Ep 52: Healing from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety with Jessica Allred

Ep 52: Healing from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety with Jessica Allred

When pregnancy and motherhood catapulted me into a whirlwind of anxiety and postpartum depression, I, like many women, was unprepared. My guest, Jessica Allred, a licensed therapist and certified perinatal mental health specialist, shares a similar personal experience.

Jessica and I address the impact of ‘mommy brain’ on our journeys, exploring the complex concept of Human Giver Syndrome and how it hinders us from seeking the help we desperately need.

This is a candid conversation on perinatal mental health support, offering you an insight into taking your first steps towards better mental health.

This Episode is For You If: 

  • You are seeking advice on building a support network for new mothers
  • You want to learn about resources available for perinatal mental health support
  • You are a new mother experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression
  • You want to learn about the concept of ‘Human Giver Syndrome’ and its implications on women’s mental health

Mentioned in this episode:

How to connect with Jessica:

About Jessica:
Jessica graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology in 2008 and a Masters Degree in Social work in 2010.  After being in private practice for 10+ years, Jessica has become passionate about expanding her services, and training other clinicians as the owner of Treat Counseling.

Click HERE to watch this video to learn The 3 Things to Avoid When Reading Self-Help Books

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Full Transcript:
Welcome to the Mom On Purpose Podcast. I’m Lara Johnson and I’m here to teach you how to get out of your funk, be in a better mood, play more with your kids, manage your home better, get your to-do list done and live your life on purpose. With my proven method, this is possible for you, and I’ll show you how. You’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together. All right, welcome, ladies. It’s Lara Johnson, and I have a very special episode for you today on the Mom On Purpose Podcast. I have Jessica Allred with me and she is a licensed therapist and she is certified in perinatal mental health, and we’re going to talk about what all of that is, because there is a big shift that’s happening and it’s really cool, as I was talking with Jessica about it where there’s a shift away from just naming things like postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, because, like for me with my second baby, I had anxiety even before and I never knew what to call it. So, it’s like I had postpartum anxiety while I was still pregnant, and so we’re going to dive today into a lot of that space. We’ve called this episode, I’ve called it postpartum depression and anxiety, but I want to make sure that we’re getting clear on the shifts that are happening within the mental health industry, within the perinatal mental health, because, whether you are currently having babies, whether you know someone that’s having babies, whether it’s a daughter-in-law or a daughter that’s having babies, it is such a huge need to have these conversations and to create safe places and to be able to have a lot of the resources for anybody that’s going through this, because I know that having those resources is what saved me when I did not actually know what was happening, and so we’re going to dive into this with Jessica. She’s with Treat Counseling, which is a local place here, but we’re also going to be talking about some national resources for you so that you can get help wherever you’re at in the United States, and if you’re international, I would recommend reaching out and finding out the resources in the country that you resided. All right, so, Jessica, welcome. Thank you, all right, so I’m going to have her introduce herself a little bit more and then I’ll briefly share kind of my experience as well with perinatal mental health. Jessica Thank you so much, Lara, for having me. I’m so grateful to be a part of this conversation today, and one of my passions in life is perinatal mental health and specifically supporting pregnant and postpartum moms in their mental health, and I was kind of also, I guess, led to this place through my own experiences, which I feel, like a lot of people in this space, are the space of advocacy and support for perinatal women. When I had my first baby, I had already been a therapist, a licensed clinical social worker for years and had already been, you know, treating and diagnosing and had been in private practice for a long time. And one of the most striking things for me personally is that with my first baby, when I experienced perinatal anxiety, postpartum anxiety, I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t know that it existed. And I thought to myself, if I’m a therapist, I’ve been in this field for a long time, and I don’t know what this is, and I don’t know that it exists. Imagine how everybody else must be feeling. You know that doesn’t have the years of experience and education that I do and that is part of what kind of led me to this desire to educate others. I went through a couple of years of infertility to get pregnant with my first baby. I was so excited. I thought this was going to be the best ever. I felt so prepared. And when I had my first baby, I became so anxious and I was experiencing a lot of the hallmark symptoms of perinatal anxiety, which is that my heart would start racing when he would cry, I would start running to him when he would cry, I wouldn’t let other people watch him and I was getting up in the night, you know if he made even the tiniest peep, and I had no idea that this was abnormal. I just thought I was being a good mom. And then, when I had my second baby, I experienced postpartum depression, which once again looks different than, I would say, regular depression, and I still didn’t understand what I was going through. I was having, you know, difficulty connecting to my baby, a lot of irritability and a lot of these symptoms that are kind of a hallmark postpartum depression which I didn’t understand. And so, when my second baby was six months old, I started getting training and postpartum and perinatal mental health and I’ve been now certified and studying that for about the past six years and had another experience with postpartum depression with my third baby and I feel like I’ve learned more and more each time and now just really loving, supporting and educating other women who you know are going through these experiences and either not understanding them, not knowing them or lacking support for education about them. Lara I really appreciate you saying that, because that was that was very much my experience. I felt like when I had my first, the conversations about postpartum depression were starting to happen, but it was very much like if you want to harm your baby and I didn’t want to harm my baby, I actually really loved my baby, but I didn’t feel like myself. I was very rage-y with my spouse, like the irritability that you were talking about like, and then the anxiety on top of it, not letting anybody want, like I did not like other people holding my baby, watching my baby, you know anything. It was like my baby and all under the guise of like I’m being a good mom and your first-time mom and so of course, you’re supposed to be, you know, a little more neurotic, like so I thought, but you know I didn’t realize how unhealthy that was. And then when I had my second baby, that’s when things really ramped up and there were a lot of stressful things in my life, and I remember pulling the car over. We were like in the middle of potty training and I he was not going to the bathroom and I knew he had to go and he’s screaming in the backseat and I remember having to pull the car over because I thought I was having I was, I thought I was having a heart attack and that was the first like panic attack that I remember. And I was seven months pregnant, and I still remember the road that I was on where I pulled the car over because I thought I was dying. But I was so embarrassed, and I didn’t know what it was that I didn’t tell anybody about it. And then once the baby came, you know, like not being able to connect with her, and she was really colicky. And then I just kept thinking, as soon as I get more sleep, as soon as she gets older, as soon as my husband’s around more, as soon as and it was always like the next thing, as soon as that happens, then I will be better. And I think that was what really, I learned for myself was that it wasn’t always like that next thing would magically fix me. And so, we kind of talked briefly before about some of the biological and biochemical changes that happen when you’re pregnant and then after the baby. Can you kind of speak to some of those so other women that might be experiencing it know what’s happening in their body on that kind of level? Jessica Yeah, absolutely. And I think, even just to speak to your previous point, you know about the conversation being labeled postpartum depression, just kind of going back and talking about how that label is actually changing. And the label changing is actually pretty significant because so many things can happen besides depression and they can actually start during pregnancy, which is what you’re describing, that you experienced. And so, it used to be perinatal mood and anxiety disorders PMATS was the label. They would give it perinatal meaning during pregnancy or postpartum, and now they’re actually calling it perinatal mental health disorders, because it covers this entire umbrella of anxiety depression. There’s such thing as perinatal OCD, and in perinatal OCD you can be super, you can have intrusive thoughts about harming your baby, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to harm your baby. That means you’re having a lot of intrusive thoughts, right, you can. You can have bipolar, manifest panic disorder, psychosis, so there’s like this whole list of things you can experience. And so, the switch up in the language is important, because if someone thinks, well, I’m not depressed, you know, or I’m still pregnant, I’m not postpartum, they’ll think, well, maybe I’m not experiencing postpartum depression, but the new terminology really covers that whole umbrella and so, yeah, I think that’s a good distinction. And when we’re talking about biological and biochemical changes too, I think it’s interesting this distinction between the baby blues and actually a perinatal mental health disorder. And there are significant changes that happen, both structural changes in the brain and hormone changes, which I’ll talk about, but the difference being that you know if you’re having the baby blues, this is the normal transition with the drop of hormones. It lasts between two days and two weeks and that’s kind of the indicator, that’s the cutoff mark that we’ll look at and say, okay, if you’ve been experiencing any of these things longer than two weeks, you know it’s not the baby blues. This is something else, right? But yeah, there are a ton of things that change during pregnancy and postpartum. One of the significant changes that happens is your brain actually reorganizes during pregnancy and postpartum. So, the front part of your brain, which is responsible for, like, logic and reasoning and remembering things and kind of those executive functioning skills, actually kind of shrinks a little, and the amygdala, which is the part of your brain that’s responsible for detecting threat, reacting, responding, and this part of kind of that primitive fight or flight system, actually gets bigger. And what this means is that for a lot of moms, we’re going to be detecting threats to a lot more significant degree than maybe our partners or, you know, other people, and the primary objective of our brain is now the survival of our newborn. So, this can cause a lot of, you know, this big startle, you know this big kind of feelings around all the things that are happening with our baby. And as we talked about maternal this word maternal gatekeeping I like, which means you know you don’t let anybody else watch the baby, and so that reorganization of your brain can last for two years or longer. And so just knowing, hey, my brain is working a little differently, my survival, you know, instincts are ramped up and my ability to like logic and reason through things is not as significant in my brain right now. And just knowing that, I think, can be validating for moms that are kind of, you know, maybe freaking out about what other people may think are insignificant things. A great example of this I love is that I had a new mom talking to me and she said, yeah, my husband was walking the baby in the stroller and the baby was bouncing up and down when he went over bumps and I just thought, oh no, like my baby’s going to get brain damaged or something you know. And so, it’s these things that are very normal on the surface. You’re just walking your baby in a stroller, but you know, with that heightened you know amygdala, that threat detection response, your brain’s going to go oh no, my baby’s going to get going to be injured. You know, by this and that’s something interesting for us to also be able to explain and talk with our partners about, because our partners are often responding like what are you talking about? You know, like this is just a stroller walk, there’s no threat here, and our brain is very much telling us like, yes, there is. So that was an interesting thing that I learned. Lara I love that you said about the executive functioning, because I think sometimes, we lovingly call it the mommy brain. You know, like postpartum fog. You know you hear all this, and people will joke about it as like my brain fell out, but really, it’s. It’s something that’s completely out of our control and we expect ourselves to still survive and thrive at such a high level within such a short amount of like time period where it’s like six weeks you go back to work or like I’ve seen a lot of my clients they have a baby and I’ll ask them like you just added a human to your house, what have you taken off of your plate? And they’re like, oh nothing, I still have to be doing all of these things, but you don’t have the same skill set that you had before and you’re healing from birth and you’re taking care of another human. So I don’t know if you have any, you know suggestions on moms that are feeling really overwhelmed and really feeling like they can’t survive life because they don’t have the executive functioning and they feel overwhelmed and like even getting to a therapist I remember was like one of the hardest things I ever did because there was so much that had to go into getting childcare, just so I could leave the house. Jessica Yeah, absolutely, and a lot of these things I’m coaching moms on are, I call it, addition by subtraction. So, as you mentioned, like, what can you subtract? What expectations can you subtract of yourself? What can you BS your way through? You know that maybe you used to have very high expectations for yourself, or what help can you get on board? You know I’m having to teach a lot of moms to ask for help and that’s not something that we know really how to do, and I talk a lot with moms about this kind of idea that Emily Nagoski came up with in her book Burnout, called Human Giver Syndrome, which once again, I think stands in the way of us asking for help. And she defines human givers syndrome as operating with the contagious belief that you have a moral obligation to give every drop of your humanity and support of others, no matter the cost to you, and that you have to be pretty happy, calm, generous and attentive to the needs of others. And she talks about the difference between being a human giver and a human being, and she defines a human being as a human being can live, express or be their humanity and acquire whatever resources they need to fulfill their moral purpose or obligation. And so that skill, that acquiring of resources, is something that human givers are not good at and do not practice that, and often, you know, we really have to go back and say like, okay, we need to learn how to ask for help. We need to really assess your support network. You need practical and emotional support and, you know, sometimes it comes within yourself. You need to really change the expectations that you have of yourself and be able to communicate that to your boss or your partner or your family members. So, a lot of boundaries, and so there’s not necessarily a quick, easy fix, but I think it is a period of accelerated growth for moms, you know, and learning some of these skills that maybe we weren’t super good at before. Lara I think I think that’s such a good point because, like, well, like when I got pregnant and I thought, okay, our lives are going to change, we need to buy a crib, we need to buy this, you don’t think, okay, I need to let go of this belief, I need to do this like you’re thrown into this situation and the it feels like the only option you have is to give up your, your definition of perfection of what a good mom is, and all of those things are brought into question and it’s like you can’t even get to that point until you’re put into this scenario. Like I look back to who I am now compared to who I was before I had kids, it’s like night and day different and I’m grateful and it was some of the hardest years I’ve ever had to live. We’re during those times with the perinatal mental health that I was experiencing, and I am so grateful I came through that. But it was with the help of a licensed therapist that I was able to get through some of those really concrete, like very beginning stages and I just can’t like the work that you do, I believe, is so incredibly valuable for these moms. So, one of the things that well, and I love, Jessica, that you mentioned. With each baby, things got different and better in a lot of ways and I felt like that was that was my situation as well. I vowed by the time I got pregnant with my third one that I would ask for help no matter what. But in the back of my mind I thought, yeah, but I’m good mentally, like I don’t think I actually going to need help. But then I had a lot of physical complications, but my mind was like so intact, and I had to learn how to ask for help because my physical limitations like I was in a wheelchair at all these like crazy things happen. So then with my fourth one, I vowed I would ask for help. Before I was desperate and the thing that I that I went to was like, okay, we talked a lot on the podcast about you know, when we’re having bad days, like what’s her emergency preparedness plan? And I thought, okay, I can apply that to my pregnancy as well, like what is my, my perinatal mental health plan? And I want to create something so that I never get to the point where I’m desperate for help, that I’m supporting myself all the way through. And so there were some specific things and this is how Jessica and I actually met was I hired a postpartum doula. I felt really comfortable with my birth and having my mom and my husband there. You know I’d gone through that before. I didn’t feel like I needed a doula at that spot, but they actually have postpartum doulas come in after and take care of you, which was such a blessing. Her name was Tierra. Her name is Tierra. She’s still alive, but that’s who introduced her. Business partners introduced me to Jessica, so that was one thing that I did even before the baby was born. But are there other suggestions that you have on what somebody could include in their perinatal mental health plan? Jessica One of the biggest pieces that I think can be helpful is education, right, and so just kind of even knowing beforehand what these things could be and what they look like, right. And for me, one of the biggest parts of education was going back to just understanding how, you know, my body handles hormonal transitions. Because one of the things that we talk about a lot in the perinatal space is that you know there are a certain number of women that have what they call hormonally sensitive brains. They’re more sensitive to those hormone transitions. So, if you’re like you know you’re more irritable when you’re having PMS or you’re having emotional you know symptoms. When you know that those hormones are dropping, you can understand that this humongous, significant change in your hormones is going to create some, you know, kind of mood issues or could potentially create some issues for you. And so just kind of educating yourself, as you talked about, you know, I think you bring the education from the first baby into the second, into the third, into the fourth. But there’s a way to get that education up front right, which is what you and I are doing. We’re putting this out into the space, we’re saying these are the things you can kind of look for. I think that’s a really great way to empower yourself. And if you know that, you know you have had depression or anxiety before previously in your life or with previous babies then, yeah, absolutely so you’re establishing a relationship with a therapist that is trained in perinatal mental health and with a med prescriber that’s trained in perinatal mental health. Because if you don’t, actually if you just have a regular therapist or a regular psychiatrist that you are seeing, they can get a lot more harm than good. And what I mean by that is, you know, if you have a therapist that’s not trained in perinatal mental health and you start seeing a therapist and you have a two-week-old baby and that therapist tries to talk you through all your trauma and all your childhood issues, and all this is going to actually make it a lot worse. And if therapist that’s trained in perinatal mental health is going to be in the moment with your problem solving, they’re going to be helping you with what’s going on today and not continuing to add to your play of overwhelm by trying to process all these things in the past. And the same thing goes for a prescriber. You know a lot of prescribers are uncomfortable with meds during pregnancy and postpartum, even though, like they are like psych meds are one of the most researched medications during pregnancy and postpartum and the prescriber will really help you evaluate the pros and cons of going off or on a psychiatric medication during pregnancy where an inexperienced provider will probably just take you off, which really sets you up to have a relapse for symptoms in your postpartum and your pregnancy which you know can have large effects, you know, on your entire family system. So, kind of knowing not only what to look for but maybe who to seek help from in advance I think is super helpful. Certainly, discussing expectations if you have, if you’re partnered, you know, with your partner coming up with a plan. I’m really a big advocate for doing shift work with babies and at the night, the night shift, and really talking with your partner about like, okay, you will take the baby from 8pm to midnight, I’ll take the baby from midnight to 6am, you know, maybe after you know if we’re breastfeeding, after breastfeeding is established, we’re doing a relief bottle at night, and so kind of problems are just a little logistical issues there and the other thing I think that’s nice to think about is just evaluating your support network and seeing where there are any holes. Daniel Stern talks about the affirming matrix, which is a huge, important need of new mothers, and that just includes the other mothers who have gone before you. It can’t include your partner. It can include your mom or your mother-in-law or a sister or a friend, but having those other moms to talk to is a crucial need, and so sometimes you can just like an evaluate your support network and see where the holes are and really intentionally work to try to make sure some of those up. Lara I love that you mentioned that, because I think it’s either this week or next week. I already have a podcast recorded on like who’s in your village and so that’s going to be coming out. So, if it hasn’t come out yet, you know when this goes. Then please come back to the podcast because I list out how to build that network and a lot of resources that I’ve used in many different ways and making sure that you have that network built out, because I can tell you right now that that network has taken me years to build, and I don’t think it needed to take years. It was like my own insecurities that blocked me from really being able to build that out and in the beginning, when I realized I didn’t have that network, a lot of it came because I was uncomfortable, being vulnerable about what was really happening in my life. It was like the friends that I had. They would have been there and shown up for me, but I was so uncomfortable, showing that I was struggling, that I didn’t want them to see that and therefore I blocked them. Even my own family members, you know, I blocked, and it was just because of my own insecurity. Because you just had a baby. You should be happy, you should be loving this time, and I did see friends that that was their reality, and then compared myself to that, and I think the other thing that I wanted to talk about just in that briefly, is that when you’re building out your network, it’s important to build out people that are similar with their children. Like there were times where it was no fault of their own. I have really amazing group of friends, but their children had different needs than mine, and so later on I’ve now realized that my oldest is autistic. My daughter was really colloquial at the time. She’s somewhere on the spectrum, and so at the time I was seeing their kids and I was already struggling with my perinatal mental health, and then my kids were harder than their kids and it was like this never-ending spiral within my own thoughts. And now I understand, because I actually have diagnoses for them. But at the time they’re like, oh, just try this thing. You’re like, well, that doesn’t work for my kid because you know. Now I understand why, and so I just wanted to mention that as well. Like when you’re building out your village, if your kids are different than their kids, that’s okay, and it may be that they’re there to support you but, as you know, hanging out at play dates or you may want to find other people that have similar children than you as well. Jessica Absolutely, and I mean, I think this is a great place for support groups to fit in as well. You know bringing in support groups is actually a very validated and evidence-based treatment method for treating perinatal mental health disorders. And you know, if you don’t have a support group and you’re just building a friend network. I think it’s also still important to be very intentional that the people you’re associating with are not that they’re honest. You know that they’re not trying to, you know, have this perfect image of their life that they’re showing the outside world. I particularly prefer friends who don’t give advice at all, who are very honest about their own challenges and struggles and experiences, and you know that really, I feel can support me. You know, through whatever it is and there is, as you discussed, like what we call in our field, the conspiracy of silence around these mental health disorders, partially because of the societal expectations about you’re a mom, aren’t you so happy? This is, you know, so fun and, and so finding moms that are honest is actually gold. You know, like that are, that are actually going to come and say to you I’m struggling too, and it might not be in the same way that you are, but yeah, this is hard for me too, and you know, perinatal mental health disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth. One in five women are going to be experiencing some variation of these, and so you got to think, if you have five friends, one of them is probably struggling, and it’s a matter, I think, of supporting yourself by, you know, surrounding yourself with people that are going to be honest about their challenges and not trying to be competitive, and that’s one of the boundaries I set for myself in new motherhood. I really just dropped all the friends that I felt were trying to be competitive with me and trying to compete with me. I was like I just I mentioned emotionally can’t, and I think that’s important too that not only are you building your support network, but being super intentional about the people that are allowed to be, to be there and these might not be in person, right, like a huge part of my support network was through Marco Polo you know, throughout all my babies because it’s hard to get out there, and so I think getting creative also helps when you’re building that yeah, I love that you said that, because some of my closest friends I’ve only seen in person maybe five times. Lara It’s kind of crazy to think about. But because we live in such a virtual world, like Marco Polo text, messaging voice text, like depending on you know the certain area where we support each other depends on you know how we actually show up for one another. And, and I think it’s, at least for me, one of the things that I never thought about, like I always thought I needed to have people in my similar demographic, but some of my closest friendships are women that are beyond, you know, small kid age and they’re able to be there and support me through it. And now I’m able to do that with other people that are just starting out. You know having kids, and so I wondered if you could also speak to. You know how to show up or how to create that village when you feel like you don’t have much to give to that support group where you’re already maxed out. You might, you might be struggling with something, your kids are really hard, and you don’t know how. Like you know, going back to that human giver syndrome, like you feel like you need to give something in order for someone to be a friend to you. Can you speak to that just a little bit? Jessica That’s a really tricky one, and one where there’s an internal work involved, and that is where you might find yourself working with a therapist or a coach who can challenge you on those thought patterns, you know, because my guess is, if you’re in a second circumstance like that, you already have friends and family that would show up for you without the expectation of you performing or doing something for them or being that human giver for them. But it’s kind of within yourself that you’re like well, I have to earn this. You know love or care, and so lots of times it does go back to asking for help while having nothing to offer another person. And its vulnerability in a whole different way than maybe you’ve ever experienced it before, where you’re not seeing relationships it’s transactional, at least in this moment you’re seeing them as a lot more of a long-term give and take and you’re able to really just be vulnerable to say like, yeah, I, there’s not a lot I can give, but I do need support. And you know it’s interesting Brene Brown even talks about this in marriage and in partnership. She says that you know, marriages are not 50-50. They should never be 50-50. Sometimes you have 20% you can get, and your partner has to cover. You know the rest of that. And sometimes your partner only has 20% and you have to cover the rest of that. And if you’re looking at it in terms of like just this long-term relationship with a friend or with anyone, there are going to be periods of time where you need help and periods of time where they need help. And it shocked me throughout my own history to find that when I started asking for help Without offering anything, other people actually felt closer to me. They felt like that was an opening for them to be valued, invaluable in my life, whereas before, you know maybe, I was always kind of pulling them at arm’s length, like I’ll be helpful to you, I’ll be helpful to you, and so I think you’ll. You’ll be surprised what you find sometimes if you’re just in the position of needing help without having anything necessarily to Take it. But it is like definitely a deconstructing of all patterns and old ways of doing things. Lara I think when I really Looked at that for myself was people came, you know, after I had my second baby and they brought meals and I was so grateful for that. It was my church community neighbors and I could not return their dishes to them until I filled them. Like I had to do something. I had to write a thank-you note, I had to put treats in it, and I was like, what am I doing? Like I’m going to take care of myself for my baby and I feel like I have to bake some. I couldn’t even buy something. I had to be homemade in order to give back some way. You know, that was that human giver syndrome that I was, that I was stuck in and that, I think, was the first. Like working with a therapist, I’m deconstructing some of those beliefs that I had to give something in return for someone to serve me, and it was such a strange place to be in and even to this day I’m very aware of it. But when I go to return a dish, there’s still that like, oh, you should put something in it. I’m like I don’t have to do that, but I find that many women have that in some small or big way that it will start to show up. Jessica Absolutely, and mother, had really put this in this position where we can either just keep Feeling worse than worse or we have to change. You know, it really puts us up against this rock in this hard place, which is a really interesting opportunity for us. But you know, women will come to me all the time so depressed, and then they’ll start to argue all their expectations, like no, I need to be keeping my house clean, I need to be cooking, you know, meals for my family, I need to be returning the plate with cookies on it and I’ll say to them but it’s not working, you know. And so, we’ll have to have kind of this arm wrestle a little bit and wrestling those expectations away, because we have the idea that there’s somebody out there that’s doing all this and it feels good and I don’t know, I just haven’t met that person, I don’t think that person exists. Lara No, I completely agree, and I think for me, the shift really came down to the way that we’ve set up our culture and Women have never done it on their own ever. When we study history, they have never done it on their own. They have always been in a tribe and a village, in a community and the way that our, our structure of our society set up. Now we expect ourselves to do it on our own and that’s just not reality and it will never be a reality. And that’s okay to need each other. Jessica Absolutely, and I think it’s actually great to understand when we’re talking about this educational aspect. Right of it, to understand that the deck is stacked against us. You know, particularly if you’re a woman that’s the childbearing or raising a baby within the United States of America, we are the only country you know that we’re the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have paid maternal and paternal parental leave policies in place and we are very Individualistic culture, which has its pros and cons, but when it comes to pregnancy and postpartum, it’s a true negative. You know that in other cultures there is multi-generational support, there is village and tribe support and there is even, you know, there’s legislative support for new moms, and we don’t have any of that. We have this individualistic expectation that we need to do it by ourselves or even in a partnership with two people, whereas you said this has never been the way that it’s happened throughout the history of time. Lara So, I think that’s a good segue into what are the resources that exist out there for moms, or if somebody has a loved one that’s going through a lot of this stuff and they’re seeing you know, they’re listening to this podcast they’re seeing the signs and the symptoms in themselves or in somebody that they care about. What are some of those resources you can suggest? Jessica Yeah, absolutely, and I think it’s good to just once again be educated on how these can look a little different than you know regular depression or anxiety, overwhelming difficulty connecting with baby, isolation, anger and irritability, and really I think the main thing that we look for is just like, if this doesn’t feel like me, or, you know, if you’re a loved one or friend is saying this just doesn’t seem like you, you know, and there are some, a lot of good resources out there. Postpartum support is international and is definitely the most well-established network of support. So, they have a website which I know we’ve linked in the show notes Postpartum net. But they have in every state, in the United States at least, what’s called a support coordinator when you can call their helpline. You’ll be directed to a local support coordinator and that person will tell you all the local resources that are available and they’ll help you, you know, get connected with those so they can, you know, say, hey, this therapist has openings in your area, that that takes your insurance, or this is a doula, you know, or this is a group that’s in your area, and so that helpline is great. Post-partum support international also has those free support groups and they have it on every topic. They have it on, you know, traumatic birth. They have it on infertility. They have it on, you know, being a minority mom. You know they have. They have actually Support groups for dads, so anything that you could experience, they have specific Support groups that are free for those, and so they are a really fantastic resource and in a place to turn and they, once again, they have also a Directory of all the professionals that work in that, in the perinatal space in your state, and so that’s where I would have people go and as a family member, you know, I think, just being able to be educated about the signs and symptoms, about what to look for. And even just approaching a mom that you know in a way that you’re like, hey, you don’t seem like yourself and you actually deserve to feel well, you know like, let’s see if we can get you feeling better, not because you’re not doing good enough, but because you deserve that. You deserve to be able to feel well in what you’re going through, and this shouldn’t feel this hard, no, and so I think, just being able to approach them from that perspective and help and offer to help them find support. Lara My mom did that for me with my second and I am so grateful that she had the courage to speak up about that at the time. I dismissed her and I want to just, you know, put that out there for anybody else that is seeing a loved one go through this is that, you know, sometimes it takes a couple times and it’s okay. Like it’s such a tender topic, I feel like and as you are showing up with love, I feel like that’s like the best energy you know to show up, not like, hey, you look like something’s wrong with you. Anybody listening would ever say that to someone else. But you know, like that internal energy of just showing up on, like I really genuinely care about you, and I’m concerned for you, and you deserve just like you mentioned, Jessica. You deserve to feel good right now and I’m I am so glad that my mom Mentioned that to me, and, on the flip side, I am so glad that I had the courage to see that within myself and for anybody that is listening to this, that is, recognizing that in yourself. That was probably the scariest thing I ever had to do Because I had masked it to almost everyone. I remember telling my husband hey, I’m using some of our money you know we haven’t budgeted for this, but I am taking money to go see a therapist and he was genuinely Confused because I had masked it so well that he didn’t understand that I was struggling so badly. I am grateful that you know I had that courage to speak up for myself, to recognize that that my mental health was so essential, not just for I think sometimes we say, well, I got to do this for my kid, but because I actually love myself and I valued myself and I wanted to feel good and the benefit of that, you know, trickle down to my children and to my husband and everybody else. But it really came down to like I needed to do it for me, and I can still remember we had these like horrible gray countertops like they were. We eventually replace them, but in like this really like dark brick, red wall at the time. And I remember sitting at that counter Typing up you know, therapists near me on my computer, and that was the first time I had ever Spoke out loud, you know, even though I was typing it in, it was. I finally admitted that something wasn’t great, and I was not in a good place. And I remember going to that first appointment and just shaking and still trying to mask and then I just like broke down and just cried and I that was probably one of the first people I’d ever cried in front of too, and it was. It was such a scary thing, but it was so life-changing that if anybody listening to this knows or is experiencing themselves, it is worth taking and being scared and taking that leap to find a therapist near you. And I’m so glad, Jessica, that you mentioned all these resources. I do have people that are local that listen to this podcast. So, if you are local to Davis County, Utah, where can they find you, Jessica? Jessica So, I own a counseling center, treat counseling. We have locations in Bountiful and in Layton. We have a free support group in person that we’re running right now in bountiful, and we have several therapists that are trained in perinatal mental health also here in our locations, and they can just find us through our website treatcounseling.com. Lara Awesome, thank you. Anything else that you want to share with Moms that are listening? Jessica Well, I love what you said, Lara, and I just think the tragedy of it is that perinatal mental health disorders are so treatable Right, like they really are. With some good support and, you know, possibly medication, you can really get feeling better. You know, and if these things go untreated, they can last right and they can have a lot of, you know, impact on yourself. And so, I love the, the motto of close farm support international. You know they say you’re not to blame, you’re not alone and with help you will be well, and I think just that message of hope, right, you know that if you can, as you said, Lara, take you know, have that courage to reach out and ask for help, that you really can feel better and you can have a different experience in motherhood. Lara Yeah, well, thank you. It’s been such an honor having you on and I I’ve loved being able to get to know you and even just the fact that you feel called to this. You know that’s so much of what we do on this podcast is helping moms Find what that purpose, that calling, is outside of motherhood, and I can really see how much you are doing and changing Within, you know, this perinatal space. So, thank you for the work that you’re doing and for answering your calling, because we all get to benefit from that. So, thank you for coming on today. Jessica Thanks so much for having me. It’s been awesome to meet you also and see the amazing work you’re doing. Lara: Oh, thank you. All right, so anybody listening to the podcast? I hope you enjoyed that, and I will see you next week. Thank you for listening. Please share, review and subscribe to this podcast so that together we can live life on purpose.

How to Connect with Lara:

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