Thrive by IU Health

February 13, 2023

Moms should not suffer in silence

IU Health Arnett Hospital

Moms should not suffer in silence

“As a mom to two NICU babies, I lost my own sense of identity during my postpartum years after each pregnancy. The anxiety, the guilt and the stress I felt was very isolating and overwhelming at times,” says Megan, who, for personal reasons, did not want to use her last name.

According to research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) affects one in seven mothers. These feelings can be mild, moderate or even severe. These feelings get in the way of doing activities of everyday living, particularly caring for a new baby and oneself.

“Once I finally started talking about my feelings and my experiences with my family and other moms and parents, my support system grew and my anxiety felt more manageable,” adds Megan who is a Maternal Child Health social worker at IU Health Arnett.

There is a period of normal adjustment after having a baby when women feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed. When the baby blues last beyond a three-week period and begin to interfere with everyday living—there is a safe place to land.

Megan from Mother Baby

“Moms should not suffer in silence,” shares Megan. “Moms deserve a place where they feel like they are not alone. A place where they can talk about their experiences without feeling judged. Maternal mental health matters to the whole family. If moms get the help they need for their mental health, it can have a positive effect on their entire family.”

Mother to Mother Connection provides space to be heard

Megan is now co-leading a support group with neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse Shari Hertz. Mother to Mother Connection is a safe space for moms to come and meet others who are struggling with similar feelings and experiences — and learning that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.

Shari with NICU

“Being a mom, even under the best of circumstances, is hard,” says Hertz about her own journey. “For a woman struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, it can be overwhelming. As a NICU nurse, I see moms who are facing the extra challenges that come with having their newborn in intensive care. It is important to me that these moms have somewhere to turn for support, to share their personal experience, to feel a sense of belonging and community, to feel safe. The mother-to-mother support group gives moms this opportunity as well as a link to other resources if they need them. I'm proud to be a part of it.”

“Being a part of leading this support group is so important to me because I can help other moms build their support system and give them that safe space to feel heard. I have learned that moms connecting with other moms is vital to the motherhood journey,” says Megan.

Mother to Mother Connection

When: First and third Friday of every month, 10 am – noon

Where: IU Health Arnett Hospital, third floor, room A3010

Free and open to all mothers

Call 765.838.7961 or email to learn more.

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