[vc_row 0=””][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_icon icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-heart” color=”pink” background_style=”rounded-outline” size=”xl” align=”center”][vc_column_text 0=””]Amy –
“16 months ago I had my daughter. I had a great pregnancy and she was completely healthy, but for some reason I was just sad, unexplainably sad. After I gave birth, I thought it was just the ‘baby blues’ and the lack of sleep taking a toll on me. Weeks went by but the sadness still hadn’t subsided. It wasn’t until I started going to support groups at the center, that I realized I wasn’t alone. I found the help and the support that I so badly needed. I started seeing one of the therapists and a nurse practitioner who started me on medication. In addition to the professional help I was receiving, I found a safe place to share my feelings and experiences. Having the support of other women who knew exactly what I was going through meant more to me than I would’ve ever imagined. These women not only became my friends, but they are like my family. PPD can make you feel so alone, but thanks to this program, I will never have to feel that way again. I owe so much to Lisa and the other amazing support staff at Monmouth Medical PMAD Center”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space 0=””][vc_empty_space 0=””][vc_icon icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-heart” color=”pink” background_style=”rounded” size=”xl” align=”center”][vc_column_text]Shannon –
I had always struggled with depression and anxiety. The feelings of hopelessness, the racing thoughts, or the numbness, I knew all of it very well before my baby. I had a wonderful pregnancy, it was the happiest and the most “normal” I felt in a long time. When my son arrived I was so terrified I wouldn’t instantly feel connected with him, like everyone said I should. I spent the first four months after birth hiding in my home. Everyone was more qualified to take care of my son than I was. I was too afraid to leave my house because I was wearing this “motherhood” mask and someone would see through it and they would take him away from me. I also remember thinking that I should just drive and keep going because anyone would be a better mother than I am. I didn’t notice the anxiety that had slowly started to creep back into my thoughts, or the panic that was rooting itself back in my chest. I heard about the program and I thought, I don’t belong there. I don’t have PPD, I am just a terrible mother. I am not depressed, I am just not meant to be a mom. This isn’t anxiety, it is just stress. It was so isolating, so painful, and so lonely. The guilt that I felt everyday made me feel like I was drowning, the thought of having a panic attack while I was with him truly terrified me, and to keep up my “I am fine” facade was both physically and emotionally exhausting. I felt so trapped. So finally, I went. I put my son in his car seat and we went to the center and walked right into a group therapy session. I heard other mothers talk about the same feelings I was having and then I heard them talk about it getting better. I heard them talk about the struggles, but also the successes. I then I spoke, I had finally spoken up about how I felt and it was the first time in four months that I could see that I was not alone. I felt welcome, I felt safe, and I felt home. For the first time in a long time, I felt hope.
.[/vc_column_text][vc_icon icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-heart” color=”pink” background_style=”rounded” size=”xl” align=”center”][vc_column_text]Lauren –
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the support group meeting yesterday. I never expected to walk into a room of other moms and be able to relate to almost everything that was said. I came to the center because of anxiety and panic attacks, but yesterday made me realize I’ve been suffering through many PPD symptoms that I didn’t even realize were PPD symptoms. It gives me hope that I can actually get better because I thought this all was just my new normal after having kids[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_icon icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-heart” color=”pink” background_style=”rounded-outline” size=”xl” align=”center”][vc_column_text 0=””]Meg.
My name is Meg Santonacita and I know.
I know the pain. The sadness. The rage. The guilt. The paranoia. The exhaustion. The worry. The shame. The racing thoughts. I know the need to check and recheck the car seat. I have wondered what was wrong with me. And what I had done to my perfect little life of fancy dates and sleep and freedom. I know the feeling of my heart bursting with love for my babies. I know the overwhelm..
I started out as the perfect mom. I read the books So knew I would keep my Baby on a schedule. I loved a routine- so would my baby. We were completely prepared right up until delivery.
Somehow my husband and I had brought home a baby that wouldn’t sleep. What else do babies do in the beginning but eat and sleep and poop. Mine wouldn’t sleep. Or I couldn’t sleep. I was exhausted.
Within the first few weeks I became obsessed with finding some mythical nap schedule for my baby who didn’t take naps. Somewhere I had read that babies’ brains develop in their sleep. Where I read it- who knows? But I held to it- fiercely. If I couldn’t get her to sleep, I was preventing brain development. So I read the entire internet each night looking for a solution.
In fact I delivered Nora at different hospital and when I got a call about their mommy group the time conflicted with when Nora was “supposed to be napping” according to the guru of the week. So I didn’t go. I really didn’t go anywhere.
For months. It was too much to even try.
I was exhausted every day and felt like I had nothing to show for it. I was pretty much a failure at taking care of our house so I didn’t want to have anyone over. I was lonely.
Until one morning I called a friend. This was my go-to nursing friend who had twins a few years earlier. When I was 8-9 months pregnant she had casually mentioned that she had struggled with her own anxiety while pregnant. – at the time i chalked it up to probably being I overwhelmed with the work and maybe needing more support. She didn’t say much more. And I didn’t ask. How could she have anything related to PPD? That was something that happened to “those” women in headlines. I had no idea. That sounds so familiar now. But I didn’t know.
I sent a text when I knew she was just getting to work. She answered as she usually did when I asked a breastfeeding or baby wearing question. But this time I simply said: I think I need help.
Sensing this wasn’t an opinion for diaper brands, she called me from her classroom closet. Because she knew too. And told me so. And she said it would be all right. And She gave me the number of a woman who worked with Lisa here. Pat invited me to a moms group meeting. When I told her it conflicted with nap time. She asked if Nora was a good napper. No, I sobbed.
Well then, it won’t really matter if you miss one, will it?
So we went. I walked into find Lisa’s warm smile and open arms to hold my colicky baby.
And over the next few months I became friends with moms who were thriving and moms just barely surviving. I connected with other women who shared stories of support and struggle. And we laughed! In this place I knew I wasn’t alone.
I knew Nora and I would be ok with help.
I knew help had many forms- exercise and fresh air and therapy. And meds.
And I knew that was ok.
I knew Nora and I would develop a strong bond as mother and daughter.
I knew we would somehow manage when I returned to work.
I knew this place was here to help me find hope.
And it was here for my friends who needed it too.
And when I found out I was pregnant again a few months later- I knew exactly where to come.
I knew I couldn’t wait again to get help.
It breaks my heart that so many moms will know the experiences of perinatal mood disorders- most in silence. So let’s stop being quite. Let’s keep sharing our stories without shame. Because your story lets the next mom know she is not alone. Maternal mental healthy is too important to keep this a secret.
Through the work of Lisa and her team more women will know the connections and support available to new moms. They will know hope. They will know confidence in motherhood. They will know strength.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]