"It is a glorious gift to all of us," Shields said at a news conference with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez(D-NJ) and several area moms and their children.
The bill that squeaked through Congress this past spring and then was signed into law by President Obama includes postpartum depression for coverage, education and research.
"I believe we are on the path to lifting the shame," Shields said, referring to her own suicidal thoughts after her first child was born in 2003.
Remembering back to those days, the New York City native admitted "I thought I made a huge mistake, I was in such a sad, scared, devastated state."
"It was the worst time of my entire life," Shields admitted.
Also in attendance was Mary Jo Codey, the former First Lady of New Jersey who told NBC New York in an exclusive interview shortly after becoming First Lady in 2004 that she almost put her second child in a microwave oven because of her postpartum depression.
"I never gave up hope that one day there would be a law," Codey said in explaining why she spoke out for more research, education and coverage for the debilitating condition.
An estimated 20 percent of mothers of newborns suffer some form of the depression, research suggests.
The new section of the health care reform act includes money for research grants, as well as support services to help diagnose PPD.
"It's a good beginning," said Senator Menendez, who added "It will help new mothers feel safe."
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