare system and have now learned that hundreds of thousands of mothers and families are still falling through the cracks.

PC: What was your primary objective in creating the film?

JS: Our primary objective for making our film is to bring awareness to maternal mental health disorders, which are so stigmatized and often talked about, specifically in the media, incorrectly.

PC: What are a few takeaways from the film?

JS: Some of the takeaways of this film should be that clearly there is not enough education about maternal mental in both the birthing and mental health communities.  We truly believe that healthcare professionals have a medical and moral obligation to address maternal mental health disorders with their patients, just like they do any other medical complication that could arise.  We feel another huge takeaway is that while the term PPD is used as an umbrella term for maternal mental health, PPD is just one disorder.  A large percentage of mothers suffer during their pregnancy and from other disorders like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, intrusive thoughts, and PTSD for those that have a traumatic birth.

PC: Who do you think will benefit from watching?

JS: We truly believe this a public health crisis, so truly anyone will benefit from watching this film.  With that said, this is probably not a film for someone who is pregnant or in their postpartum period.  It is not a child birth education video, but the hope would be that if a child birth educator were watching our film, that they would look at their curriculum and ask themselves if they are really educating families as well as they should be.

Dark Side of the Full Moon will be released in early 2015. You can find out more about the film, its makers, and other women’s stories on the website.

 

This page was last updated on 06/2017
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