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I found (it felt like) I knew nothing

“I went into my first pregnancy and birth feeling like I knew a decent amount about the perinatal process and PMADs as a trained birth and postpartum doula but when my daughter was born on NYE 2019, I found (it felt like) I knew nothing. Looking back it was clear I had postpartum anxiety right away but was so engrossed in my feelings that I was blinded to my very clear symptoms. As I continued with my untreated PPA these symptoms grew worse. Intrusive thoughts, a crippling inability to ask for help, and most likely, I experienced some postpartum OCD. Then the pandemic happened and the loneliness engulfed me. It felt like I was silently stewing in my anxiety every day. I easily convinced myself that I was a terrible mother and around 5-6mo postpartum, I began to feel depressed. I knew I needed therapy but organizing it, finding a therapist I could afford and making the initial appointment felt nearly impossible. I’m so lucky one of my best friends is a perinatal health professional (and former therapist at TMC!) who helped me see the light and connect with a mental health professional. I was too deep in my PMADs to crawl out on my own. I needed a trusted friend to swim with me to the surface, let me know I’m not alone, and that with help, I will recover. I am and was a great mom.

Going into my second birth, I knew better! I setup regular sessions with a therapist in my 3rd trimester, and was able to continue through my 4th trimester. I hired my own postpartum doula and practiced asking for help from my village. I started my antidepressants again when I felt my first twinge of depression and was able to avoid feeling too heavy to get myself help like last time. I easily share my story and lived experience with my birth and postpartum clients and anyone that can benefit from it. I hope this resonates with someone experiencing a PMAD, lets them know they are far from alone, and that there is treatment. You will feel like yourself again! And you are a great mom and parent.”

– Amber M., @bangsandtats

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