Gabby Bernstein on her journey through postpartum depression and prioritizing her mental health

In this episode, Gabby Bernstein, bestselling author, a motivational speaker, and life coach opens to Liz up about her postpartum depression, why she advocates for mental health medication when it is necessary, and why motherhood has been an ongoing spiritual journey. She also shares one of the methods that helped her during some of her darkest moments. Following Gabby's interview, we also hear from a listener about her own experience with postpartum depression.

Warning: This episode mentions suicidal and self-harm ideation, which we know can be upsetting or triggering for some listeners. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, please get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 911 or go to an emergency room. Please know that you are not alone.

1 in 7 mothers will experience postpartum depression. At we have more resources on the topic. You can visit There you'll find articles on the signs of postpartum depression, other helpful resources, and phone numbers to call for support. Please know you are not alone

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Liz Tenety: I'm Liz Tenety. Welcome to the motherly podcast and thanks to our sponsor Lollez. So everyone wants to help their families and kids when they're sick, especially right now, which is why lollies, organic throat soothing lollipops or something. All mama's can appreciate that Lolleez were created by a mama for kids to help ease and relieve a sore throat, and not only are they made from USDA certified organic ingredients and non-GMO as well as gluten, dairy, and nut-free, but they're also delicious.

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Liz Intro:

Postpartum depression is incredibly common. One in seven mothers will actually experience it, and beyond postpartum, there are so many other mental health challenges that we experience as mothers that are talked about even less. For example, while I've never been diagnosed with postpartum depression, I have experienced anxiety at different parts of my life and different phases of motherhood, and I was noticing myself experiencing a lot of fear, anxiety, even, frankly, bordering on panic. When I thought about the birth of my fourth child last year -- my third child, her birth, my daughter, her birth was really fast. It was two hours from start to finish, and that's called precipitous labor. And the idea of another birth happening so quickly was really scary and I felt myself [00:02:00] obsessing on it and panicking about it and what was going to happen. And because of this, I noticed this thing bubbling up in me. And I decided to start going to therapy. I went once a week and learned that what I was experiencing was something called perinatal anxiety -- anxiety during pregnancy. And at one point, I remember I was at a work event actually, and I was, you know, a few weeks ahead of my due date, and I was feeling this panic imagining my son's birth and I texted my therapist and I went into this little phone booth to have a phone call with her. The phone booth was so tiny and I was so pregnant, I'll never forget sitting in there. I was so anxious about deciding if I was going to have my son in a birth center or in a hospital.

And she really helped me make peace with the decision. And then I remember I made my decision, I chose a birth center in part because of how fast I thought the birth [00:03:00] would be, and then we spent the time after that building up my, my resilience, my support network, and really framing positive thoughts around that experience.

And she really helped me work through what just felt like an overwhelming experience giving birth, even though I had done it three times before. My son was born this past year. It was a one hour labor start to finish and when I look back on it now, I felt so ready for him to be born and I did so well postpartum -- much, much better than I was expecting.

I didn't experience much anxiety this time, and I think it was, at least in part because I got the help I needed when I felt this experience creeping in. Mental health is health. There should not be a stigma around needing mental health support.

Liz Intro to Gabby Bernstein:

Hey mama, [00:04:00] welcome to the Motherly podcast. Honest conversations about modern motherhood. I am Liz Tenety, the cofounder of motherly and a mom of four myself. And today we're talking to Gabby Bernstein, a number one New York times bestselling author of seven books, a motivational speaker, a life coach, and a self-professed spirit junkie.

Gabby welcomed her son, Oliver to the world about a year ago after trying for three years to conceive and just as Gabby's been extremely candid about our challenge getting pregnant, she's been just as open about her more recent struggle with postpartum depression. We were lucky enough to sit down with Gabby and talk about a lot of things.

We're also lucky enough to have some of our own listeners share with us their stories about overcoming postpartum depression. We'll get to those at the end of our conversation. For now, here's what Gabby had to say about new motherhood.

Liz Warning:

So before our interview with Gabby begins, I just wanted to let you know that [00:05:00] it mentions suicidal and self-harm ideation, which I know can be upsetting or triggering for some listeners, and if you're struggling, please know you are not alone.

If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or others, please get help by calling the national suicide prevention hotline at +1 800-273-8255. You can also call nine one one or go to an emergency room. Please know you are not alone.

Liz Tenety:Gabby Bernstein, welcome to the motherly podcast.

Gabby Bernstein: Thanks for having me.

Liz Tenety: I'm always curious. I want to know what you thought motherhood was going to be like before you became a mom.

Gabby Bernstein: You know, I actually didn't think about it. I had, this was probably one of the main things in my life where I literally took it one day at a time. [00:06:00] From the standpoint of, as soon as I knew I was pregnant, I was that person that was like, okay, now I'm pregnant and I'm going to be in the first trimester and to soak up the first trimester and I'm gonna be in the second trimester and I'm going to be in the third trimester.

And like super focused on my delivery and my labor. And like, not even thinking slightly about what happens when I got home. So, you know, I had an expectation of how I wanted to be as a mother, but not what it would be like.

Liz Tenety: What did you want to be as a mother?

Gabby Bernstein: I wanted to be first and foremost respectful of my child.

Respectful of his boundaries, respectful of his feelings first and foremost. Honor his feelings. That was, that was what I knew most was the most important, and I wanted to help him be resilient by teaching him how to honor his feelings.

Liz Tenety: Is that what motherhood has been like for you? Are you, are you able to live [00:07:00] up and into that idea that you had for yourself?

Gabby Bernstein: Yeah, I, you know, becoming a mother, rocked me to my core because I had postpartum depression, anxiety, and insomnia, so that presence and that level of respect for his feelings I was incapable of in the first four months after I had him. I got diagnosed at four months postpartum. So in those months leading up to my diagnosis -- actually, I was five months postpartum that I got diagnosed. In that lead up, you know, I was just trying to stay alive. I was suicidal, so I was just trying to keep myself alive. Now, as I've been on the medicated path and my life has been saved and I'm healed, healing, healing, every day, I take that presence and that commitment to his feelings so seriously, because I cared for him [00:08:00] so deeply, even in my darkest moment. But you know, I couldn't… and I honored his feelings. Absolutely. But I couldn't connect with him when I was in that state. So now my primary intention is to just be present with his feelings when he's upset. I don't deny them when he is, when he wants something, I will help him because you know that, that idea that I've been reading a lot about trauma proofing your kids, I've been reading a lot of Peter Levine's work, uh, and, and creating, teaching them resilience. And I think that the biggest, the biggest thing is just, you know, the idea like, Oh, let your kid cry. It's like, no, don't, don't...

Look, if your kid's having a tantrum and they need to get it out, yes. But always let your kid cry from the standpoint of like, let them release their feelings, but don't take away your attachment and your nurturing love in those moments, right? Someone can be having a tantrum and you can still say, I see you are having a hard time. I honor your experience right now.

And even with an infant or even [00:09:00] with a one year old, I honor your experience right now. I see you're having a hard time. It doesn't mean we coddle them. It just means that we honor them. I think that so many people are living in such traumatized ways because their feelings were never honored.

Liz Tenety: I want to talk more about that and where, where you came from. So, you know, you have such a huge fan base, but for those people who are not as familiar with your story, can you tell us how you went from, you know, way back in your own rock-bottom to really the top of the New York times bestseller list and a really devoted fan base to your teaching.

So tell us a little bit about your story and how you got to where you are.

Gabby Bernstein: I started out in PR when I was 21 and I worked as a publicist. I ran, I ran my own nightlife PR company, which led me to a lot of addictive patterns. Ultimately, the company didn't lead me to that, but [00:10:00], there were root cause conditions that I had not healed or was even aware of that led me to become an addict. And at 25 I got sober with the commitment to also get very spiritual, and it was my sobriety and my spiritual faith that led me to become a spiritual teacher. At 25 years old, began teaching to a new generation of seekers, writing books for a new generation of seekers, giving talks, giving lectures, giving workshops.

I was at the very forefront of what is now a very trendy wellness movement, which is awesome -- being able to be at the beginning of that Zeitgeist. So that has been, that's where I began and for the last 15 years I've been on a real beautiful journey of deepening my spiritual faith and practices, but most importantly, really opening up and healing every single day, healing myself to become more free so that I can stand in that freedom and teach other people how to do the same.

Liz Tenety: And when in this, [00:11:00] this amazing career and personal growth trajectory, did you start to think about having a baby?

Gabby Bernstein: It was in 2015 that I decided to start to try to conceive. I did not conceive until 2018.

I talked very publicly about my journey to conception in the spiritual journey to conception, because for me, it was a stress disorder that was blocking my body from conceiving, but it was a spiritual condition too that was blocking me. So I shared a talk actually -- very publicly about my steps to surrendering.

That desire of having a baby and the commitment to surrendering led me to recognize that I had to learn how to mother myself before I could become a mother. And in that recognition, in that personal growth, I got pregnant at the perfect [00:12:00] time. I got pregnant at the perfect time, which was three years later than I thought it should be.

Liz Tenety: When you were, when you were trying to conceive and you weren't getting pregnant, did you, did you think maybe it will never happen for me, or did you think, did you believe that eventually it would?

Gabby Bernstein: My higher self believed it was going to happen, but there were ego moments where I would feel like, is this going to happen?

Am I meant to be a mother? Maybe I should give up. There weren't any signs of any physical issue. Right? So that was what was so strange. And I think that's such an important message for women, whether they're doing fertility treatment or not, is to just honor that that stress is such a major block to conception.

So even if you have a lot of eggs and you are seemingly well, stress is going to block your ovulation, it's going to block your receptivity ultimately.

Liz Tenety: This idea that you just brought up the learning how to mother yourself as a mother. I think I know I'm still [00:13:00] working on that, right. To give myself the same care that I'd give to my children so freely.

What did that look like for you? Learning how to mother yourself and what role did that play in your own healing?

Gabby Bernstein: I actually had to practice mothering myself before I could even conceive. It was how I was able to conceive my son -- really taking care of my physical well-being, having a zero stress tolerance, healing my gut. It was about healing my physical presence, but most importantly, having the willingness and the bravery to go to the places that scared me and look at some of the traumatic events in my past that had been so debilitating and fear-based that I was ultimately very afraid of recreating experiences in my own life and my own personal life.

Because of my fear of what might happen to me physically when I'm pregnant and just really unearthing the emotional and spiritual and traumatic blocks and [00:14:00] having a team of people that I was willing to rely on to help me heal. Then, conceiving was another part of that healing journey. And then delivery was another part of that healing journey.

And then postpartum was probably one of the biggest parts of that healing journey. But now I really do testify to the idea that, you know, put your oxygen mask on first if, if we are not well. We can't really show up to our highest capacity. And for all the people listening are like, well, that's great for her, but you know what, you know, I have four kids and have to work two jobs and how can I put myself first? There are a lot more obstacles, of course, and I want to honor that scenario. What I would say to that person is just do your best to keep your mental thoughts clean. Because your thoughts are going to infuse you with energy.

Your positive thoughts will bring more joy into each situation and energize you and expand time. So do your part [00:15:00. In my book Super Attractor, my newest book, I give a practice that I think all moms could really rely on. It's called the choose again method and in some ways it's a little bit like cognitive behavioral therapy where you talk back to yourself, but it's the first step is to notice the fearful thought that you have on repeat. I don't have enough time. I'm not good enough. I'm a terrible mom. I'm broke.

You just witnessed that thought. Notice that thought regularly. And then notice how it makes you feel. Just become conscious of how it's making you feel. That's the first step. The second step is the most important step, which is: forgive yourself for having the thought.

So what happens when we have a thought on repeat? It becomes a belief system and a belief system that ultimately becomes something that we think we are. We believe that we are not worthy. We believe we are in lack. We believe we aren't a good parent. Whatever it is. So in order to undo that belief system, we have to give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves for the thoughts that we've been having. When we forgive [00:16:00] ourselves for having that thought, what happens ultimately is that we unwind and disconnect from the belief that we are that thought.

So this is major, you know, even if you don't know yet how to forgive yourself, just say the words I forgive myself for having the thought. And you can also forgive the thought altogether. Sorry. I forgive that thought. There it is again. And then the third step is, is the fun part. This is choose again -- which is, reach for the next best feeling.

Reach for the thought that makes you feel good. Reach for the thought that you believe in. Even when I was suffering with postpartum, I would wake up every day and I would choose to the best of my ability to reach for the next best feeling and thought. And the next best feeling thought on those days might even be something like, I got one extra hour of sleep last night. My insomnia, by the way, was not because of my child. My child slept through the night at four months. It was panic attacks and really, you know, rough stuff that we should always be [00:17:00] talking about because we had to take care of the mamas and so, you know, the hour of sleep. Or I would say to myself, I can, I can sit down and drink this tea and look out the window, or I'm grateful that I have a lot of milk, even though I'm so uncomfortable with this postpartum, I can still feed my child or whatever I could reach for that day.

And sometimes the best that I can reach for is, I'm just going to call a friend right now and tell them how upset I am. That's the best I could do right now. So that's what we're going to do.

Liz Tenety: I have to tell you, I was, I was reading about it this week about this, this method. And, um, I was, I was lost in my own train of thought around, I have all these interviews this week. I'm on deadline. It's right before the holidays. There's so many things to do. How am I possibly going to get it done? Um, it was racing, you know, and I just, I found it so simple. Um, but I personally especially loved the idea of forgiving yourself for being human and having the thoughts [00:18:00] and try another way of, you know, reach for the, the good thought. And, um, it's very, it's very simple, but that doesn't mean it's, um, you know, not meaningful or deep. Uh, and I, I already used it myself.

Gabby Bernstein: Good! This, yeah, I mean, in your case, we can use you as an example right now. Like a mom who's busy, you could say to themselves, you've got, you know, career and kids and all of it. We easily get to that place of, Oh my God, I have so much to do. It. I just said to my husband just an hour ago, I'm pretty overwhelmed.

We've got to pack for our kid, I've got to pack myself as we're going to the city tomorrow, I've got, you know, two full days of shooting and it's just like a lot, right? But then I turned it around and I said, actually. It's a privilege that we can live part time in a city. It's a privilege that I have a son that I can dress. It's a privilege that I have two days of shooting for a [00:19:00] brand that I believe in. You know, it's like, come on Gabby! You know? So there's two ways of looking at it. And when we get into the choose again method, we can actually expand time. And moms need to expand time.

Liz Tenety: So when you say that, what do you mean? How can you possibly expand time?

Gabby Bernstein: so when you started using it this morning or whenever you did, you felt better. Right?

Liz Tenety: Yep.

Gabby Bernstein: When you feel better, you have more energy, right? When you have more energy, you get more done. Right? And when you have more energy, you make less mistakes.

When you make less mistakes, you don't waste as much time. And when you have energy, you can get more done. You can expand time.

Liz Tenety: Yeah. I mean, I know I've… when I am in moments of absolute overwhelm, whether it's the house with the kids at work, you don't even know where to get started cause you're just wallowing in the overwhelm.

You know, it's just totally insurmountable. Um, but saying like, what's the next thing that I can do? Or the next thought that. That helps give me hope. I [00:20:00] just, it's simple, but I don't know, it works.

Gabby Bernstein: Reaching for a general though -- it doesn't have to be like a really big, like, you don't want to go from like, I'm so overwhelmed to like everything's perfect cause you're not going to believe that. So you, you want to reach for a thought that feels good, but generally it feels good. It's easy to reach for.

Liz Tenety: I also want to talk about surrender. It was a big theme of course, in your work and also in your story of becoming pregnant and, and becoming a mother. Um, I know, you know, I experienced hyperemesis gravidarum with my pregnancies and it's like this severe form of debilitating morning sickness.

And, you know, something I, I always came back to when I was going through that was. Oh, well, I chose to be pregnant, and yet I still have to surrender to an experience that I might not choose, but it's choosing me and I have to get through this. Um, and I think as you know, modern women [00:21:00] and feminists, we often like the idea of surrender doesn't really comport with, with our idea of who we are, and yet. It can be really powerful. Why do you think surrender is so important and what do you think it has to teach us?

Gabby Bernstein: When we are not in a state of surrender, we're in a belief system that it's our will and it's our way that we have to make everything happen. We're in what I referred to in Super Attractor as a pusher energy, right?

And the pusher has a belief system that if I don't do it, nobody else will. And this happens with physical health. This happens with work. It happens with parenting. So that pushy energy is really not supported by others, not supported by the universe. Your children pick up on it. They feel uncomfortable around it. And it's not receptive or attractive. So it's not going to help you manifest what you like and what you want in your life. It's just, it's just the opposite of that. So when we surrender, what we're surrendering to is, is a presence. [00:22:00] Beyond our own. So in the case of somebody who may not be very spiritual, it could be surrendering to inspiration or surrendering to your intuition.

If you're on a spiritual path, it's surrendering to the universe. Surrendering to a higher power of your own understanding. God, spirit, angels, grandma, whoever you believe in.

Liz Tenety: When you talk about what you went through… you've obviously been so candid and, and had a very challenging transition to motherhood. Tell us about the birth of your son and when you realized that you weren't coping.

Gabby Bernstein: Oh, it took four months. I mean, I had the most unbelievable hypnobirthing experience. I didn't have pain. I loved every second of my birth. It was just one of those Epic births. I had the most amazing pregnancy. I would never felt more beautiful in my life. I just. It felt so good the whole time. A little nauseous in the first trimester, but I felt awesome.

You, everybody's got your story right. You've got your story. I've got my story. And so, you know, we have to just make our stories our own and not take on the [00:23:00] stories of others. But everything was rocking and rolling. And I, you know, I came home and, um, you know, I was 39 when I conceived my first child and I had the means to get help.

So I had a night nurse that was waiting for us. And so I had all the support and I was able to sleep because I was pumping at night and not feeding at night and like just had tons of milk and felt like a rock star, you know, just was able to take three months off and had my team and was still running my business and it felt great.

And then about four months in, I started getting very manic. I started getting -- like, I was always, OCD. I've always been a little bit obsessive, compulsive and anxious in general because I'm a trauma survivor. So I've always been familiar with that, and so I just kept saying, well, I'm just a little bit more anxious because I'm a mom now and I have to take care of life.

And, you know, but then I just started, started to get out of control. Um, so much so that I was having panic attacks. I became agoraphobic. And then my son was sleeping through the night and I wasn't sleeping one minute, not one minute. Having panic attacks all night long.

[00:24:00] Liz Tenety: Did you, did, you know, something was wrong?

Gabby Bernstein: Well, here's where I have to really be the speaker and the voice box for this dialogue. You know, I'm in a wellness world, right? And it, and I was likely part of the stigma because, you know, people in my audiences would say, "I have mental health issues." And I'd say -- no, I'd never say get off your meds or anything -- but I would say, you know, keep doing what you're doing, but meditate. And I didn't understand at the time that when you are in a debilitating biochemical situation that meditation won't work. It didn't work.

My therapist, my therapist, intervened ultimately and called my husband and I and said, she has to get medicated. Her tools are no longer working. Her life is at risk. And so. The next day, I, you know, I really surrendered. There's your word, right. Surrendered. And called a friend who was a great psychiatrist and he put me in touch with a leading fertility and postpartum psychiatrist who got me medicated right away and saved my [00:25:00] life.

Liz Tenety: I think this part is just so incredibly important. You know, you are someone who is a renowned leader in the wellness space, and obviously you're always teaching people like what to add to their mental toolkit. You know, how to have positive thoughts and reframe, you know, struggles into opportunities.

And yet, you, you're a human and you experience some things so common around postpartum depression and anxiety and, and needing like a chemical to help rebalance your brain. Was that hard for you to accept?

Gabby Bernstein: At first, it was really shameful for me, so much so that even when I was talking about my postpartum, I would say, you know, I'm seeing a psychiatrist, but I wouldn't say I'm taking medication.

And then as I got more and more comfortable and started to see that I was contributing to the stigma by not speaking up about it, I just started telling people that Zoloft saved my life. And yes, we live in a world where we are very overprescribed, but when you're [00:26:00] having a biochemical issue, something that is widely recognized in postpartum, particularly, right, it is important.

I mean, it's not like, you know, Oh, you're just sad. No, I'm not sad. I'm having a breakdown. I'm suicidal. I said I wanted to kill myself on Mother's Day. No, this is serious. And people do take their lives because of this, and it's not something that we should brush under the rug because we're too spiritual or too in the wellness world to take medication. And let me tell you something, I've been shamed by a lot of people and that's why I'm speaking up about it really loud. Shamed by people whether they realize they were outwardly shaving me or not.

But I felt their shaming and you know, the wellness world is really, really tricky because you know, people are saying, here's how you get off your medication. Well, that's great if you're unnecessarily medicated, but many people aren't.

Liz Tenety: What has going through this taught you about your [00:27:00] own work?

Gabby Bernstein: It's given me such a greater empathy and compassion for people with mental illness. Giving me an opportunity to, to speak on behalf of God, working through medication and doctors and trusting that there's God in all of it. It's given me a level of safety that I'd never known before so that I could do deeper work to heal trauma.

It's given me a baseline. Yeah. A baseline of understanding that, that I was suffering much more than I realized that I was even before the postpartum.

Liz Tenety: Hmm. So. Zoloft. You, you, you say it's, it saved your life. Is there anything else that you've kind of wrapped around your medication that has helped you find your, your new self in motherhood.

Gabby Bernstein: You can take the meds, but you gotta then get to work, right? It's like, I don't think anyone should be taking any kind of medication if they're not willing to go deeper because the benefit of [00:28:00] being on a medication when you've had a anxiety disorder or mental illness is that you actually get to a safe enough place where you can go to deeper places that you otherwise wouldn't be able to go to therapeutically.

So I have gone to the depths of my joy. I am. I am now really, truly getting to the root of my trauma and I've never felt more free. I've never been more proud of myself ever for having the bravery to go to these places and having the willingness to do three therapy sessions a week and just go there because I am taking advantage of, this level of safety that I have for this period that I'm on this medication.

This is not a lifetime. This is a period of my life and in this period I'm going to go big and I'm going to resurrect myself, with the therapeutic work. And so that would be my advice to any mom out there who is medicated or anyone that is on medication. All right, well, it doesn't stop with the meds. You can't just numb out. You got to go do [00:29:00] the work, get to work, go deeper.

Liz Tenety: I'm sure also that motherhood, like for all of us, has brought you immense joy. I know that, you know, getting to feed my baby, for example, I've been trying to be so deliberate about using that time to turn off my phone and just, it's, it's, it can be meditative to be with the new baby. How has, how has your son brought that joy into your life, especially as you're recovering?

Gabby Bernstein: My child has given me the opportunity to really experience joy and love in a way that I never thought was possible. It's just such a mind blowing experience to see someone do all these things for the first time, walk, talk, eat new things.

When it brings me the most joy is cooking for my son cause I love to cook. And so every night we have a very special meal and this kid so much and he's, he's turning one on Thursday and. he's a rock star and he's brought my husband and I so much closer and [00:30:00] I love having a family. I just, I just am so deeply grateful and that's why I'm like, I want another one. Bring on the next one. I'm ready. I need, I need more of this.

Liz Tenety: What do you think next time you might do differently, whether it's actually like routines or your mentality, what, what, what might be different next time for you? I mean,

Gabby Bernstein: You know, I always see these second time parents and they were so relaxed and I was like. I see. I got it. I understood. Cause the first time it was just like, wait, I have to care for life. Like what the hell am I supposed to do here? But I can't wait for the next one because I love the idea of being able to breastfeed without being afraid of every lump, you know?

And, and to be able to, you know, change diapers effortlessly and to be woken up in the middle of the night and know that I can go back to sleep because I'm not having a panic attack, you know? So I'm just, I'm really, really looking forward to [00:31:00] doing it without that level of pressure. It's -- of course there's tremendous pressure every time you have a child -- but less pressure when you know what you're doing.

Liz Tenety: So for me, I know that motherhood without a doubt, has been the greatest teacher of my life. It was almost like there was so much about reality that that skipped me by until I became a mom, whether it was like helping me learn what meditation can do or becoming a more patient person or more organized person. All of those things. When you, when you step back and look at. Your journey. What do you think the big lesson that motherhood has been teaching you?

Gabby Bernstein: The biggest lesson the motherhood is giving me is presence. I can see how my son is like a daily lesson in how to be fully present.

So it's like every time I'm with him, he's just great practice. It's a challenge for me because I can feel so much of that [00:32:00] disconnect based on the programming I've lived with for so long. So he's my teacher, he's my greatest teacher, and the day that I had my child, I got an email, a DM from Dr. Shefali, and she said, she said, "Welcome your new guru." She couldn't have been more right.

Liz Tenety: That's so good. That is so good. Gabby, thank you so much for both joining us and being incredibly candid today. Thanks for being on the motherly podcast.

Gabby Bernstein: Thank you.

Lolleez mid-roll

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Kid Story

Liz's daughter: Mama, now, telling me about your podcast. Okay, so what makes you happy. Oh, playing games, playing games

Liz Tenety: Okay, so what makes you happy. What are your two favorite games?

Liz's daughter: Oh, playing games, playing games

Liz Tenety: What games?

Liz's daughter: Monopoly and headbands. That's fun. [00:34:00] Who do you like to play them with?

Liz Tenety Mommy, daddy, and other people? And other people? And you like to play with your toys too?

Liz's daughter: Yeah. Mommy, I love you.

Listener story

Claire Hart: I got pregnant with my first son when I was. 31 um, and he came early.

Liz Tenety: That's Claire Hart. Claire works in strategy and diversity and lives in Kentucky. Claire sun is a story about the postpartum depression. She experienced following the birth of her first son

Claire Hart: He was in the NICU for three weeks, and this NICU was the highest trauma level available.

And so around him were all of these other babies that had. Very serious health issues. So I spent those three weeks in the NICU with him, surrounded by these babies that had either very [00:35:00] serious health issues or going through withdrawals or, so suffice it to say, I had to adopt sort of a, it could always be worse mentality.

And then when he came home, it was. December and I live far away from family and my husband was working retail as and was also a teacher, a TA for a big university. And so I was alone a lot and it was winter and I could, I didn't feel like I could get out and do anything and my friends were all working.That was very isolating. So I was really sad and angry. I think too, I was angry at my husband for not being there, but he couldn't be because he was working. So yeah, that isolation and that experience of kind of having to look, being forced to look at the, it can always be worse scenario. I went into my six weeks postpartum checkup, and I remember talking to my doctor and him asking me these questions that were very clearly and at trying to get at whether or not you were experiencing postpartum [00:36:00] depression or anxiety. And I remember answering the question in the way that I knew how to answer them so that I passed. So I didn't admit it to myself or anybody else. 10 or 11 months of this farm. I think I finally figured out that there was such a therapist as like a therapist is specialized in traumatic birth and postpartum disorders. And, um, so I met with her and it probably only took one conversation. I just sobbing all the way through telling the story of how she was born that she diagnosed me with PTSD and postpartum depression, anxiety.Um. I'm pregnant again, having my second and final child. Um, and I'm experiencing a lot of anxiety about having an early delivery and, and what that might look like for our family now. And, uh, one of the things that I can do for myself in preparation for bringing a new baby into our family is, um, being really honest with the people around me.

Liz Tenety: Thanks Claire for your moving and courageous story. Please know you are not alone and we wish you the best of luck in your next journey with the birth of your new son.

So that's it for our show this week. Thank you so much for listening. If you have a story you'd like to share in our podcast, please email us at podcast at We'd love to hear from you, and if you like what you heard today, please. Spread the word about our podcast. We have a lot of amazing episodes coming soon, and we're super excited about them. I know you're going to enjoy this season, and if you can please leave us a review on Apple podcasts. It really helps other people discover the show, and I love reading your feedback. The [00:38:00] motherly podcast is produced by Jennifer Bassett with additional help from Jordan Gass-Poore and Renata Selletti. Our music is from the blue dot sessions. I'm your host. Liz Tenety. Thank you so much for listening.

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Hosted by Liz Tenety

Liz is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the co-founder of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she thrives on all things digital community + social media strategy. She's passionate about helping to provide women with more support, (and way less judgment), on the journey through motherhood. This podcast is an extension of her commitment to hosting honest conversations about modern motherhood. Liz resides outside NYC with her husband, two sons, one daughter and one amazing au pair.

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