I'm learning the hard reality that if someone in my family needs to see a specialist, there's a good chance we'll be asked to see a specialist in Northern Virginia or Richmond. Maybe it isn't a big deal to you because you work in one of these areas. Maybe it isn’t a big deal schedule an appointment where you spend most of your work week.

But what if you don't? What if it is a big deal?
When I moved to Fredericksburg, I was just past the one-year mark of being on Zoloft after G was born and I wanted to wean off of it before we started trying for baby #2. I tried finding a therapist who had some training in maternal mental illness. I found no one. After a horrible experience with one local therapist with zero postpartum mental illness experience, I knew it was not in my best interest to see “just anyone” when our next baby arrived.
I went into having a second kid knowing what worked and what didn't, mostly through trial and error during G's first year. Medicine helped, but didn’t fully fix my postpartum depression and anxiety issues. I needed therapy to help talk through what I was thinking and feeling. My therapists have done what my midwife or doctor don't: see me at regular intervals to determine how I am doing while I am on medication. My thereapist helps determine whether or not my dosage needs tweaking. My therapist helps me determine if I’m on the right medication. My therapist helps me figure out if it’s the right time to wean off medication and suggest coping mechanisms for when I’m having off days.
Therapists have time to sit down and determine what your diagnosis is and if the dosage your doctor gave you needs adjusting. My dosage actually needed adjusting at least once during my first year postpartum with both boys. 
Every therapy trip I make to Northern Virginia I wonder...What about the mothers with no support system in place? The moms who are anxious and cannot leave their babies with anyone for long periods of time? The moms who work in the area and can't find the time to drive an hour for a 45 minute session and hour back (or longer, because traffic). What about the moms who have to schedule time away from work AND figure out childcare/school schedules?
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are illnesses. They can be treated with the right help. Carving out the time for you to get well is important. But the reality is, if it isn't convenient it's a deterrent. I'm willing to bet there are moms around here who have felt commuting wasn't worth it. They tell themselves that if they take their pills as their doctor prescribes, they’ll be a-okay.
But what if they’re like me and still don’t feel okay? Who are these moms seeing? How are they making it work?
The truth is, this is a situation thousands of moms find themselves in across the United States. Just read Katherine Stone's recent post Why Moms Can't Get Help for Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. The situations she describes are the ones I've faced in trying to find myself good maternal mental health care since I moved to Fredericksburg two years ago.

Luckily, Postpartum Support Virginia (PSVa) has recognized the need for perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD) advocates and mental health providers in our area. They want to help healthcare and mental health providers get a little more training when it comes to maternal mental health. They’re building resources and support groups to help new and expectant mothers and their families overcome postpartum anxiety and depression in the Fredericksburg area.

PSVa will be holding a one-day workshop in Fredericksburg on Saturday, September 26 from 9am-4pm. The workshop is $50, which covers materials and lunch.
By the end of the workshop, participants will understand:
1.     The spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
2.     Impact of PMADs on mother, baby, and family
3.     How, when, and why to discuss PMADs
4.     Treatment options and intervention strategies
The workshop is open to the following:
Mental health providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers
Birth professionals, including doulas, midwives, childbirth educators
PMAD survivors interested in helping women overcome PMADs
The day will be broken into two parts. The morning session will be a general overview for all participants, which will discuss perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and how maternal mental health affects the entire family. 
Then the group will break out into one of three, smaller sessions. One will be specifically for mental health providers to learn different therapeutic techniques when working with mothers with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
This is such an excellent opportunity to bring much-needed maternal mental healthcare to Fredericksburg-area moms. If this workshop sounds like something you'd be interested in, please register here.
Not a mental health provider but still want to help moms? PSVa is also going to train volunteers and ambassadors during the workshop! I’m hoping to get a little more information about those sessions to share in my next post, so stay tuned!
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About Emma

emma headshot

Emma is married to her high school sweetheart and is a stay at home mom of two boys: G and L. A wanna-be professional writer and photographer, she can often be found following her boys around with a camera. When she isn’t chasing after her kids, Emma writes about her motherhood journey on her personal blog, Muddy Boots and Diamonds.

Pouches' Community Corner

The Table at St. George’s

The Table at St. George’s is a market-style food pantry serving the extended local community. Visitors are invited to select their own items from a variety of fresh food, including locally grown produce. The Table’s mission is to encourage healthy eating, build relationships with those in need, and blur the lines between those serving and those being served.