Month: February 2018

the bloom foundation postpartum depression and anxiety

This Was My Trigger Moment… Surviving Postpartum Anxiety

I am the mother, I am in labor, so why do I feel so out of the loop?

I remember waking up from a nap mid-labor (yes I had an amazing nap during the height of my contractions…thank you epidural!) to a darkened room, spa-like music playing from the TV, and some woman I have never met before massaging my feet and staring intently at the readings on the monitor. I remember asking her what was going on in my lethargic stupor, and although I do not remember her exact response, I do remember feeling like something more serious was going on. This is the moment I have identified as the trigger for my postpartum anxiety.

When my husband was allowed to come back into the room, I asked him what was going on and he told me that my contractions were becoming too frequent, and because of the epidural, I was unable to feel a thing. The baby became in distress. The reflexologist was consulted to help slow down the contractions. So why wasn’t this explained to me?

When it was time to begin pushing, I knew something felt off. As a dance/movement therapist, I have a good sense of my body. I know when something does not feel right. My job is centered around kinesthetic awareness and utilizing that in a therapeutic setting, but for some reason, I immediately felt disconnected from my body. I remember after my first round of pushing, I collapsed into the pillow and felt like I was going to faint. Oxygen was placed on me and I was asked to turn on my side and try pushing again. Second round of pushing and that feeling of weakness and defeat fell over my body once again. I looked at the nurse, probably with sheer panic in my eyes, and she stated “I don’t like what I see. I am calling the doctor in.” I looked to my husband for an answer once again, but this time, he was unable to provide me with one. We were both out of the loop.

The doctor came in and told me I was going to go in for an emergency c-section. Baby was in distress. I was whisked away, separated from my husband almost immediately, feeling so anxious and scared. While they began the operation, my husband recalls being asked to wait in a small room by himself and told to put on scrubs. He says that was the worst fifteen minutes of his life. My support, my rock, the one person that knows how to calm me down, was now separated from me at the scariest moment of my life. Am I ok? Is the baby ok? My plan of having a seamless, stress-free vaginal delivery was now crumbling down right before my eyes.

In the end, we had a beautiful, happy, healthy baby girl. She brings such joy into my life it is unfathomable. But after my birthing experience, I was struck with postpartum anxiety almost immediately. I have often wondered whether or not I would’ve been struggling with it if I was informed about what was going on during my labor rather than feeling like an outcast. I had always imagined this experience to be about me, my husband and our new addition to our family. When in reality, I essentially felt invisible.

I read somewhere that the key to happiness is to accept the present moment as if we chose it. While this is a personal struggle for me because when dealing with anxiety, that state of total powerlessness is a scary, scary place. I have come to accept that is it ok to not have all of the answers. I could ask myself “what if I was better informed about what was going on, would that have helped my anxiety? Would that have alleviated my severe anxiety after the birth of my daughter?” Perhaps. Who knows. But I do know after the birth of my daughter, I have learned to advocate for myself more. To not ever feel left in the dark again. In all aspects of my life. And I have this experience to thank for that.



Notice Me. This is PPD

[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]David Zinell, writes in his science fiction novel, The Broken God, “Before, you are wise; after, you are wise. In between you are otherwise.”

We have all been there, been in the thick of it.  We struggle to stay afloat in the proverbial swamp and only later when we emerge and dry ourselves off do we see the paths we could have taken to avoid the swamp completely; and while hindsight can be frustrating the power it provides is immeasurable. The power to help others.

A couple of blocks east of Downtown Scottsdale in a newly renovated 3 bedroom townhouse that would make Joanna Gaines proud, Lisa and I sat at a kitchen table that had become our impromptu office space and talked lived experience, hindsight, PPD, and the triangle of power they form.  We talked about moms in the swamp, when they are “otherwise”, and wondered how to get their husbands, their partners, their families –their people– to notice them. To see their PPD. We talked about how PPD manifests itself differently in its’ sufferers, and as the Arizona sun shone through the windows and the kitchen table grew heavy with empty coffee cups and discarded post it notes, we realized we needed help from those with the power.

100+ moms who have been swam in the PPD swamp told us how to help people see. They told us what they wished “their people” had noticed. This is their hindsight.

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bridget kroteau

Survivor Stories – PPD, This was NOT my Plan.

I’m a planner. I had plans for how my life would be for years – I was going to be a mom, a science teacher and we were all going to live happily ever after. But I soon came to learn with the loss of my teaching job due to budget cuts that life wasn’t going to go according to plan (at least not all the time).

We decided that with me being unemployed, this was a great time for us to start our family. In 2011 I had my first daughter. My pregnancy was relatively easy and very uneventful, but I ended up being induced very unexpectedly (this was NOT my plan!).

The induction was quite difficult and lasted over 30 hours. Instead of feeling elated about her birth, I was just exhausted and scared. Because I had a fever during delivery she was sent to the NICU. During her stay, we had a lot of difficulty with breastfeeding. I always thought breastfeeding was “supposed” to be “easy and natural.” I felt awful and cried often in the NICU.

When we got home, I continued to cry frequently and remained determined to breastfeed, even with the difficulty we had. I felt like a failure. I was her mom, I felt like I was “supposed” to be able to breastfeed her. I also felt tremendous guilt about her stay in the NICU and for my lack of warm, motherly feelings after she was born. After four months of the guilt, crying and sadness, I finally realized that I needed help.

I talked to my husband about how I was feeling. He assured me that we would find help and it would be ok. I found a local support group and a therapist. I cannot say enough about the support group! I felt at home. I felt accepted. I felt cared for and most importantly, I didn’t feel alone. I continued to attend this group weekly and then attended their “Keep Getting Better” group.

A couple of years later, I had my second daughter. Before she was born, we did all we could to prepare for her arrival and prepare to make the transition to a family of four as easy as we could. We hired a postpartum doula to help me when my husband went back to work and I stocked my freezer with as many meals as I could fit. At this time, we also had a close family member go through a very rough health issue.

My second daughter’s birth was a breeze in comparison to my first and she breastfed very well. I felt good for awhile. But as the months progressed and my doula left, I was left juggling two young children and helping my husband manage the family health issue as best as I could. It was a very stressful time in our lives and it all caught up with me. I became very anxious, especially about anything dealing with sleep and my baby. I had panic attacks. I had a lot of trouble straying from a very set schedule. I became very angry. I reached out for help again and attended my support group and started seeing a therapist again. We eventually sleep trained our daughter and once I started to sleep again, I started to feel better.

To the moms struggling right now, you are not alone. This is not your fault. This is not your “new normal.” You will feel better with help.

Bridget lives on Long Island with her husband and 2 daughters. She is currently Mrs. Suffolk County America 2017/2018, an author, volunteer and stay-at-home mom. Bridget is a volunteer for the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, serving as a part of the advocacy committee, speaking at support groups and community events and assisting with fundraisers. Bridget is passionate about raising awareness for and helping to erase the stigma of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, like Postpartum Depression. Bridget contributed a story about her experience with Postpartum Depression to the book, A Dark Secret and is currently writing her own book about her experience with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.

Words Matter

[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]***TRIGGER WARNING***

Missouri mom believed to have killed husband, baby, herself; postpartum depression eyed” This headline and accompanying article filled my news feed this week, and it probably did yours as well. Or perhaps you saw the articles that replaced the word “depression” with “psychosis.” I saw those as well.

When I saw this story, I quickly reached out to the women of the Bloom Foundation. These are the women in the thick of it, deep in the trenches. They are clinicians and support group leaders, they are survivors and advocates, and they are the women who everyday work with new moms struggling with postpartum anxiety and depression. I needed to hear what they had to say.


Lisa Tremayne

“This is heartbreaking on every level. My prayers are with the family and friends of the Trokey’s. I am saddened, but I am also frustrated. There is such an enormous amount of power in the words we use every day and a responsibility that comes with the terms we attach to illnesses. Depression and psychosis are very different conditions, and the tendency to use them interchangeably when pairing them with “postpartum” frustrates and scares me. We wage a daily battle to erase the stigma associated with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders so women no longer have to suffer in silence. When terms are misused or used ignorantly, in order to sensationalize a story, I fear the effects. I fear for every new mom suffering from postpartum anxiety who today will decide to not speak up, to not seek help. I fear for every mom next week who Googles postpartum depression and is presented with Jessica Porten’s story and what she encountered when she did speak up. I fear for every mom next month who will find the strength to make that first call finally asking for help, and then the second, and third, and then finding nowhere to go. These are not bad moms. They have a real illness, and it is treatable and with help they will get better. Yes, there are moms who experience psychosis, and yes, tragedies happen. I feel it is the biggest part of our job to be the voice of the women silenced by the stigma, the shame, and the secrecy. To educate the public, the providers, the families about the realities of postpartum anxiety and depression. It is treatable, it is temporary,  and it affects 1 in 5 new moms.  We must erase the shame.”

Lesley Neadel

“As soon as I heard there had been another maternal mental health tragedy, my heart sank as my tears welled up. These stories shake me to my core. But this time, for the most brief of moments, I realized with satisfaction that the article I saw labeled what happened as a potential case of postpartum psychosis. Bravo to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, I thought fleetingly. Because when the media reports that this tragedy happens because of a battle with postpartum depression, and not the more accurate psychosis, they spread misinformation that keeps women who DO suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety from coming forward to seek treatment. They suffer in silence because they think, “we’ll, I’m not that bad.” “I don’t want anyone to think I’d do THAT.” What people need to know is, there is a spectrum to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) such as postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD. The symptoms and severities can appear differently in each person, but all are temporary and treatable, if we know what to look for, are open and honest about our feelings, and seek the help that we need to get better. Yes, postpartum psychosis is on the far end of that spectrum. But it is not postpartum depression.”

We don’t know Mary Jo Trokey’s suffering. We do know that postpartum psychosis only affects 1 to 2 in 1000 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1-.2% of births and .00005% suicides and/or infanticides. We have a responsibility to use our words wisely, with thought, compassion, and a real understanding of their impact and meaning on others.

The Bloom Foundation sends its deepest condolences to the extended Trokey family. Our hearts ache for their loss, one that we feel so acutely. We are committed to doing the work and informing and educating pregnant women and new mothers about the signs, symptoms and risk factors for PMADs. We are committed to reducing the shame and stigma associated with these illnesses, the most common complication of childbirth.


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716 Newman Springs Road, #117
Lincroft, NJ 07738


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