I am a mother of 3 beautiful princesses. I got thrown into the world of maternal mental health after the birth of my second daughter, who just turned 5 last week. I had an uncommon complication called a uterine inversion. In the months that followed, I suffered from intense panic attacks, nightmares, and rage. If it wasn't for my nursing school instructor, I don't know if I would have seen the need to get help. I looked up postpartum depression, but I didn't fit the bill. I wasn't sad. But my mind was very unwell.
I attended therapy, which helped me immensely. I was able to go back to the unit I gave birth in as a student nurse and witness a birth in the same room. That will be one of my biggest accomplishments! I got pregnant again and had another rare complication called placenta accreta that resulted in an emergent hysterectomy. While the birth was actually rather similar to my first traumatic birth, my postpartum period was much different. I did not have PTSD symptoms, but very obvious depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. I once again attended therapy and took medication to make myself semi-functional through that first year and a half. She is now 20 months, and I can finally say I feel almost like myself. I must stay on top of my self-care and knowing what my triggers are.
After my second daughter was born I volunteered with Postpartum Progress, which used to be one of the leading organizations spreading awareness of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders until its closure earlier this year. Volunteering with them connected me to moms all over the world who have experienced a maternal mental health themselves or witnessed a loved one go through it. It taught me that I was not alone in this battle in my head. There were other moms who had gone through something similar. It also showed me that moms are not getting the support they need during the postpartum period. And this is not just a Utah thing, it is a world wide thing! There is such a stigma attached to postpartum depression and similar disorders. I decided that I needed to change the way moms are treated after they have their baby. There is no better place to start that change than right here in Northern Utah.