December 2008. I just found out I was pregnant with our first child. It was a surprise. A beautiful surprise. My husband and I were both excited. But I felt also nervous at the same time. Will I be a good parent? Will I know how to best take care of my baby? So, I started to plan, reading books about birth and breastfeeding. I bought baby clothing and baby gears and of course, I took a prenatal class with my husband. I did everything in my knowledge to get ready for the arrival of our son. But one thing I did not pay much attention to is educating myself about postpartum mental health. The prenatal workshop facilitator covered the subject of baby blues and postpartum depression. Unfortunately there was not a lot of time spent on it. And I told myself that I would probably not be affected by a mental health issue in the postpartum period. Not me, with all the preparation I was doing. Was I wrong!
One month after the birth of our son, in October 2009, I was admitted to hospital. I was experiencing a severe postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. I had no clue what was happening to me. I spent a week in the hospital. After the visit of a great psychiatrist, I received the diagnosis of bipolar disorder of postpartum onset with psychotic features. This was totally unexpected. I had no symptoms before birth and no history of mental illness in my family. What a shock! But with the help of my psychiatrist, my husband and close family, I was able to recover and feel like myself again.
I’ll never forget the days after I received my medication for the first time. When that little pill I was swallowing started to calm my ill brain, a passion was born in me. I then knew deep down in my heart, that one day I would use my hard experience to help other parents. I would tell my story. I would share the knowledge I would gain about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. I promised to myself to find a way to educate and support parents if they would go through such a challenge.
A few years after my recovery, I started a blog to share my experience. I included information about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders that I was learning. I also wrote a book about my postpartum story. But there was still a voice inside of me telling me I could do more for families in the postpartum period. In 2018, I completed a postpartum doula certification process. That same year, I left my career of almost 20 years in education to work full time as a postpartum consultant/doula.
The transition into parenthood is challenging on many levels. Parents need to be well prepared for the postpartum period. They deserve to be nurtured and supported while going through this profound transformation. They need it even more if they are suffering from a postpartum mental illness. This is what I am here for. This is my mission. The past ten years have well prepared me for this.
A little bit more about myself:
I am a mother of two kids. I speak French and English. I love reading, writing, camping, creating videos on my YouTube channel and taking pictures. I keep on educating myself about perinatal mental health and the postpartum period. All that to better serve my clients. I am appreciated for my kindness, compassion and caring listening skills.
Certifications, training and other experience
Doula Canada – Postpartum doula (2018)
Postpartum Support International
- PSI Perinatal Social Support Network Development Certificate (2015)
- Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care Certificate (2019)
- Mentor for the Peer Support Program (2020 – )
Canadian Red Cross – Standard First Aid & CPR/AED Level C (2019)
Olivia Scobie – Perinatal & Postpartum Mood & Trauma Informed Care Workshop for Doulas (2019)
Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Trainings – Supporting Clients With Birth and Reproductive Trauma: A Guide For Doulas (2020)
Living Works: safeTALK Suicide Prevention Course (May 2021)