Have you ever had an experience that changed your life? An experience that at the time was torture and left you saying, “why me?” That was me 2 years ago when after having my 3rd daughter I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. It had me questioning my ability to be a good mom and in a constant state of internal overwhelm….and yet on the outside it looked like everything was fine. I was lucky that I had the amount of support that I did and was able to heal using a holistic approach that addressed my physical, mental and spiritual health.
Two years have passed since my own experience with PPD and I have nothing but deep gratitude for the struggle that I endured after having Hayley. In part because she is amazing and I love her with all of my heart, but also because that experience catapulted me into the world of maternal wellness. It ultimately allowed me to find a new passion AND my people. If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be the President of the NJ Chapter of PSI I would have never believed you. I didn’t have postpartum with my other two daughters and couldn’t fathom what it would be like to have the joy taken from what was supposed to be the happiest time in my life. When I realized that the lack of enjoyment, plus the rage that I was feeling was a SYMPTOM of PPD it was like a lightbulb went off and I felt better knowing that this was a STATE and not a TRAIT. By giving this experience a name I was able to use all of my tools to heal myself. It was not overnight and it took patience, trust and community to get to the place where I am at now.
I spent last weekend diving deep into the world of maternal wellness at the Postpartum Support International Conference in Philadelphia. This community is so amazing, because a large percentage of us have lived through PPD and then made a commitment to raise awareness and support other moms. The presenters were diverse, smart and inspiring. There were keynotes the importance of bringing culture and magic into each session. I was in awe as I sipped my tea and learned on how to bring services to underserved populations, how to start a holistic treatment center, the pros and cons of self-disclosure and that it’s ok to use an eclectic approach to treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Even more impactful than the information I drank in was the connections that I made. Every single person that I interacted with was compassionate, kind, smart, and inspiring. I left the conference a changed woman and even more committed to serving mothers.
I am sharing this with you because it’s possible that you are going through something in your life and I want to give you HOPE. Life can be different and there is help out there, all you have to do is recognize that you need it and that it is OK to ask for it. I also want you to know that this challenge might actually be your greatest gift. It’s possible that you are going through it so that when you are better you can be a guide for others.
Please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about maternal wellness or talk about getting some support.