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SALT LAKE CITY — A new baby brings deep love, joy, and excitement to a family, but in the midst of the oxytocin and newborn snuggles lies a darkness that new mothers may not be prepared for: postpartum depression. may exist.
of Utah Department of Health and Human Services reports that one in three Utah women will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after pregnancy. Maternal mental health also includes additional mental health challenges such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis. Mothers can experience mental health problems at any time during pregnancy, during the first year of their baby’s life, and beyond.
While it can be lonely and frightening for women who face these extreme mood disorders while caring for at least one, and sometimes multiple, children, hope and healing can be found at a variety of resources across Utah. You can find it through.
Aubrey Grossen of St. George started a community known as. Anya (new you again)The word, which means “mama” in Hungarian, was born after suffering severe symptoms of postpartum depression of her own.
“Basically, I live to help women with their mental health,” Grossen said.
FREE FOR ANYA Facebook communityretreats, and paid memberships that include phone calls with therapists, as well as Marco Polo’s “Circles,” which connect mothers in similar situations to support each other.
“There’s a lot of coaching and therapy involved…but people rave about the ‘come as you are’ community within ANYA,” Grossen said. “When people sign up there, they end up staying because they have some of their best friends there.”
end the stigma
After giving birth to her first child, Riverton resident Kelsey Perry kept quiet about her postpartum depression because she feared her child would be taken away. Years later, after facing her own personal challenges, including a difficult pregnancy, an umbilical hernia after the birth of her son, emergency gallbladder surgery after the birth of her daughter, and the onslaught of the coronavirus, Ms. Perry Her husband said: She encouraged her to go to ANYA’s retreat.
The day she left for the retreat, she began her fourth miscarriage and would go on to miscarry her baby twins later that week. She decided to go on the retreat to gather support from other understanding women, and said she was ultimately lucky to be able to attend the retreat during her miscarriage. Because she didn’t feel so alone.
Perry said attending the retreat provided her with community support that helped her overcome severe postpartum depression and anxiety following the birth of her youngest child, who was born in 2022. ANYA has taught her healthy coping mechanisms such as going outside, waking up before her children every morning before 10 a.m. to commune with God and reciting her positive affirmations.
Perry’s fellow ANYA community member Camille Laycock of Lehi has two children with special needs. She wanted more joy in her motherhood, instead of the anxiety she had been feeling. She also learned skills that changed her life from ANYA her.
One of those skills is learning what self-care actually means. Raylock learned that showering and getting dressed in the morning is a better option for effective self-care than eating donuts and washing down with Diet Coke.
She also shared the acronym “MOMMY” that she learned from ANYA.
- MMeeting with God/Meditation
- ○opportunity for growth
- MPremonition of silence
- Yourselves (which may mean taking a nap each day or taking a break from social media)
“Anya helped me realize and really embrace my potential,” Laycock said.
Find a community
Another helpful resource for Utah women dealing with postpartum depression is: sad moms cluba podcast started by Highland psychiatric mental health nurse Joni Libert.
Research shows that community is a big part of healing for these mothers.
Libert said the purpose of the podcast is to let Utah women know they are not alone and to educate them about Utah’s resources, including therapists, specialists, doulas, and doctors, and to give them access to those resources. He said it was the right thing to do.
While therapy in general is great, Libert says working with a therapist you don’t fully understand can be unhelpful. On the other hand, working with a therapist who specializes in maternal mental health can provide a safe place for mothers to say things they would not otherwise say, such as “I hate being a mother” or “I don’t want to be around my mother.” You can create a place. baby. ” These professional therapists can give mothers permission to struggle without judgment and guide them to a happier place.
Mr. Libert pointed out that mothermentalhealth.utah.gov As a useful resource for therapy and support groups. She said all the professionals listed there must undergo training such as: Postpartum Support Internationalwhich is also a resource for mothers.
Postpartum Support International has a phone number that women can call to connect with a local therapist, so you don’t have to jump through hoops to find support. The organization can also connect women with free, specialized support groups for mothers who have had babies in neonatal intensive care units, adoptive parents, and parents with postpartum depression or anxiety.
“Studies have shown that community is a big part of mothers’ healing,” Libert said.
About six and a half years ago, Lindsay Proctor Restoration of tranquility and healtha maternal mental health center specializing in the care of women of reproductive age.
Proctor wanted women to have the opportunity to attend therapy for at least an hour a week. They also wanted to prevent women from being hospitalized and separated from their children due to postpartum depression. A Serenity patient can spend her 9 to 12 hours a week at the facility and can bring her children, eliminating the need to find child care on her own. There you will also have the opportunity to spend time with other mothers facing similar challenges.
“Support groups really help mothers’ mental health and just being around other mothers creates a sense of common humanity that says, ‘I’m not alone, I’m the only one struggling with this.’ We know that,” Proctor said. “And there’s something really healing and powerful about observing mothers when they’re together in a group.”
There is hope
Kearns resident Mariana Kerchner started exposure therapy at Serenity in March, shortly after her daughter was born. She said the therapy was very helpful and she learned how to accept her anxiety as part of her life rather than pushing it away in an attempt to reassure her.
She likened her anxiety to a friend coming over to her house, but she’s too busy to spend time with them, and while she’s doing other things, she just Just sitting there.
“I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been in my life and thanks to Serenity, my anxiety is now at a minimum.”
Taylor Holberg of West Valley City is being treated for postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder at Serenity.
She said she has learned that it is not uncommon for women who suffer from postpartum OCD to be misdiagnosed as mentally ill.
“Generally speaking, just being diagnosed with (obsessive-compulsive disorder) was huge, but I think being able to get through postpartum (obsessive-compulsive disorder) saved my life. ,” Hallberg said.
Serenity has offices in Riverton and Provo and accepts most insurances in addition to self-pays.
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