Like many mothers in Massachusetts, I can tell you exactly what I was doing when news of the Clancy family tragedy broke. I was in my kitchen, cleaning up after putting the kids down for the night. The spray bottle was in one hand, and my phone lit up with a text message while sitting on the counter next to the paper towels.

“This can’t be real. There’s no way this is happening.”

My only response was a question mark, because these days a lot of what happens in a news cycle doesn’t seem real. Another text pinged before I could hit send. Then another. All from friends in town with young children — all distraught.

I opened the links they had sent and saw all the comments flooding the town Facebook pages and local mom groups. I live six minutes from Lindsay Clancy’s Duxbury home, so when I tell you this hit close to home, I mean it in both the emotional and literal senses. 

The days that followed brought a post-tragedy togetherness among local moms. We were suddenly having conversations we hadn’t had before to let each other know that we, too, had struggled in motherhood. None of our lives were accurately reflected by our Instagram grids. If someone was suffering, we wanted them to know we were here to help, not judge.

It should not have taken this tragedy to spur these conversations. However, if I will ever think back to a silver lining in those dark days, it was seeing the way women came together to let each other know they were supported. 

And as much as I loved seeing mothers support each other, I had to ask myself why, once again, it felt like the emotional labor of helping our community through an unspeakable time was just another thing thrown at mothers. We were the ones most rattled, and yet we were the ones comforting everyone around us.

In the days that followed, local lawmakers promised action and support — initiatives to ensure that mothers who were suffering with their postpartum mental health would have access to services. So, one year after Lindsay Clancy’s family tragedy, where are we with those bills? Want to know how many bills proposing increased support for postpartum mental health have passed the Massachusetts State Legislature since January 2023?

None. Not a single bill has been passed into law. Several were presented, but none have gone further than a hearing on Beacon Hill.

Another full year of mothers struggling with their mental health being ignored. We were promised support. We were promised change. We got nothing. 

So, once again, it looks like the burden of supporting mothers has fallen to other mothers. If you’d like to ask why this is, contact your state representative and ask for an update on any of the following bills: 

No. S.708 — An Act Enhancing Post-Pregnancy Mental Health Care
No. H. 1996 — An Act Establishing A Maternal Health Equity Grant Program
No. S. 672 — An Act increasing access to maternal postpartum home visiting services
No. 1375 — An Act Relative to Postpartum Depression Screening

If you are a mom struggling with your mental health, support is available. You can contact the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline, which provides free, confidential support to any pregnant and postpartum mothers. The hotline is 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS.


 

Brittany Kooienga
This writer has been brought to you today by copious amounts of caffeine and dry shampoo. Between raising two very active kiddos and two even more active beagles with her husband in Kingston, MA; Brittany has learned to take each hour as it comes. Not easy for a self-confessed Type A over planner. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Suffolk University, she spent a few years in the marketing world before returning to school to earn a post-baccalaureate degree in Health Education. One month after completing her coursework, she and her husband welcomed their first child and she has been the primary caregiver for her children ever since. When she isn’t chasing kids or dogs, Brittany can be found in her home office where she works as an Operational Management Consultant, or in the kitchen coming up with new recipes her kids will actually want to eat. You can follow her kitchen adventures on Instagram at @thekidsateittoo.

1 COMMENT

  1. Grr that nothing has happened bill wise.

    I’m going to look them up and see if my senator is a cosponsor.
    Are any likely to be taken up before February?
    I do some advocacy with Arc of Massachusetts and they just had us reach out to try to get a bill passed on supportive decision making by February.

    I’m in Marshfield and there was a postpartum support international walk on the south shore that I participated in and I cried on the walk part.

    I have a 9 month old and saw a lot of that post tragedy conversation in Facebook mom groups.

    I also joined a Moms Together support group which formed after the tragedy
    https://www.patriotledger.com/story/news/2023/03/13/south-shore-women-to-offer-support-groups-for-new-veteran-moms-duxbury-clancy-milton-postpartum/69953955007/

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