Brianne gave birth to her first daughter, and had a little bit of what everyone calls the “baby blues” afterwards. Five years later, after her second daughter was born last year, things got much worse. She felt like she had no energy, no connection with the baby, and nothing but sadness mixed with anger, which she often took out on her husband and older daughter. She cried all the time about what felt like nothing. Something was wrong, and she knew it – but she said she was so embarrassed that she simply didn’t leave the house, answer the phone, or let friends and family see her.
Her sister-in-law stepped in six months into Brianne’s struggle after her brother called her for help. She had gone through something similar when her son was born, knew what was going on with Brianne, and called her to tell her it’s ok to feel that way, she’s not alone, and it’s possible to feel better – reassurance Brianne was relieved to hear. Her sister-in-law had researched options for post-partum care in the area, and urged her to call for help. Within 48 hours, Brianne had an appointment with a counselor, Courtney, at The Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Behavioral Health at West Penn Hospital. She says that from the first meeting, where she was able to talk about anything and everything without feeling judged, she felt like she was able to start putting herself – and her family – back together.
“I know that that took a lot of toll on my husband. He’s very quiet, and I'm more of an outspoken person than he is, and so he didn't really know what to do. He just kind of was like in the shadows a little bit, and actually I brought him to one of my therapy appointments one time just so he could kind of get in on that, too. Without his support, I wouldn’t have even been able to do what I was able to do.”
Brianne’s final appointment was last month, and she says she’s never been happier.
“My kids deserved to have a mom that was healthy, and was home, and happy, and my husband the same. My family, everybody did. Since I graduated from the program, I’ve been feeling better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”
Brianne watches friends carefully now for signs that something might be a little more serious than they’re letting on after giving birth, and isn’t afraid to speak up if she sees trouble.