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  • Writer's pictureL.R.

Perinatal Mental Health

Updated: Jan 29

By Ruthy Zalta

"Whenever I pondered the burden and sacrifices that inevitably comes with pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood, I felt that it was something I was absolutley ready for. I was excited by the prospect of starting a family and imbuing my values on to a mini version of myself. I was preoccupied with how I would dress my daughter, what her nursery would look like, and how amazing it would to be carrying her with me for nine months. As a mental health therapist myself, it had never dawned on me that my mental health would be the first to go. I casually heard about the infamous baby blues and Brooke Shields’s struggle with postpartum depression but I felt removed from it. From my perspective, I had no predisposing history of depression and wanted a baby more than anything in this world. “Something like that just wouldn’t happen to me”.  Practically overnight, I was ridden with intrusive thoughts, debilitating anxiety that left me home bound, and a deep despair that clouded any remnants of happiness in my life. Not only was I clinically depressed, anxious, an insomniac, obsessive compulsive, but I was utterly lost, terrified, drowning, and mourning the loss of my prior self. I continuously turned to friends and family for solutions, reassurance that I was still me, and hope that someone could tell me what was happening. On a journey alone, knowing something just wasn’t right, I found comfort in a reproductive psychiatrist and a perinatal mental health counselor who held my pain for me, even just for a half hour, and provided me with psycho education about what was happening to me, how normal I actually was, and how much stronger I would eventually become.  Even though I have won the war, I can’t deny that I still have my battles and work hard at the maintenance of my mental health as we all should. Nevertheless, a year later I stand stronger than I ever have in my life as I continue to swallow my antidepressants and any false sense of pride I endorse , reflect on the beautiful memories I share with my girl that I never imagined having, and work towards becoming the  perinatal specialist I wish I had found sooner." -Ruthy Zalta

Taking care of perinatal mental health

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