Postpartum Support International: Keynote Highlights Importance of Inspiring Our Patients and Supporting Each Other

At a recent gathering of hundreds of mental health specialists at the Postpartum Support International Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the message was in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, we are changing “outcomes both nationally and globally for mothers, for women, and for families.”

I was honored to be a keynote speaker for the banquet at this very special event and to learn that many of my colleagues and conference participants found my message uplifting and one that needed to be heard.

If you’ve read my book, or my blog posts, you’re aware that I emphasize this viewpoint: Challenges are often the opportunities to transform and the key to tremendous personal growth.

Although perinatal depression can be a very dark and difficult time, with treatment, it can be a chance to not only regain health and wellness, but it is a chance to find meaning, and positive transformation in the process.

Our task as therapists specializing in this illness, is to let our patients, and all women who are experiencing this illness, know about this possibility of a happier future. They must understand — through our guidance — that they must not lose hope. It is our job, and privilege, to help them find something meaningful in their postpartum depression or anxiety experience and to find something meaningful in their life.

Among other takeaways from this extraordinary conference is confirmation that PMAD (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders) is caused by multiple factors; not simply brain chemistry or plummeting hormone levels. Although those sources are certainly part of the condition, we must add to the list of possible roots: the myths of motherhood, sleep deprivation, perfectionism, lack of social supports, traumatic birth experiences, and more.

A final outcome of the conference is the realization that those of us specializing in treating women with PMAD are doing extremely significant and important work. We are changing not only how maternal mental health issues are treated, but we are also affecting mental healthcare delivery and attitudes worldwide.

And, in order to inspire the perinatal women that we treat, it’s equally vital that we, the therapeutic community, support and inspire one other.

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~ by ppdsus on June 25, 2014.

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