Updated: Oct 4, 2019
Since I just started my own private practice, I thought, no time like the present to do my first ever blog post! So here goes! I do what I do for many reasons, but most of all to help and provide tools to others. Everyone has their own unique story which usually abuse, assault, trauma, mental illness, health issues, substance abuse issues, fertility issues, pregnancy losses, birth trauma, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and the list can go on and on.
While I thoroughly enjoy working with men and women suffering from anxiety, depression, transition issues among many others, my passion is perinatal mental health. Up until a few years ago, I did not even know this was a specialty, let alone understand the magnitude of how many women and partners are in dire need of perinatal mental health specialists. Perinatal mental health specialists address a variety of issues from fertility struggles to postpartum psychosis (and everything in between). This is a specialty within the mental health community which is finally getting the attention and notoriety it deserves. Believe me though, we still have a long way to come! To treat an individual with a perinatal mental health issue with no prior training could be extremely damaging and could prolong the much-needed immediate relief of symptoms.
So, why did I go into perinatal mental health? I get this question a lot and I assume others just “know” that I have my own story. My story is exactly why I went into perinatal mental health. So, here is just a snapshot of my story and what brought me on this journey, why I continue this journey and continue to educate myself in the perinatal mental health field.
I am the mother of two beautiful daughters who have brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. However, with that they brought me a lot of other stuff I was ill-prepared for and certainly not equipped to manage on my own. I was not aware of the intensity of pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period or being a parent. I had zero clue what I, my husband or our marriage was in store for when I saw those two positive pregnancy tests. I often tell clients that we think of parenthood as having a cute baby that will eat, sleep, poop and cry and we will be tired, maybe not be able to shower every day but we will have a cute baby. Of course, everyone one of those things are true, but we have no idea how dramatic these precious babies will change our life, priorities, thought process, emotions and behaviors.
I won’t bore you with all the details of my story but I do have my story and my story is what fuels my passion for perinatal mental health. Let’s just say, my birth story, breastfeeding and the first year of my children’s lives did not go as I had imagined. My adjustment to parenthood was anything but positive and I had a strong need to be at work where I was confident in what I was doing, because that whole raising a newborn thing was way out of my skill set.
I carried a lot of what other mothers share with me in therapy session from guilt, shame, embarrassment, negative thoughts along with many other feelings, emotions and thoughts I could not even imaging how to share with others. It took me a long time to share my story with anyone, including my husband. Gradually, I felt more comfortable to share my postpartum experiences with friends and family. While my second daughter’s birth was more positive, it still had a lot of challenges that I, again, was not prepared for because I did this once so I had to “know what I was doing”. Right?! Wrong! Transitioning from a family of 3 to a family of 4, with a toddler, is no joke!
My girls are now almost 8 and 5 and they are so precious to me and a constant reminder to me that I can get through anything in life. I am so proud of my body for withstanding two pregnancies, two c-sections, birthing two healthy babies, breastfeed and sustaining the energy to care for these two tiny humans that never seem to run out of energy. They are also my absolute main reason for specializing in perinatal mental health because I believe every parent deserves to be the best, happiest parent they can be for their children and their children deserve the happiest, not most perfect, parent.