Susan Marchioni, LMHC
I am a licensed mental health clinician, have professional training in maternal mental health, and personal experience of postpartum anxiety and depression (PPAD). My private practice supports the emotional health of ALL moms because Motherhood is full of challenges and constant adjustments. I counsel women through PPAD, pregnancy loss, anxiety, depression, stress, divorce, and the grief that can result from life’s natural and unexpected progression.
Beginning in pregnancy, a woman begins a profound personal journey; an identity shift that evokes questions around purpose, roles, values, relationships, and beliefs: “Who am I now“? Treatment focus becomes accepting, adapting, and redefining self and purpose while learning how to move forward with reflection, confidence, and grace. This adaptation process happens continually across the lifespan for moms.
I continue to develop both as a clinician and personally through attending relevant professional development seminars, workshops, and conferences.
My PPAD story:
I am the mother of three adult children.
In the early 1990’s, after the birth of my first two children, I suffered from PPAD. After my first daughter, it was mild. After my second daughter, it was severe. I was a textbook case; two traumatic births, colicky baby who cried constantly, no appetite, was sleep deprived and mentally exhausted. I cried often and kept close to home. I was extremely irritable, and was having scary, intrusive thoughts – I thought obsessively about running away and never coming back. Shortly after becoming pregnant with my second child, we had moved to a new area where I had no family and had no friends. I was isolated and lonely with no support system. My husband worked long hours. I did not feel like myself.
No one noticed. No health professional asked how I was doing, how I was feeling. Was I sleeping? Eating? Scared? Sad? Excessively worrying? I had never heard of postpartum depression and was never screened or assessed for it. I felt as if I was going crazy. And I was terrified to speak up because I feared being considered an unfit mother and feared the unthinkable – my two beautiful, sweet daughters might be taken away from me and I would be placed in a psych hospital. So I remained silent.
Eventually, I did learn about postpartum anxiety and depression; its symptoms, the long-term mental health problems and the potential for devastating results if left untreated. My discovery occurred as a result of the tragedy of a local family who lived in my community. The woman was someone I had quickly met in a playgroup I had recently joined. As the story of her and her family unfolded, reports of the possibility of postpartum depression emerged. I recognized some of the same symptoms in myself. And it had a name and it was real. And left untreated, it could have tragic and heartbreaking outcomes. I immediately reached out for help. The story of this local mom can be found here.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of PPAD, help is available. Reach out. You are not alone.
PPD is not a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth.
- Licensed mental health clinician in the state of Massachusetts
- Complicated Grief-informed clinician. Training completed at The Center for Complicated Grief, Columbia University, New York, NY
- MA in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
- Family and Individual outreach clinician at South Shore Mental Health, Quincy, MA
- Visiting Moms Program Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JF&CS), Waltham, MA
- Infant and Maternal Mental Health trainings at JF&CS with a focus on trauma and PTSD
- Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorder training with Postpartum Support International
- Parenting Journey facilitator training with The Family Center, Somerville, MA
- Member of the Advisory Council for the Milton Early Childhood Alliance, Milton, MA
Maternal Mental Health Matters Because Moms Matter