Postpartum Care: A Personal Journey and Revolution

Written by: Stephanie Sublett, MD, FACOG, IBCLC
Posted: September 21, 2023

Being a mother of three, an OB/GYN, IBCLC and perinatal Mental Health Specialist, I understand the overwhelming journey that motherhood can be, especially during the postpartum period both personally and professionally.

 
After childbirth, many women grapple with mental, physical, and emotional challenges that leave them feeling vulnerable. Unfortunately, convenient and accessible postpartum care tailored to individual needs is not always readily available. 
 
The standard 6-week checkup often feels insufficient, leaving new moms feeling unsupported in their journey.
 

The Struggle is Real

When I became a mother, I had just moved to rural Wisconsin, far from family or friends. I was isolated and alone, and it was winter for the next six months. Despite my professional background in delivering babies, bringing my own baby home was a whole new experience.
 
I struggled with breastfeeding, as many new moms do, feeling unsure about what was normal. I felt pressured to pretend everything was fine when it wasn't. I was exhausted, and beyond my husband's support, I didn't have a lot of help. I believe I was suffering from depression and anxiety, though I couldn't admit it at the time.
 

The Breaking Point

When my second baby arrived a couple of years later, I reached my breaking point. I wasn't experiencing any significant complications, but the emotional demands and pressures of motherhood coupled with returning to work were too much. I did it for several months until I just couldn’t keep going. I was so tired and unhappy and felt like a failure at everything. I eventually quit my job, went on disability, and started seeing a therapist. It was then I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety.
 
Life doesn't pause when you give birth; it adds another layer of complexity. 

Juggling a nine-month-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old amidst a pandemic was stressful. Therapy & counseling helped me normalize a lot of what I was feeling and ignited my passion for supporting other moms. I pursued additional training to enhance my medical degree and became an international board-certified lactation consultant and a perinatal mental health specialist.
 
 

The Need for Better Support

The lack of perinatal mental health support is alarming. The leading cause of maternal mortality in the first 12 months after birth is suicide and drug overdose. This is a crisis. We need more providers trained in breastfeeding medicine and perinatal mental health supporting and treating postpartum moms. Too many moms have unmet needs and nowhere to turn.
 
The expectation that moms should magically bounce back and have it all together after childbirth is unrealistic and harmful. This is why I founded Ready to Slay Mama & Lilivy Postpartum - to revolutionize postpartum care by providing education, resources and the medical care moms deserve.
 
In my journey, I've learned that the mentality that moms should just bounce back and have it all together after childbirth is total bullsh*t. Motherhood is a journey, and every mom deserves support and understanding. My mission is to make sure no mother walks this journey alone.


Learn more about Stephanie at her website: www.lilivypostpartum.com
Or on IG: @readytoslaymama @lilivypostpartum
 
 


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Category: Tips From BeHerVillage Providers & Partners , Postpartum Planning
Tags: obgyn , new mom , postpartum , postpartum anxiety , new parents , newborn

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