Postpartum Depression Doesn’t Discriminate: How to Create a Plan & Be Ready {especially if you’ve never been depressed a day in your life}


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(With Nancy Roberts, R.N., Certified Childbirth Educator)  “It’ll never happen to me”…we’ve all uttered those words. Then…*boom* goes the dynamite.  

Postpartum Depression (PPD) doesn’t care if you’re white, black, purple or blue. It doesn’t care if you’re middle class, low class, upper class or have no class.  It just doesn’t.

Postpartum Depression stings a lot more of us than you’d believe (we’ve heard as many as 20% of Preggos get it). PPD often effects women who’ve never been depressed a day in their lives. It even hits new dads – women’s bodies release pheromones (airborne hormones) that trigger men’s hormones to change. 

But when you think about it, is it that big of a surprise? Life changes fast {for the better}, but sometimes its tough adjusting to the “new normal”. Plus your hormones are flowin’ like the Amazon River’, while the rest of your body instantly starts changing back to its pre-pregnancy state. That’s a lot going on mama (and papas too). 

Postpartum Depression YourBabyBooty.comIn this interview, Nancy shares her valuable lessons learned & things you can easily do to be aware & best prepared. That way if Postpartum Depression comes a knockin’, you have an advantage….you’re ready with the help you need, right when you need it. Be prepared mama. 

You’ll Also Learn:

  1. How talking to your provider now, about how they help with Postpartum Depression will avoid confusion later.
  2. Why it’s a great idea to take a quick look at your family history to see if PPD was present.
  3. How to make a Postpartum Depression plan. It’s easy to do.
  4. Nancy dispels some myths surrounding PPD treatment options.

Who is Nancy Roberts?

Nancy Roberts knows babies. She’s got 4 kiddos herself. She also knows mamas. That’s what happens when you’ve been a Labor & Delivery nurse for over 30 years.  Currently,  Nancy is a certified childbirth educator & is the Nurse Coordinator for the Postpartum Depression Program at Spectrum Health (hospital) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Hospitals around the nation have taken notice of  Nancy’s PPD program & as a result, she frequently teaches Doctors about Postpartum Depression & Perinatal Mood Disorders. Nancy LOVES Andes Mints- open a box near her & watch what happens. 

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Postpartum Depression Doesn’t Discriminate: How to Create a Plan & Be Ready {especially if you’ve never been depressed a day in your life- with Nancy Roberts-


 Sarah:              Okay. Hi, this is Sarah Blight with Your Baby Booty interviews where we chat with moms, dads, and experts about the things that they learned about being parents and having babies so that you can make better decisions faster and be ahead of the game.

                        Well, the postpartum depression discriminate and what are the chances that you could possibly have or deal with postpartum depression after you have your baby? Well today, we are going to talk to Nancy Roberts, and she is an expert in the field. She’s been in the field for over 30 years, almost as long as I’ve been alive, not to make you feel old Nancy. She has worked in labor and delivery at Spectrum Health here in Grand Rapids. She worked there for 28 years. She has 4 kids of her own. She is a certified childbirth educator, and she also currently is working as a nurse coordinator in the postpartum depression program at Spectrum Health.


                        So thank you so much, Nancy. Did I get that all right?


Nancy: Kind of. Most of it. Actually, I’ve been a nurse for 33 years…


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             …28 of it in the labor and delivery, and then since that point in time, been the director for the past 5, 6 years.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy: So yeah.


Sarah:  Well, thank you for…


Nancy: Close enough.


Sarah:  Yeah, close enough. You’ve been in the field for a long time…


Nancy: Yes.


Sarah:              …and you’ve seen a lot of women kind of, of all walks, of all, you know, ethnicities and backgrounds, and currently, you’re devoted to helping them cure postpartum depression, and so what we want to talk about today is the tools that you can have so you’re prepared what if postpartum depression happens to you and what you can do before you actually have your baby so that you’re ready to go, and you get the help that you need if and when you need it.


Nancy: Okay.


Sarah:              So Nancy, tell us what does a nurse coordinator do? What is your job right now at Spectrum Health?


Nancy:             My job is I have kind of a dual system. One, I’m in the hospital on the postpartum unit most days screening every single one of our new moms for a postpartum depression. So we give all of our moms a risk assessment and that just verifies what their risks with postpartum depressions are or are not. Those moms whose risk is greater then I personally visit each one, and we talk about action plan. You know, these are your risks and these are signs and symptoms [0:02:57] [Indiscernible]. You already know these things having screened yourself, and then what the resources are just in case.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             So you want them to know just like diabetes. It’s important that you know your risk factors for diabetes or heart disease or cancer or whatever it is. We want women to know what their risk level is for postpartum depression.


Sarah:              Okay. And so, I know that we’ve done an interview with a mom who had postpartum depression with each of her pregnancies, and I know that sometimes that can show up much later, so are you saying that kind of by taking this inventory, you can kind of tell if a mom might be more susceptible?


Nancy:             Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. If you look at the most significant risk factor, one of them is a history of postpartum depression, or a history of any depression with great anxiety, and maybe even depression anxiety during the pregnancy that was or was not treated. You know, those are some of your red flags, and if you know that your risk is such then you can actually start to formulate a plan of action.


Sarah:              Uh-huh, okay. So how many hospitals – I gave birth in a hospital in Austin, Texas, and I never have heard of a postpartum program at the hospital. Is that common for hospitals to have someone like you who, you know, gets to help women before they really know that they need it?


Nancy:             Fairly uncommon, you’re right, you’re right, but that’s changed. Things are moving forward. I started the program at Spectrum Health Hospital here at Grand Rapids in 2005.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             I was – We’re the first hospital in the State of Michigan that was doing screening program in the hospital.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             And then [0:04:49] [Indiscernible] with those moms that screens positive. And then I’ve also – Another part of my job is I facilitate a postpartum depression support group, and that I’ve actually facilitated since 1993.




So we’ve had that ongoing for many, many years, and then changes as the program developed and [0:05:13] [Indiscernible] it. We created different ways to help moms.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             So it seemed like a natural progression as, you know, in 2005 just to open that up to all the moms in the hospital before they go home.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             Then in other hospitals, since that point in time in Michigan, we now have probably about a dozen half that are screening using our program as model program to emulate, and then throughout the United States, I’ve created a tool kit, and this toolkit is used by so far about 35 hospitals all over the United States, and so I send out two toolkits earlier today. So things are changing. People are looking at – They’re looking at programs, and if the deal is invented, they’re just teaming on and looking at our program and developing their own, you know, programs at their local hospitals.


Sarah:              So you mentioned in your pre-interview questionnaire that you also do workshops with doctors in hospital – well, I guess with doctors about prenatal mood disorders, which is postpartum depression.


Nancy: Uh-huh.


Sarah:              That might be surprising to a lot of moms. Do doctors not really – Are they not very well educated about postpartum depression in their patients?


Nancy:             One thing is it’s evolving. You know, maybe they went to medical school 30 years ago. Thirty years ago, when I first started in this area, I found one book on postpartum depression.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             So obviously, in medical school training, there wasn’t a lot of information out there, but that’s changing. This spring, I did a search for books that really looked at postpartum depression, and I found out 143 books.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             So that’s just a huge knowledge explosion, and then with more research that we’re doing year after year, the doctors are becoming better trained. However, if you’re not totally working in this field, sometimes you may not be aware of maybe the latest and the greatest as far as, you know, medications used in pregnancy and lactation for example, and/or screening tools that are available for moms. So it’s a work in progress.


Sarah:              Yeah. So the next question I want to ask, I remember after I gave birth, I went to my OB and I said, “My son looks like he’s kind of – You know, he has this problem,” and my doctor said, “Your baby isn’t my concern anymore. You know, I’m only concerned about you. You know, I helped you get the baby out, and now, you’re my only concern.” And I was really shocked by that because I was like wow, I didn’t really think about it, you know. Oh, that’s what a pediatrician is for.


                        But it seems like a lot of women kind of get lost in a sea of doctors after they give birth. They’re not really sure who – You know, is it their OB who’s suppose to treat them as they have something going on with their breast or is it a family practice doctor, or I’m not feeling quite right. Do you see a lot of women who kind of get lost in the sea of doctors and maybe they just get lost in the system?


Nancy: Exactly. It’s confusing to know which doctors to go to for what.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy:             And because there are now mood disorders to some extent between like [0:08:50] [Indiscernible] mental health and obstetrical, you know, we’re looking at two different fields. There’s very, very few doctors here in the United States that specialize in this area. So you may go to that obstetrician, bring up the mental health issue, and some obstetricians are becoming more and more comfortable treating, and screening, and acknowledging and diagnosing. However, there are still some obstetrical doctors that will say, “Whoa, this is out of my league.”


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             You know, I need you to go either back to your primary care physician, your family doctor, or I need you to go ahead and get an evaluation from a psychiatrist.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy: And it usually depends on the level of acuity.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             And again, in the level of comfort that the obstetrician feels. And now, we’re looking at the flip side of it is maybe you have a psychiatrist you’re working with, and all of a sudden, you come for an appointment and you say, “I’m pregnant,” and the psychiatrist says, “Whoa, this is out of my field.


Sarah:  Yeah, yeah.


Nancy: You need to go to your obstetrician.”


Sarah:  Right.


Nancy: So it is confusing. It really is.




And some family doctors do obstetrical care, some family doctors do not.


Sarah:  Right.


Nancy:             And so they’re sending you either to your OB or your psychiatrist for care. So it’s very confusing, and one mom asked me point blank, “What do you think? Who should I go to?” I usually will tell them, “Well, who do you feel most comfortable talking to about this topic?”


Sarah:  Right.


Nancy:             You know, if it’s your OB, go to your OB and get the recommendation. You know, if it’s your psychiatrist, someone you’ve been in contact with then stick with that person.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy: So it is confusing, you’re right.


Sarah:              Yeah. Well, the whole point of kind of talking about that is just the importance of preparing beforehand because it is so overwhelming to become a new mom, and there is breastfeeding, and diaper changing, and you are not getting as much sleep. You’re not going to be as on-the-ball as you are before the baby comes, you know. I mean I know in the last few weeks of most pregnancy with my friends, everyone has every drawer cleaned out, everything organized, and they’re twiddling their thumbs waiting for baby to come.


Nancy: Right.


Sarah:              And that’s a luxury that we don’t really have after that baby comes. So there is an importance, I think, to plan ahead, and that’s what I want to delve more into with you. How do you prepare – We all think it will never happen to me.


Nancy: Right.


Sarah:              I talked to one woman who had postpartum depression really severely. She had no idea of her family’s medical history, and the fact that it did run in her family, she had no idea. So can you give our moms some concrete set of things that they really need to do to prepare just in case?


Nancy:             Number one, education, okay. I’m a certified childbirth educator. I’ve taught childbirth classes for many, many years. I think the more prepared you are with the whole birth experience whether it’s pregnancy, labor, or postpartum, you know, the whole postpartum year, what to expect, they think education is really key, not only in preparing for this, but you know, looking at cesarean birth, whatever is the state, preparing of a mom for both the possibility of vaginal birth and/or perhaps even an unexpected cesarean birth.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             So you need to be prepared for most anything to happen. If you know you may be a little higher risked for cesarean – and I’m using that as an example…


Sarah:  Right.


Nancy:             …or if you know you’re a little higher risked for postpartum depression, don’t put the blinders on, okay. Open wide and really look at what those risk factors are, your history, your family history. Indeed, prepare. So have a good plan of action just in case. So it’s always nice to have a safety net, okay.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             So if you know that you’re at risk then make sure that you talk to somebody about that, number one, your provider, okay. Talk to your OB. Talk to your primary care, whoever you’re most comfortable talking to, and get the recommendation from your physician. Is there anything that you may need to be doing ahead of time with your physician’s knowledge to prepare? Perhaps, you went through postpartum depression before treated with medication, counseling, support.


                        Maybe you’re pregnant again for another baby. Don’t put the blinders on something that it can’t happen again. It can. In fact, you’re at high risk for it second time around. Talk to your doctor. Many doctors are putting moms on prophylactic antidepressants during their pregnancy or even the last months of the pregnancy so that it’s in their system working well by the time they have their baby.


                        Certainly, if you’re not a person in medication route, always counseling in therapy is always, you know, something to look at. So if you’ve worked through someone before an attack, a counselor or therapist, get back in touch with them and have several appointments during your pregnancy just to make sure that things are kind of tuned-up and ready to go, and you have the resources right there at the elbow to you already. So a lot of therapist will say it’s good to come in for what they call a tune-up just like that in a car. You know, you want to go in, take your car in once a year or so for tune up, same thing with the counseling in therapy.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy: So having that onboard. And then there’s always the family aspect.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             Making sure your partner, baby’s daddy is knowledgeable about perhaps your risk factor, and also making sure that he’s aware of what to look forward to because quite often, moms don’t see it like dads do.




Sarah:  Right.


Nancy:             They all know this. Maybe for moms know this that something is not quite right, and is well aware of what to look for, then we’ve got two people, you know, very astute. And then maybe if you’re comfortable talking to the people around you: your friends, your neighbors, and certainly your family and letting them know that you’re at higher risk, you want them available to you in case you need them.


                        They are not getting a lot of sleep and that’s typical with a new baby, and you know that sleep is now – Lack of sleep is affecting how you’re feeling. Then you’ve got [0:15:44] [Indiscernible] shout out to those around you, your support system so that they can come in and afford you some extra sleep, so that they can come in maybe in the afternoon, and so that you can get that once-a-day or twice-a-day nap away from the responsibilities of taking care of the baby. Maybe you’ve got a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old. You’ve got a houseful of kids. You really need sleep, and then you have to make that a priority if you know that maybe the trigger is lack of sleep.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             Maybe it’s from not eating well because of your lack of appetite. You don’t have time to prepare meals, that sort of thing. Maybe calling the family and saying, “Hey, I don’t have anything prepared for supper tonight. Can you help me now?” Or even when she’s pregnant, making up meals easy to put in the freezer, easier to take out, you know, and put in the oven, have a readymade meal. So enlisting the help of not only your partner but also the people around you.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy: So they’re on-call so to speak.


Sarah:              Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I think what you’re saying is so right on because women, we think we have to do it all, and we really feel like it’s all on us, and we have to do it, we have to be super woman.


Nancy: Right.


Sarah:              And I think women, especially first-time moms, need to know that you need to take people up when they offer things, and sometimes, you actually have to ask for it. And can you speak to us a little bit about that because I think it’s so prevalent in our society because we are kind of all, you know, just super heroes plugging away. How often – Is that what women – Do women tell you that it is hard to ask for help?


Nancy: Uh-huh. They tell me that all the time.


Sarah:  Yes.


Nancy:             You don’t have any – Especially if it’s your first baby, you have no idea how taxing having a newborn is 24/7. You’re on-call every minute of the day, and it’s exhausting.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy:             And so I think the most important thing is you have to also in the midst of everything take care of yourself and set your own priorities too, and if you know that some of what your needs, things that you need are lacking, you need to feel comfortable reaching out. Make grabbing the phone or e-mailing, or calling someone and saying, “Hey listen, you know, I need somebody to stop by and pick me up a gallon of milk. I need you to bake. Can you come over and watch the kids for 10 minutes while I run down the street to the bank?”


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             These are the things I need. You can’t raise a family by yourself. You got to have people around you not only your partner, but also loved ones or friends around you to help you out. So don’t feel any less to yourself because you’re asking for help. It takes a village to raise a child. You can’t do it alone.


                        Now here’s the other thing. If someone offers to help, I always tell moms always, always say yes.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy: Never, never say no.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy:             You got to let people help you, and they won’t offer unless they genuinely, you know, wanted to.


Sarah:  Right.


Nancy:             So say grandma says, “You know, I’ve got supper ready, and I’m going to bring it over. How about on Tuesday night?” And you’ve got a neighbor bringing super on Tuesday night. You can respond and say, “Oh, I’d love to have a supper brought how about Wednesday or Thursday because I’ve already got one coming on Tuesday.”


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             So, you know, you always – Never say no, but if that’s not a convenient night, say these are the alternative nights. Some moms will even kind of set up while they’re pregnant kind of a schedule of supper coming in where there’s church or their neighborhood, people around them are supplying some food, especially for a large family. After I had my fourth child, I didn’t cook for an entire month.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             I had people bring in foods for me right in the lap because I made those calls ahead of time, and I said, you know – And I’m good about taking meals off to people around me when they have children and bring that [0:20:03] [Indiscernible] too.




Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy:             So I think it’s a give and take, but don’t feel any less to yourself for asking or accepting help. You just need to do it. And I think with the first-time moms, you’re less apt to do that because you haven’t learned, but boy, when I tracked my [0:20:18] [Indiscernible] moms in the hospital having babies number two, three, and four, they say, “Oh yeah, I wasn’t so good at that the first time, but I learned.


Sarah:  Yes.


Nancy: It’s a hard lesson, but I’m all about asking for help.


Sarah:              Yes. I think that is huge. Well, kind of along with that, let’s talk for a second about misconceptions or myths about treatment. So there may be some moms watching who say, you know, I don’t necessarily know if I have postpartum depression or depression in my family history, but you know, I’m willing to kind of prepare for it, but I do have some concerns. I mean I think once the word, you know, the word psychiatrist or therapist is brought up, it can get kind of scary for people who maybe have never been exposed to that kind of stuff before. What are some misconceptions that people often have that maybe scare people away from getting help that they might need?


Nancy:             One of the things that I see most often is women do not realize that there are safe medications that can be taken during pregnancy and during breastfeeding.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             So if they feel like their doctor or they need to look at medication as a treatment option, there are safe treatments. So you need to talk to your doctor. You can’t just assume it’s out of the question, especially our moms who are breastfeeding. I’m so sad when I hear a mom that says to me I have to go on [0:21:55] [Indiscernible] for instance. I had to go on my medication, and I was breastfeeding, and I had to wean myself from breastfeeding and stop breastfeeding for the medication. I felt comfortable taking medication. And it’s so sad to me because it didn’t need to happen, and I know there’s a strong bond with successful breastfeeding, and the bond between mom and baby is so important that if that’s discontinued during a successful breastfeeding experience, you know, it adds one more dimension to what we call in our support group the Mommy Guilt. You know, I don’t have had to do this because I had to do that, and I should have known better. I should, I should, I should.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             And so it’s just not necessary, you know, to assume. Please always ask first, you know, before you assume that something you can or can’t take medication.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             Now as far as seeing a psychiatrist, I know there’s fear [0:22:58] [Indiscernible] when you’ve never been on the mental health – you never had to seek help for depression, anxiety, postpartum depression. There are many obstetricians and primary care physicians that are comfortable screening so, you know, there’s an option there, but certainly, if it’s a situation that’s more complex then usually, there’s a recommendation to see a psychiatrist.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             Psychiatrist nowadays just do usually medication check. They don’t do a lot of therapy, psychotherapy eval, and so to see a psychiatrist that might be a 15-minute visit. It might be a half-hour visit. It’s usually not very lengthy and usually mom is supposed to come only for a medication check.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy: It will be once a month or once every 3 months…


Sarah:  And you mentioned…


Nancy: …and so there’s also…


Sarah:  Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.


Nancy:             There’s also therapist and counselors. Now that’s really where you get the bulk of your work done is with a counselor that knows how to treat moms, new moms, [0:24:07] [Indiscernible] pregnant moms that have depression or anxiety.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy:             And so finding the right counselors [0:24:14] [Indiscernible] are like key. Here in Grand Rapids, we have a whole team of them that I personally trained.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             We have 33 counselors and therapist so that when moms, you know, [0:24:26] [Indiscernible] with trained counselors easy for us. I have a whole list. We give moms the list. We go over the list together. We’ll circle the names that carry her insurance and then she’ll simply call in with an appointment.


                        Now these trained therapists come to me twice a year for training, different topics always regarding prenatal mood disorder that we locate different topics around whether it’s medication. Coming up next month, we have a panel discussion of that with moms, you know.




Sarah:  Oh.


Nancy:             [0:25:01] [Indiscernible] discussion, so we’re really looking at, you know, the perspective from a dad’s point of view.


Sarah:  Uh-huh.


Nancy: So we’re always training.


Sarah:  Yeah.


Nancy:             And this is so the whole team are well – you know, they’re well informed.


Sarah:              Well we are so lucky to have you in Grand Rapids. I wish every mom watching had a Nancy Robert at her hospital who could help her navigate the jungle of potential, you know, postpartum issues. I want to get back real quick. We’re kind of running out of time, but I just want to touch briefly on the support group aspect because I think another aspect I think that’s really difficult for first-time moms is being so isolated, and really being lonely, and not having anyone else to talk to during the day. That can be a shocker when you’ve been, you know, in the work force.


Nancy: Exactly.


Sarah:              So how important is that just for even if a mom maybe not wanting to pursue medication or therapy, there’s also support groups, right, and where can women find those?


Nancy:             Okay, there are several here in Michigan. In there Detroit area, there are 7 different support groups in different locations.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             There are several kind of [0:26:17] [Indiscernible] throughout Michigan. Here in Grand Rapids, we have one. That is the one that I facilitate at Spectrum Health.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             It’s free. We meet every single Tuesday evening at 7:30. It’s been the same building where we do a lab at childbirth classes at Spectrum Health Healthier Community, and I always have a nurse and a therapist…


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             …there with our moms so that if it’s a nursing, medication-related question or therapy-related question, we’ve got the professional right there ready to just answer some direction.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy: Our group has exploded over the years as far as numbers.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             I remember way back in 1993 when we started, we had mainly 1, 2 moms, but last week, we had 18 moms.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             So our group has really grown. Our moms sometimes come alone, sometimes they bring dad or a support friend with them. Sometimes they leave the baby homes. Sometimes they bring the baby with them. It makes absolutely no difference to me, whatever’s most comfortable. And tonight for instance, we’re starting a dad support group.


Sarah:  Cool.


Nancy:             So we’ve encouraged the moms [0:27:29] [Indiscernible] to bring dad or a support person to make sure they bring one tonight, and so I’ve also got a therapist and another dad that’s going to be meeting with the dads separately.


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             So we’ll start together with moms and dads together. We’ll do introductions, and then we’re having tea set, and the dads and the moms are going to separate out into two separate rooms where they kind of talk about their own individual concern, and then at the end of the night – and our groups last about 1-1/2 hour to 2 hours – we’ll come back together and kind of talk a little bit about some of the sharing that took place, and again, it’s really important to talk to, ongoing communication once the couple does return home.


Sarah:              Yeah, that sounds amazing. I think that’s another topic entirely, but the dad, you know, involvement as well. So if people are out of state, how should they find support groups if they’re living somewhere else?


Nancy:             Right, the easiest way is to go to Postpartum Support International website, and that website is


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             And it’s [0:28:43] [Indiscernible] website. They’re kind of a mother organization for postpartum depression. If you go to their website and you click on Get Resources or Get Help, up will come a map of the United States. Leave it just like this.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             Look on your state, and then all of the support groups in that state will come up.


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             So you look for one that’s closest to your home and/or phone number that – We have coordinators all over Michigan. I happen to be one of four Michigan coordinators…


Sarah:  Wow.


Nancy:             …for Postpartum Support International. So yesterday, for instance, they had a woman call some center part of the state who then they contacted the four of us, and the one of us that was closest to this person was able to give her a phone call and support over the phone…


Sarah:  Oh, neat.


Nancy: …and let her know what the resources were in her area.


Sarah:  Okay, so there can be Nancy Roberts near you. You just…


Nancy: Oh, they’re all over the place.


Sarah:              You’re just a phone call away. Well, thank you so much Nancy. There’s so much to say, but I want to stop here and just thank you for sharing your wisdom and your expertise in this area. I know it makes such a huge difference in the lives of many families all over the place, and I just want to encourage the moms who are watching, you know, I’m going to put this stuff underneath the Interview, but I’ll put the link to Postpartum International, some toolbox ideas, some things to prepare for. Know your family history. Ask around about postpartum depression in your family.


                        Definitely talk to your doctor about if you have postpartum depression, what they do. Do they treat it or do they refer you to somebody. Check around for support groups and definitely talk to your significant other or your best friends and say, “Hey, if I don’t see myself after birth, just check in with me and just see if I’m okay because I might need help.”


Nancy: Right.


Sarah:              And it’s okay to need help, and never say no to offers of help. Right, Nancy?


Nancy: Exactly.


Sarah:  That’s right.


Nancy:             And we’ve got a lot of help that we can provide at Spectrum Health. If you go to our own website at, you’ll see on that website lots and lots of links to different like the referral team that we talked about…


Sarah:  Okay.


Nancy:             …all of their names, and more affirmation on the group, and some of our phone lines, someone to call for help. So there is help available.


Sarah:  Yes, and I will include that link below this interview.

Nancy: Okay, great.


Sarah:              So thank you guys for watching. Thanks Nancy, and we will see you next time.

[0:31:20]          End of Audio


  • Patty Johnson

    I wish I would have heard this before my first. I didn’t take the time to learn about birth, I assumed my doctor would do everything. I would do that soooo differently if I could do it again. I felt blind & like I was just reacting to what each person & every beep of a machine. Honestly, I was lazy. I paid the price during & after the birth. I had a moderate case of Postpartum Depression. I know I would have had a completely different experience has I prepared. I look at it like riding a motorcycle…it’s a lot more scary riding on the back when you have no control & can’t see where you’re even going. Sure there are plenty of things you can’t control in birth, but there are plenty you can (so I’ve learned). And you just feel better having some idea of what’s going on. My advice to ladies…just like Nancy said in here…GET EDUCATED! Learn from my mistakes, please.

    • yourbabybooty

      mmmm Patty, true true. We can all learn from you. Thank you for sharing! Any tips on what you would have done specifically?

  • Robin Gatz

    Glad I watched this, I almost didn’t. I’ve heard of Postpartum Depression before, but assumed only moms who were depressed in the past got it. I’ve never been depressed but it does have some roots in my family history. I like that Nancy said to have my husband watch out for me. I never would have done that, I just thought I’d know if I was depressed. I wonder how many moms “know” their depressed & how many can’t see it? This was super helpful, I’m a pretty proactive person, but never thought to think about this. Thanks!

    • yourbabybooty

      When I was pregnant with my first I hadn’t heard much about it either! I also loved Nancy’s tip about having your spouse (and friends) be on the lookout for you- so much changes in your body after birth, it’s hard to know if you’re “yourself” or not! Thanks Robin!

  • Emily

    I had the opportunity to listen to your interview with Dr. Roberts the other night. Really good stuff in
    there. I agree largely with everything she said and would add in a few other factors to consider. Some of my advice
    requires a little pre-planning for the baby’s arrival. Things you probably tuck in the back of your mind that you should do before the baby comes and you’re right in the thick of it and kicking yourself.

    Set up a support group. Find women who’ve breastfed successfully more than one child. They’re hugely encouraging but totally straight up about their experiences so they can give you great insight when your little booby monster is tearing you to shreds. Look around for mom groups too. There’s tons of them.. If you’re brand new at this, chances are, lots of them are old hat at it. They’ll know on sigh when you walk in caked in baby barf, hair scattered to the four winds, and bleary eyed that you need a hot meal, a bath, and someone to mop your floors.

    ACCEPT HELP! Dr. Roberts was dead on with this one. People love an excuse to be around a newborn and bringing meals and cleaning your house or doing your laundry or grocery shopping. These are bribes to smell newborn baby heads and admire baby yawns and baby farts and burps and poops and brand new tiny wardrobes. Let them do it! You’ll repay the favor when it’s their turn. I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes you can be a blessing just by accepting.

    Did you know there are post partum doula’s you could hire for after care for you and baby? I was stunned when I found that out with my third child. That can be a great resource when you know people are busy or the hours for help aren’t matching up with what you really need. I’m betting they’d be a huge life saver and maybe a little easier to deal with if you really are squeamish about putting out your friends or if you’re new to an area and haven’t made friends yet and family is far away. Research that one and go meet a few.

    In this day and age of aversions to vaccinations and organic foods and chemical avoidance I’ve noticed we’re pretty quick with pounding down the meds doctors hand out because they’re too busy to listen to you. Meds shouldn’t be the first course of action. Find a good therapist or counselor and they’ll know when the meds are truly necessary. I’m not saying med’s are the devil but sometimes a counselor or therapist can help you get to the heart of the matter without them. You’ll need to shop around for one that clicks with you just like you did with your ob or your midwife or your doula. In fact, ask them for a recommendation before hand. Ask them what they do for women with signs of ppd in their practice. Know your options before you’re in a panic. I agree with Dr. Roberts that finding care is pretty confusing so get the info in early.

    While family genetics and past history play a huge part, current circumstances are a big factor too. I was in a high stress situation with my family, my in laws lived with us, and our second son Luke was a very collicky baby. I was so anxious about his crying all the time, and about looking like a failure to my in laws, and feeling like I’d ruined my older sons’s life by taking time away from him to spend on the baby. I dreamed of running away to a hotel for a night but could never figure out whether to bring or leave the kids. These are red flags people. Totally irrational thought processes and you know it as they’re coming out of your head. I was petrified of something terrible happening to the baby too. Images of all the horror stories you’ve seen on the news about accidental baby deaths plague your mind. When you’re obsessing over every little thing and you are anxious all the time and you don’t allow yourself to sleep or eat or bathe and the screaming makes you come out of your skin, it’s time to look for help. Even if you just begin with telling someone you trust, it’s a start. PPD doesn’t slap you in the face and tell you it’s there. Honestly I didn’t realize that’s what it was until I was on the other side and looking back. Both times!

    Another thing that saved my bacon was the great staff at my ob’s office. I knew those girls well.. All of them. My practice has one doc, 2 nurse practitioners and a few nurses. It’s pretty small. I wasn’t just a number walking in the door to be processed and shoved out. They could tell when I was tired and worn out when I walked in the door. They checked up on me. And this may sound a little crazy but suck up to the staff! You can’t spoil the people taking care of you enough. We even brought doughnuts and treats for the nurses on the L&D floor. I wanted to be the patient that was so sweet and thoughtful that if something dire happened they were running to my aid and not passing me off to the low man on the totem pole. The girls at my ob’s office have all become dear friends as a result. And that’s probably not a support group you thought that you could have.

    Having a baby is beautiful and terrifying. You don’t know until your right in up to your elbows how things are going to go or what kind of baby you’ll have. PPD is pretty normal and does not mean your crazy. It means you’re stressed out and your hormones are playing chicken with your head. Recognize when you’re overwhelmed. Recognize when you are so anxious you can’t be still. Recognize when you are looking for an escape. Tell someone you trust that you’re hanging by a thread. Be honest with your care providers. More people than you realize are there to help and dying to. Let them!! You can do this and it doesn’t have to be alone or on your own.

    • yourbabybooty

      Thanks Emily for sharing your experience with us! For the mamas out there who are new to mamahood, or haven’t felt PPD before, what do you think is the difference between “baby blues” and “postpartum depression.” What’s “normal?”