It is hard to believe that it is over 20 years since my perinatal mental health crisis began. My life forever changed back in early 1996 when I was struck with postpartum psychosis. Not only did my life change but so did the lives of my family members. My experience has brought an understanding of mental health related to childbearing that I would not have otherwise. I am truly blessed to have been able to turn such a horrific experience into a way to give back and contribute to making changes in a positive way.
Back in November 2015, I had the opportunity to speak before house and senate committees in the state in which I reside. My goal was to get the attention of lawmakers so they would recognize the importance of addressing perinatal mental health. It was a new experience for me but I knew it was time to share a piece of my story with the legislators. I believe it opened the door for the discussion and enabled some of my fellow perinatal mental health advocates to make strides as well. A proclamation was submitted back in March to our Governor to make May Perinatal Mental Health Awareness month. Although still waiting a decision, our state's perinatal mental health advocates are hopeful that it will be signed by the Governor.
Regardless of the outcome, the perinatal mental health advocates in my state will continue efforts to increase awareness and change outcomes in the area of mental health related to childbearing. I am honored to be a part of the movement.