Hello Moms of Northern BC!
My name is Alana and I am the mother of two beautiful girls, age 4 years and 20 months, living in Prince George BC. I have worked as an Occupational Therapist in Community Mental Health for 8 years. I love living in the North, in particular because of how easy it is to hit the trails and have a lovely time hiking through our beautiful, natural landscape.
My journey into motherhood has not been a n easy one: with both my girls I experienced significant perinatal mood disorders. With my first I developed postpartum depression and anxiety about 3 months after her birth. With my second, my depression began while pregnant and got so intense I had a leave work earlier than planned. Although I recovered greatly by the time she was born, I continued to experience bouts of depression and anxiety postpartum.
Today, I am successfully back at work, managing my mental health with medication, and raising two wonderful, intelligent, strong and happy little girls. I am also a prime example that perinatal mood disorders can happen to anyone. I have extensive education and training regarding mental health issues but postpartum depression & anxiety did not care, about my education and training…they affected me greatly regardless of my background.
My journey with perinatal mood disorders helped to show me the supports and services available to moms and families in our community, which are unfortunately limited. My family doctor was very informative and supportive, for which I am very grateful. I have also had a wonderful experience with Postpartum Passages (a peer support group for women experiencing difficulties of any kind during the pregnancy or postpartum period). The leading and participating women in this group are an incredible support and resource.
Postpartum Passages meets every Thursday morning 10am-12pm at the South Fort George Family Resource Centre on LaSalle Street in Prince George. Rm 203. Two Prince George doulas, Jocelyn Logan and Charla Carter Anderson, facilitate the group. Please contact them on Facebook for more information!
Other supports/services are quite unpredictable and variable, especially if you live outside of Prince George in more rural Northern BC. Is your doctor, midwife (if there’s one in your community) or public health nurse knowledgeable and comfortable with postpartum mental health issues? Can you afford to pay out of pocket for individual counselling? If you see a counsellor, do they have knowledge and comfort specifically with perinatal mental health? The answer right now in the North seems to be a big MAYBE.
I want to know what was helpful, what wasn’t, and what we need to do to improve the services and supports here in the North.
Becoming an Advocate
This lack of reliable support has motivated me to learn more about others’ experiences and to be an advocate within our community for mental health services. I have written up two short surveys (they take about 5 minutes each and are completely anonymous) that I have linked below to get more information about what others have experienced during their perinatal mental health journeys.
“Together our voices are stronger.”
I want to know what was helpful, what wasn’t, and what we need to do to improve the services and supports here in the North. I am hoping that the information I get from these surveys will help me advocate for more services and better support for families who are experiencing perinatal mood disorders. Together our voices are stronger. If you have any question or comments regarding the survey, my story, or just need to talk to someone, please message me on Facebook for more information.
Thank you all for listening to my story and thanks for all the help your survey answers will provide on my journey into advocacy.
Links to surveys:
Got a Story to Share?
Message from Northern BC Moms: Do you know what services are available to you in your community? Are you passionate about postpartum mental health? Please let us know in the comments below! We’d love to add to our resource for all the Moms and families in Northern BC!
Keep the conversation going, check in with your mom friends, send the message, make the call…