How Dejah J. Managed Postpartum Depression With Charlie Health
Charlie Health offered Dejah long-overdue postpartum depression treatment and supported her on her parenting journey.
Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC
November 16, 2023
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In the first year after giving birth, one in seven people develop postpartum depression (PPD), a mood disorder marked by persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness affecting daily life. Although the condition is relatively common, and a range of treatment options exist, stigma and inadequate access to care keep many from getting the help they need.
After her daughter was born, Charlie Health alum and first-time mom Dejah J. spent nearly a year in the throes of PPD, unable to get treatment due to local provider shortages. We sat down with Dejah to learn more about how Charlie Health played a role in both her PPD recovery and parenting journey.
What led you to seek postpartum depression treatment at Charlie Health?
When my daughter was about one year old, I was referred to Charlie Health by a local mobile crisis line. I was feeling helpless like I couldn’t keep going. I’d known for a while that something wasn’t right with my mental health, but because I live in a rural area where you have to wait six or seven months to see a provider, I didn’t get help until Charlie Health. It was nice to finally have the validation of a postpartum depression diagnosis and get some support because I’d been bottling up a lot of feelings.
My pregnancy and the first year of my daughter’s life were very up and down. I got pregnant unexpectedly a couple months before I was supposed to get a hysterectomy. I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum and a really traumatic delivery. After she was born, my daughter was sent to the NICU, and her father and I couldn’t have any support at the hospital because it was the height of the pandemic. I was only 21, and it was a lot to deal with. When she was finally discharged, I felt on top of the world, but soon after, my dog suddenly died, and my daughter ended up back in the hospital with RSV. I was terrified to leave my house or see friends because she was so tiny and sickly. Before Charlie Health, I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone how sad and exhausted I was because I had this beautiful baby that I never thought I’d be able to have.
At what point in Charlie Health did you notice a shift in your mental health?
About six or seven weeks into the program, I went out to dinner with a friend, and I felt peppy and excited to be there. My friend noticed and said I seemed different than the last time we’d seen each other. I remember making the connection at that moment that Charlie Health was helping me with my postpartum depression. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work, and there were days I felt tired and didn’t want to go to group, but it was worth it.
Do you have any advice for others dealing with postpartum depression?
I think it’s easy for new moms to feel like they’re on the backburner because now everyone’s focus is on this new, beautiful baby, but you and your mental health still matter. Your body just went through the biggest change of its life, hormones are all over the place, and your life has changed forever—it’s okay to struggle when that happens, and it’s important to reach out if you think you’re dealing with postpartum depression or something else. There’s no shame in needing help as a mom.
How has Charlie Health helped you as a parent?
Charlie Health taught me how to regulate my emotions and put things in perspective, which has made it easier to help my daughter manage her own emotions. I also have a lot longer of a fuse now, which is great because my daughter is a very stubborn toddler. Of course, I get overwhelmed and need to catch my breath sometimes, but I’m able to enjoy parenting now; it’s not as scary or depressing as it used to be.
There was one Charlie Health therapist in particular who made me feel good about parenting. During my last group, she said the sweetest things about how great of a mom she knew I’d become. I don’t have that support from my family, but I had that at Charlie Health. I always used to feel like I wasn’t good enough as a parent, but now I know that I’m trying to be the best mom I can be. My daughter and I are growing together, and that’s about the best you can do.
Postpartum depression support at Charlie Health
If you or a loved one are struggling with postpartum depression (PPD), Charlie Health is here to help. Our virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) offers more than once-weekly support to those struggling with complex mental health conditions, including PPD. Charlie Health combines group sessions, individual counseling, family therapy, and psychiatry (as needed) for holistic, long-term healing. Fill out our short form to get a free assessment today.