I am a maternal health advocate, speaker and writer with a focus on mental and physical trauma due to childbirth and pregnancy-quite a change from my former career as a celebrity makeup artist! Immediately following the birth of my oldest daughter in April 2010, I suffered a postpartum hemorrhage and almost died. I underwent a life-saving surgery and was later diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Thirteen months later, I had a miscarriage in a frozen yogurt shop in front of several people, which triggered the difficult emotions from the hemorrhage I suffered the year prior. Resources and support for mothers who had survived a near miss were scarce. I began sharing my story publicly in 2012, and have since connected with thousands of women across the world who have experienced similar birth and pregnancy complications; and the lingering psychological effects.
I volunteer for Postpartum Support International (PSI), and am a member of the PSI President's Advisory Council (PAC). One of my most rewarding roles is as a PSI coordinator of resources and support for the Boston Metro West area, where I am able to connect women and their families to local therapists and support groups. I also facilitate a free peer-to-peer mother’s support group, Emotional Wellbeing After Baby, at Milford Regional Hospital in Milford, MA. In 2017, I was honored to be appointed by Rep. James O'Day to a House chair seat on the Ellen Story Special Commission on Postpartum Depression.
I gave birth to my second daughter in March 2014. I'm happy to report that my birth experience the second time around was perfectly“normal.” My goal to help other women have their birth experiences validated. Mothers deserve to feel supported and know they are not alone in whatever their personal struggles may be.
Photo credit: Melanie Dunea