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Marcie Le
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Come Climb With Us

May is recognized as Maternal Mental Health awareness month. Please consider joining our team (or making a donation) for this event on Saturday, May 12th at 10.00am.  Wetest%2F1524582687078-facebook_1524582524677.jpg will initially meet at Shelter #6 at  Freedom Park, Mahlon Adams Pavilion, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203 and after some refreshments we will do a one-mile walk in honor of the courageous mothers who have come out of the darkness. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. There will be several prize giveaways as well as some fun activities for the kids. Rain or Shine (hopefully shine)Register Here By Clicking Join Team at Top of Page

My Climb from Darkness

Spring is here and May is just around the corner with Mother’s Day right on it’s heels. May is also recognized as Maternal Mental Health awareness month, so exactly what does this mean? Let’s talk a bit about Postpartum Mood Disorders. After all, Postpartum Depression is a familiar term right? There have been books, movies and articles written on the subject. Famous celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen, Courtney Cox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields have spoken out on the subject. Yet, what most people fail to realize are the many forms and ways Postpartum Mood Disorders can present in both women and MEN. And unfortunately some of the forms if unrecognized can be deadly. This is a struggle I know all to well.

I remember so vividly decorating the nursery, picking the perfect blush pink linens for the crib and curtains to match. I lined up all the children’s books, gifts given to us at our baby shower, on the shelves that my husband had so carefully measured and hung. We were over the moon to meet our little one. I’m sure many of you can relate to this time of excitement. The much awaited moment arrived and our precious Anna Grace was born and she was perfect!

While I did not expect the transition to motherhood to be without trials, I was gravely unprepared for the tragic year that would ensue. My mood plummeted sharply and rapidly into darkness, but there were so many other factors such as infant colic and sleep deprivation that we just chocked it up to adjusting. Unfortunately, due to a cacophony of these overlooked and dismissed signs my diagnosis was missed entirely. My moods continued to swing wildly over the next few months. Eventually my erratic moods landed me in a very strange and utterly confusing state of mixed mania and depression, which ultimately led to a ‘thankfully failed’ suicide attempt. 

My eventual diagnosis was Postpartum Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder: Mixed. Peripartum Bipolar Depression is one of the SIX types of mood disorders, all with wildly different symptoms, that can occur after the birth of a child. It is not a well-known part of the post-partum spectrum and therefore, it is often misdiagnosed or completely missed.  The estimated incidence is about 2.9% in the general population (up to date). What most people do not realize is that although treatable this is a condition I will live with for the rest of my life. My postpartum depression activated my bipolar disorder and my brain after the birth of my daughter is forever changed.

My climb out of darkness began when I was placed in the Maternal Wellness Program at Davidson Behavioral Health. Sitting in the office of the Psychiatrist at Davidson is when I first heard the words “You are not alone, this does not make you a bad mother, and we can and will help you!” I dissolved into a puddle of tears and mascara. With just one sentence I felt like someone cut off a tight band around my chest and for the first time in nearly a year I could breathe.

I want that same feeling for every single mother or father out there who suffers from any postpartum mood disorder. With postpartum disorders affecting 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men it is very likely most of us know someone who has suffered from this very treatable condition. Postpartum depression is the #1 complication after childbirth, 1 out of 3 women of color will suffer from some form of Perinatal Mood Disorder and though many men do not talk about their emotions, statistics show 1 in 10 dads will experience depression and /anxiety postpartum. Here in Charlotte we are ready to do something about this


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