One of the great things about writing a blog is the creation of a community of people who are interested in the same thing. There is something unique about a virtual community that inspires engagement from all walks of life.
For this “inaugural” blog, Women’s Mental Health: Pregnancy, Postpartum and Beyond, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and tell you about my vision for this blog.
I am an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. That means that I spend my days doing research, teaching research, and sharing what we find in our research! What I most love about my work is that I get to do research in whatever area that I want – and I choose women’s mental health. Most days, it doesn’t actually even feel like work. It feels like I am living out my passion. I love working to better women’s emotional health, their lives, and the lives of their families.
As with many passions, threads of our “sweet spot” can often been seen throughout one’s life. In my case, my passion for women’s mental health was always there, but I didn’t always see it clearly.
Prior to my academic career, I worked as a neonatal nurse in an intensive care nursery for sick and preterm babies. I knew that stress, depression, and anxiety in pregnancy could have an effect on a baby’s health and development. Over time, I became more and more interested in how to prevent poor infant outcomes by helping pregnant women with their emotional health.
As we watch and study how our young families are growing, we are also seeing a great need to support women as they move beyond pregnancy and postpartum. While it can be difficult for women to get help for emotional challenges during pregnancy and postpartum, the reality is that this is even harder beyond that period.
Next to family history, being a woman is one of the major risk factors for depression. And, what we’re finding is that for the 30% of women who have depression when their infant is 18 months of age, their symptoms are still present when their child is an adolescent. Their whole lives are affected.
Our Research; Our Passion
Our team’s research focuses on understanding why 1 in 10 women experience high stress, depression, or anxiety in pregnancy, and how we can help women to have better emotional health during their pregnancy.
We also study what affects women’s mental health after pregnancy, knowing that for over 30% of women prenatal maternal depression and anxiety continues well into the early childhood years.
Women’s emotional health is critical. It is the foundation of healthy families. It is our goal and passion to ensure that all women receive effective, appropriate help – when and where they need it.
What This Blog Is About
As a researcher, I am big on science. And, I’m big on helping people to understand science and why it’s important in their lives.
I’m also a pragmatist at heart. As women, we don’t have a lot of time or energy to invest in things that simply don’t work.
My goal for this blog is to share research-based information and strategies that women can use (and that work!) to make their emotional health the best that it can be. I also intend to listen closely to what you want to hear about!
Hope and blessings,
PS. I’d love to hear your suggestions for topics on women’s emotional health.