I met with the most delightful individual today who shared with me her excitement about the MomSource’s mission to prevent postpartum adjustment problems, hereafter referred to as PPD, which includes depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive symptoms. Kathleen Montesi, APRN, CPNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner and is passionate about preventing PPD.
Kathleen has presented her experiences of PPD to conferences and to the Massachusetts legislature in support of measures to encourage screening for PPD in doctors’ offices. She was also the prime motivator in the pediatrician’s office where she works to initiate screening for PPD at infant checkups! Kathy presented to her colleagues the recent study presented in November’s Pediatrics journal, which highlighted the negative impact of maternal depression on infant development and the necessity of screening mothers for PPD during those infant checkups during the first year. Dr. John Lavalette of SmartStart Pediatrics was convinced that instituting screenings at each of the 1, 2, 4 and 6 month infant checkups would benefit babies as much as mothers, and implemented this cutting edge tool in the practice. Kudos!
I was greatly touched by Kathy’s anecdote of her sister Susan Hanly’s kind support of her during her recovery from PPD, and with her permission, would share it with you. Kathy reported that through the whole ordeal, Susan wrote in big, bold print “This is for now, not forever”. Susan sent her multiple cards and notes with this message and Kathy read this over and over-it became the lifeline she could cling to during her depression. When Kathy shared this with me, I got chills because it has been exactly the message women suffering from PPD in my practice have desperately thirsted for and have received. When suffering from PPD, there is often hopelessness of ever feeling better. The hope of “better” sometimes has to come from the outside. How wonderful that Kathy’s sister was able to give her this gift!