In 2015, I found out I was pregnant right before Father's Day. Needless to say, my husband and I were elated. Approximately three days later, before we could announce our pregnancy...I experienced a miscarriage. Personally, I did not feel like I had enough time to build an emotional connection to my baby. The trauma of that experience came though the physical pain, emotional desperation, and in my ignorance. I heard that miscarriages were common, but NEVER had I heard how physically painful it would be. (If you’re interested in my miscarriage experience, see my post _____) My husband and I leaned on one another and our circles of support to get through that experience.
The second time we tried for a child we were grateful that our son made it to full term! The tragedy that sparked my passion for maternal mental health, stems here. When I was 7 months pregnant, I lost my mother.
She was a beautifully complex woman who was terribly sick, however her death came suddenly and needless to say left me in a place of mourning and shock. I was very fortunate to have a supportive family, friends, coworkers, and spiritual advisors who helped me navigate that chapter of life. But it left me wondering, what about the women who experience trauma who may not have sufficient support?
When my son was 11 months old when we made huge life transition, relocating our families and making a slight career shift. One month after settling in, I found out I was pregnant-- what an untimely yet pleasant surprise. It explained my development of frequent side eyes and my newest companion, irritation.
Amidst adjusting to a new location, dealing with the change in family dynamics, building new relationships, changes in employment, settling into an old but new spiritual community, I had to deal with the physical challenges of this pregnancy. It was hard to say the least. I felt emotionally unstable, lonely, and afraid. I knew that this stage of life would be short- you can only be new for so long and pregnancy was bound to come to an end. Yet again my personal experiences created space for wonder and concern.
I wondered what happens to the mother who loses her mother, or the family that experiences a huge life altering experience while becoming a parent? What about the mom who has anxiety, depression, or just difficulty adjusting to life WHILE being pregnant? Who do those moms go to for help? I know that information and services are increasing for the mom who has already had her baby, but what about the mom that has yet to give birth?
As I began my professional exploration I realized that, although services are increasing, they are still very limited. I hope to join the movement for changing that.
I have recently completed Postpartum Support Internationals certificate training on Maternal Mental Health in efforts to provide evidenced based quality care for families experiencing the challenge of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I feel extremely passionate about helping mothers, fathers, couples, and families to work through this. Help exists, we are here, I am here. And this is my journey to maternal mental health.