Today we are addressing a sensitive issue, but one that needs attention! Mental health and specifically, postpartum mood disorders. I myself have struggled with mental health and it is a huge part of my life that I have learned to be open about. As a postpartum doula and lactation counselor, I see it manifest in various ways for new parents and even seasoned parents. Each pregnancy and postpartum experience is different and I believe this needs to be discussed.
I had the pleasure of grabbing breakfast with Lindsay over the summer. She is a wife, mama, and passionate mental health professional and advocate for those in the Piedmont Triad.
Q: Hi Lindsay! Would you go over a bit of what you do, daily life and your credentials?
A: Hey! I work as an outpatient mental health therapist, with a special focus on perinatal mental health. I practice at a large group private practice in Winston-Salem. My credentials are Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Perinatal Mental Health Certified (PMHC).
Q: What made you want to pursue a career in mental health?
A: I’ve always enjoyed talking with people and helping others. As humans, we are made for connection and I enjoy helping others feel heard and seen. After becoming a mother myself and facing the varying identity shifts in motherhood, I felt called to work in maternal mental health.
Q: If you are willing to share, did you experience any postpartum mood disorders?
A: After my first pregnancy, I faced challenges around identity shifts. During and after my second pregnancy, I struggled with anxiety.
Q: Can you explain what a postpartum mood disorder is and the most common addressed in your line of work?
A: A perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD) is a broad term, often shortened to postpartum mood disorders or postpartum depression. In fact, PMADs encompass a range of disorders that can occur in the perinatal period (depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, post traumatic stress, etc). The most common PMAD has historically been considered postpartum depression. We now know that postpartum anxiety is just as, if not more prevalent. Pre COVID, 1 in 5 mothers had diagnosable PMADs. In recent years, that number is speculated to have risen near 1 in 3. Screening and detection can make all the difference in treatment and recovery.
Q: You started a nonprofit organization for perinatal disorders. Can you explain more about your role and involvement in Postpartum Resource Center of the Triad?
A: Postpartum Resource Center of the Triad (PCRT) is a new, local nonprofit that was started by myself and some colleagues and mothers in the area. We realized there are some great medical and perinatal mental health providers and groups in our area, and yet those resources can be hard to find, especially for new moms. We also realized medical professionals might benefit from learning more about PMADs to help better care for the mothers and families in the Triad. We hope to bridge the resource gap, while raising our community’s awareness of perinatal mental health, supporting new parents, and destigmatizing perinatal mental health.
Q: If someone is experiencing or questioning a potential perinatal disorder, what tips do you have for a new mom that may feel lost?
A: The first tip would be to reach out to your OB or medical professional, as they might have referrals. Another tip is to visit,prctriad.com and look at our list of local counseling providers. In addition to our website, we have a free resource line anyone can call to get more information.
Q: In my own research, I have found that there is a topic that is very silent. What are some therapeutic practices, besides treatment from a professional, for moms that experience postpartum rage?
A: Moms experiencing postpartum rage may benefit from grounding techniques and creating or utilizing their support system. If possible, these moms may benefit from a support group. Often the validation and techniques learned that come from a group space is therapeutic.
Q: Do you have any further advice to give moms that are struggling with postpartum mood disorders and feel they have nowhere to turn?
A: You are not alone and it’s not your fault. Getting adequate sleep and feeling supported are important. There are many free support groups online. There are several perinatal certified therapists in our area. Your birthing supports (medical profs, doulas, lactation consultants, etc) may also know of local options that align with your needs.
Shoutout to Lindsay for this information!
As we approach the holidays, I want to encourage everyone to realize that it does not have to be Instagram perfect. Let’s face the hard truths about motherhood and what comes with it. I am a trauma-informed doula and would love to be a safe space for you.
Lindsay LCSW, PMHC