Decarcerating Perinatal Mental Health & Reproductive Care

This blog post was inspired by my participation in IDHA‘s December 2020 “Decarcerating Care Fireside Chat.” I am grateful to Jessie Roth, IDHA co-director, for facilitating a rich conversation with my fellow interlocutors Jess Stohlmann-Rainey, Dustin Gibson, and Stefanie Lyn Kaufman-Mthimkhulu. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, my first thought is that I wasContinue reading “Decarcerating Perinatal Mental Health & Reproductive Care”

PSA: Perinatal Bipolar Support Group

I am incredibly excited to announce the debut of a new support group which I will co-facilitating called Bipolar Support for Perinatal Moms & Birthing People hosted by Postpartum Support International (PSI). Since not all people with wombs identify as women or mothers, this group welcomes all birthing people (parents who have carried and birthedContinue reading “PSA: Perinatal Bipolar Support Group”

Thinking with Dyane Harwood: Birth of a New Brain

Although I lived with a bipolar diagnosis years before my own crisis with mania and depression during pregnancy, I was intrigued by both the familiarity and foreignness of postpartum bipolar.* As I began to do more research, I stumbled across Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder (2017). TheContinue reading “Thinking with Dyane Harwood: Birth of a New Brain”

Healing Journey: Food & Fitness

This week was the first time since 2019 that I had been inside a gym or a group fitness space. Believe it or not, in my past life (from 2017-2019) I was actually a fitness instructor. I stopped teaching fitness classes when I got pregnant and quickly descended into my most frightening and prolonged manicContinue reading “Healing Journey: Food & Fitness”

Language Matters: Perinatal vs Postpartum

Continue with the topic of language from a previous post, I’ve been thinking about how the terminology we use impacts our awareness of and education about people’s lived experiences with mental health challenges. This post will focus on those experiences surrounding childbirth. There has been an increasing awareness about the term postpartum, meaning the periodContinue reading “Language Matters: Perinatal vs Postpartum”

Healing Journey: When Therapy is Harmful, Not Helpful

Trigger warning: perinatal psychiatric crisis, psychiatric incarceration, systemic violence In a previous post, I wondered if I outgrew therapy. I questioned whether I worked through or “got over” my trauma. I was ready to quit. However, instead of breaking up with my therapist, I was able to have a powerful conversation in which I realizedContinue reading “Healing Journey: When Therapy is Harmful, Not Helpful”

Breastfeeding While Black (& Bipolar): A poem & reflections

In honor of our ancestors the enslaved wet nurses / their life-force liquified sentenced to sustain white supremacy’s offspring Now we celebrate our brown babies suckling / in our arms against our skin / on our bodies / at our breasts Liberated lactation is a revelation a revolution / nourishment only Black bodies can provideContinue reading “Breastfeeding While Black (& Bipolar): A poem & reflections”

Healing Journey: My Rainbow Baby

In honor of National Rainbow Baby Day Trigger warning: pregnancy loss, miscarriage, sexual trauma, obstetric violence, suicidal ideation, police brutality My rainbow baby was conceived months before she took residence in my womb. I was at a postpartum doula training learning about reproductive psychiatry for mothers with mental illness. Paige Bellenbaum from The Motherhood Center inContinue reading “Healing Journey: My Rainbow Baby”

Thinking with Laura Briggs: The Race of Hysteria

For most of history, hysteria was a physical and mental condition that had no cure and it was associated with the uterus. It was believed to cause a wide range of symptoms including, but not limited to shortness of breath, anxiety, insomnia, fainting, amnesia, nausea, paralysis, seizures, spasms, convulsive fits, deafness, hallucinations, infertility, and painfulContinue reading “Thinking with Laura Briggs: The Race of Hysteria”

Op-Ed: Extended Medicaid Benefits Provide A Lifeline for New Moms

The United States has an embarrassingly high maternal mortality rate compared to other highly industrialized nations. The majority of maternal mortality happens after childbirth — close to a quarter of pregnancy-related deaths take place between six weeks to a year after childbirth. So, it is baffling that federal law only guarantees 60 days of pregnancy-relatedContinue reading “Op-Ed: Extended Medicaid Benefits Provide A Lifeline for New Moms”