Going through a postpartum mental health event can be a transformative experience. Many survivors feel inspired to change the course of their lives and careers and dedicate themselves to supporting and serving others. Such is the case of today’s guest, and her story is a fitting way to round out Maternal Mental Health Month. Join us!
Linet Madeja-Bravo is a working mom, wife, and the proud daughter of Filipino immigrants. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is Mommy to two-year-old Isabella. Professionally, Linet has worked for local government for almost a decade and is most passionate about serving those in her community that are most marginalized and furthest from opportunity. Overwhelmed by the unexpected realities of being a new mom, breastfeeding issues, and other life events, Linet decided to seek professional help at eight weeks postpartum. Linet’s experience with postpartum depression and anxiety ignited a passion for helping other new moms and families. She is also passionate about decreasing cultural stigma and reducing barriers to mental health support and resources for those who need it most. Linet continues to work through her postpartum depression and anxiety with a specialized therapist and shares her story as a way of healing. She also hopes to one day become professionally trained to become a therapist or support person who specializes in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Linet’s story of always wanting to be a mom, getting pregnant soon after their marriage, and an easy pregnancy How she experienced anxiety about the birth process, but then felt overwhelming joy at her daughter’s birth As the difficulties began, Linet found that breastfeeding was the biggest contributor to her postpartum anxiety Why it was hard for Linet to know who to listen to At three days old, her daughter had to go to the hospital due to losing weight; she had to take formula and be treated for jaundice in the NICU How the nurses didn’t explain the problems and treatments to Linet, and she found out later her baby had been weighed incorrectly What Linet learned in the NICU stay: how to pump and how to wash bottles properly How Linet realized that breastfeeding and sleep were her biggest issues, along with an unexpected surgery for her daughter’s tongue-tie issue How LInet realized that everything she tried to control didn’t work out and made things worse How Linet took her daughter to different feeding specialists and therapists, later realizing she was being obsessive How Linet had random crying fits and felt guilty for her postpartum anxiety and suicidal thoughts The breaking point at eight weeks postpartum, when Linet went to the hospital with abdominal pain that turned out to be diverticulitis Why Linet saw a therapist to get help for the first time The unseen pressure in immigrant cultures about mental health How returning to Linet’s faith and her church community helped with her healing The hardest things in Linet’s journey Hopeful words from Linet: “You have everything you need to be a great parent. Your confidence in parenting will ebb and flow, and there will still be hard days. I’ve accepted that parenting is full of hard moments and new things. The most beautiful thing is that I’ve never felt such deep love, passion, and reward. Parents need to prioritize self-care and give themselves grace.”