I recently had the pleasure of visiting a couple, who are dear friends of mine. It was a very special visit because I got to meet their 3 day old baby. I believe that every baby is a blessing but for this couple, it is an extra special blessing. Their journey in becoming parents has taken over 17 years. They had come to the place of acceptance that they would never have a baby so you can imagine the joy they felt when she found out she was pregnant.
It was awesome to see a baby in their arms and for me to be able to hold the precious new life. It brought back fond memories of the first 6 weeks of my postpartum period. I remember that once I recovered from the physical demands of labor and delivery, I was able to slip in to my new role of motherhood with a peace and joy that felt different than anything I had experienced before.
I believe the support that I received from my family and friends during that postpartum period prevented an earlier onset of postpartum psychosis. If I had not received the practical, and emotional support during that period, I believe the demands of motherhood would have taken a toll on me much earlier. Although the eventual onset of postpartum psychosis may not have been prevented, in my opinion, support played a role in the unusually late onset of postpartum psychosis.
Since I had no history of mental illness nor did I know postpartum psychosis existed, I often wonder whether postpartum psychosis could have been prevented in my case. My family and I were unaware of any early warning signs or symptoms. Now that I know more about postpartum psychosis, I can look back and recognize how the pattern of sleep deprivation and eventual isolation took its toll on me. Maybe if I knew then what I know now, when I began to have unfounded fears for my baby and I, I could have reached out for help before it became a crisis situation.
As I contemplate my postpartum period and how much the support helped me, I am more sensitive to the needs of others during the postpartum adjustment period. Something as simple as friends providing meals during the first week or two can make a difference. Checking in on the family regularly to see if they need anything is also helpful.
In my case, I was far away from most of my extended family, so the direct support I received eventually did taper off. In cases when family and friends are not or cannot be there to provide support, I encourage moms to consider hiring a postpartum doula or finding other resources such as Healthy Start, which is available in most areas of the United States.
I encourage all mothers to reach out during the postpartum adjustment period and be open to support from others. Be willing to accept the type of support that will help you during this hectic time. Now that I shared some of my experience, I would love to hear how support helped others during the postpartum period and what types of support helped. Please share your comments and insights with me on this important topic.
I had a great opportunity to participate in the 2013 Postpartum Support International pre-conference training and annual conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past June. It was an amazing event.
I had not been able to attend an annual PSI conference since before 2005, back when I was a volunteer coordinator. It was like going back home after a long journey. Seeing old friends and making new friends was an added bonus to attending the 2013 conference.
The wealth of information I received at the training and conference will better equip me to advocate for women and families dealing with mental health issues related to childbearing. The 2 day training on Perinatal Mood Disorders updated me in many areas from the spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to screening, social support as well as alternative and complimentary therapies. PSI conducts the trainings all around the world. More information on the trainings can be found on the PSI website www.postpartum.net under PSI Professional Training Programs.
The 26th annual conference brought together professionals, advocates, volunteers and many others all of whom are striving to meet PSI’s mission to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of maternal mental health issues related to childbearing in every community worldwide. The theme of the conference was Innovation and Advocacy to Support the Mental Health of Pregnant and Postpartum Families.
I had the honor and privilege to be a presenter on a panel at the conference. As a presenter on the panel, I, along with the other panel members, shared how a personal experience with mental illness related to childbearing was overcome and how the experience now enables us help others. I was humbled to share the platform with several amazing women.
In addition to presenting at the conference, I was able to participate in the two day conference attending sessions on Birth Trauma, Strengthening Perinatal Families, Promoting Maternal Mental Health through a Community-Based Support Model as well as Postpartum Psychosis and the Law. One of my favorite breakouts was the Maternal Mental Health Legislation and Advocacy Workshop.
It was my first time visiting Minnesota. I was impressed with the city of Minneapolis. Although the training and conference filled up most of my time in Minneapolis, I did get to enjoy fellowship and dining at a couple local restaurants as well as attend a lovely after-party at the home of the moderator of the panel in which I participated.
It is wonderful to come together with such amazing people, who are all working towards similar goals and striving to make positive changes in maternal mental health. I look forward to the 27th Annual Conference in 2014.
I appreciate those of you, who have taken the time to “Like” my Facebook page, to follow me on Twitter @moyerjennifer and to connect with me on Google+ as well as LinkedIn. I ask those of you that have not already done so to consider doing so as I am trying to reach as many as possible in bringing hope and inspiration to women and families experiencing mental health issues.
A special thanks to those of you that subscribe to my blog. Although my website issues caused me to lose over half of my subscriber email addresses, I am gradually building them back up. I hope many of you, who are not currently receiving email notifications, will take the time to subscribe or resubscribe to the blog. You can do so at www.jennifermoyer.com/blog
I am back after getting my website issues resolved. It has been over a month since I last posted a blog due to these issues. I apologize to my readers for not notifying you BUT one of the issues I was having was being able to send out notifications and emails to my subscribers.
Unfortunately, in the process of resolving the website issues, most of my blog subscriber emails were lost. Thankfully, I was able to recover some of the emails, which is why some of you are receiving notification of this post.
I am hoping that my lost blog subscribers, who did not receive a notification of this post, will read this post on a social media site and re-subscribe to my blog. Of course, I am asking for new subscribers as well.
Why do I need your help? Many of you are aware that my mission is to bring hope and inspiration to women and families experiencing mental health issues related to childbearing. My primary goal is to reach as many as I can to increase awareness of mental health issues. One of the avenues to achieve this includes getting my first book published. It has been a long process but success is in sight. I now face the challenge of building my social media connections.
My challenge is to reach as many as I can within one month. After one month, if I reach 1000 followers on twitter and at least 500 likes on my Facebook page, I will have a random give-away of something special (to be announced at a later date).
I hope you will me reach this goal so I can continue to do my part in increasing the awareness, education, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing as well as mental health issues, in general. Please consider sharing this post and my challenge with your social media connections.