Tanya Newbould: 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Postpartum Depression

Tanya Newbould: 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Postpartum Depression

PMAD’s don’t discriminate — by that I mean, race, ethnicity, background, age, or socioeconomic status. I thought I went through it because I was 43 when I gave birth, but that wasn’t the case. There are higher levels of PMAD’s in the BIPOC community, but that is based more on the fact that they may have less access to resources to help navigate their journey.

Postpartum depression affects millions of women worldwide, yet it remains a topic that is often misunderstood and stigmatized. Through this series, we aim to shed light on the various aspects of postpartum depression, including its symptoms, causes, treatment options, and the impact it has on individuals and families. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Tanya Newbould.

Tanya suffered, survived, and then thrived from experiencing seven out of nine Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMAD’s). This led to the forethought and Co-creation of “When the Bough Breaks-a Documentary about Postpartum Depression” Executive Produced and narrated by Brooke Shield’s viewed in over 60 countries and six languages.

She received her Certification and Advanced Certification in PMAD’s from PSI (Postpartum Support International) and retains her ACC (Associate Certified Coach) and her ICF (International Coaches Federation) accreditation as well as being a LAT (Licensed Academy Trainer) for the Academy for Coaching Excellence. She has done countless Podcasts, Interviews and is a Keynote Speaker on this subject. She is also finishing her memoir about her journey.

Her mission is to create awareness and decimate the stigma associated with this very real mental illness that affects one in five women and one in ten men! https://www.tanyanewbould.com/

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we begin, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Born in the UK, I was adopted and grew up in Michigan. At 21 I moved to LA to be an actor, had a successful career when I met and married my soulmate, and after 11 years, we were excited to have a baby. But when she was born, I was thrown into very severe Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I had no idea what was happening and thought I was going crazy. It was a very dark place; I was scared to share with anyone for fear of losing my baby. It wasn’t until I read the book “Down Came the Rain” written by Brooke Shields that I realized “Oh my God, I have Postpartum Depression”. I could barely find information on PPD which led to the forethought and Co-Creation of our PPD documentary narrated and Executive Produced by Brooke. Through help and my faith in God, I was healed.

From that point on, my life changed. I chose to walk away from acting and focus on making an impact differently. I became an advocate and expert in PMAD’s. I’m a keynote speaker, author, and Certified Coach to change the world, and that all came about because I suffered and thought my life as I knew it was over. I experienced seven out of nine Perinatal Mood disorders, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother in her sane mind would ever harm her baby, family, or herself. It makes no sense when you’ve anticipated being a mom your entire life to feel depression, anxiety, fear, isolation, intrusive thoughts, and sometimes even worse. There is so much shame around this very real mental health condition and I’m here to be a conduit to decimate the stigma, to let women and families know, you are not alone. I’ve spoken around the world on this subject, participated in hospital board panel discussions, and the memoir of my journey will be out later this year. All of this is designed to change the landscape of Postpartum Depression.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview, about postpartum depression. Let’s start with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. Can you please tell us what postpartum depression is?

Miriam Webster’s definition is- A mood disorder involving intense psychological Depression that typically occurs within one month after giving birth, lasts more than two weeks, and is accompanied by other symptoms (such as social withdrawal, difficulty in bonding with the baby, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt).

Can you discuss some common misconceptions about postpartum depression and why they are harmful?

  • It’s not real.
  • It’s just baby blues and you’ll “get over it”.
  • It starts right after birth and will go away on its own.
  • It only happens to women.
  • It can be prevented.
  • It means you’re a bad parent and shouldn’t have had kids.
  • You’re crazy.

All of these are harmful because they stem from a lack of knowledge or education.

Can you explain the role of hormonal changes in postpartum depression, and how does this influence treatment approaches?

There can be a dramatic drop in Estrogen and Progesterone as well as Thyroid function. These changes can affect basic emotional processing, cognition, and motivation. When this occurs, that can trigger mood swings that make a new mom less able to cope with things that would normally not affect her. When I experienced that and became aware of my inability to cope, that sent me spiraling into depression, anxiety, and many other symptoms.

How does postpartum depression impact the bonding between a mother and her baby, and what interventions are available to address this?

This is such an important question. There have been so many studies about what the baby experiences in utero and postpartum. We are all made of energy and physiology. When a mother is suffering during pregnancy, there is a lack of good hormones i.e., serotonin, and oxytocin that the baby doesn’t receive, and after birth babies can sense a lack of safety that they rely upon from their mother. Women who suffer from PPD can affect children’s development and put them at higher risk of future psychiatric illness.

The intervention an expectant mother can do is to be prepared. By that I mean, educate yourself, read about signs and symptoms, and create a team of family and friends that you trust to pay attention to signs and symptoms also. Make sure you are getting proper nutrition even when you don’t feel like eating. Sleep unfortunately may be elusive, but nap when your baby naps, the cleaning of bottles and home can wait. Hold your baby, sing, read to them, and kiss them to create a physical bond. This will release good hormones for both mother and baby.

One last thing I want to add is that even when PMAD’s do occur, it is never too late to bond with your child. Choose to forgive yourself and release shame and guilt. You didn’t ask to experience what you did, it’s not your fault. Create connections anywhere you can with your baby, child, or teen. It’s never too late, I promise.

What are some of the best ways to treat postpartum depression?

There are many modalities available today from talk therapy, group therapy, holistic vitamins, anti-depressants, EMDR, and more.

Talk to your doctor, spouse, or friends you trust. One of the best ways to treat postpartum depression is to find a community you feel safe in whether it be a Mommy & Me, or Group Therapy. It’s so important to know you are not alone and with help, you will be o.k. I’m an example of that and you can be too.

Based on your experience and research, can you please share “5 Things Everyone Should Know About Postpartum Depression?”

1. There are actually nine levels of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I suffered seven out of nine and it began with Anti-natal Depression meaning while I was pregnant. I was four and a half months along and found myself on my hands and knees staring at the grey slate floor hysterically crying with snot dripping out of my nose and mouth thinking “This can’t be normal”. I wish I knew it was a symptom of PMAD’s, I would have been better prepared and perhaps bypassed some of what I went through after my daughter was born.

2. PMAD’s are a mental health issue that affects one in five women and one in 10 men. The number according to the CDC 10 years ago when we were making our documentary was one in seven women, now it’s one in five. At the time I was going through my journey, my husband and I struggled, it was hard. Later, we came to realize that he too suffered from his version of postpartum depression.

3. PMAD’s don’t discriminate — by that I mean, race, ethnicity, background, age, or socioeconomic status. I thought I went through it because I was 43 when I gave birth, but that wasn’t the case. There are higher levels of PMAD’s in the BIPOC community, but that is based more on the fact that they may have less access to resources to help navigate their journey.

4. There are many triggers for PMAD’s. Hormonal shifts, lack of sleep, nutrition, lack of exercise, previous depression, generational PPD, or PPD with prior baby. The largest common denominator we found while interviewing participants in our documentary was the lack of community, this was true for me, I’m very social and love human interaction. I was the first in my group of friends to have a baby and the American way is to leave a new mom and baby alone so they can adjust to their new life. I’m here to tell you that’s a big mistake! Make your presence known, bring food, offer to come over so Mama can shower or nap, and call her often to check in. My husband had to work, and I felt very isolated and didn’t know how to ask for help or company. Plus, I wasn’t myself, so I was embarrassed and wanted to hide. I had one friend Jen who started coming by every morning with her Styrofoam cup of coffee from the local gas station. She would stay about 30”, but I looked forward to seeing her every morning. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it today.

5. PMAD’S ARE NOT PERMANENT! This is important. When you are experiencing postpartum depression, it’s easy to believe that you will feel this way for the rest of your life, I did. I didn’t know with the right help, which for me was talk therapy, 5-HTP, Rose Hip Oil, and taking action by Co-creating our documentary. I now view this part of my life as one of the greatest gifts I received because it changed me to be a better person and help others.

What are some practical strategies for supporting a partner or loved one experiencing postpartum depression?

Choose to show up in every way and know that what they are experiencing is real. Don’t make it about you if they are crying, shut down, angry or despondent. It’s not easy, but it’s also an opportunity to humbly be there for another human in a selfless way. Be supportive, offer help, intervene, and get them help if it’s serious. Do your research and if needed, find a support group for yourself so you don’t feel alone.

What are some cultural or societal factors that may contribute to the prevalence and experience of postpartum depression, and how can we address these effectively?

I touched on this earlier and unfortunately, it’s indicative of our society today. The percentage of BIPOC women affected is triple the number of the rest of female society based on a ‘Cycle of Oppression’. It’s not because of their ethnicity or race, it’s because many of these women don’t have access to the proper care, treatment, and resources from nutrition to medical help to heal. What is desperately needed is more outreach, education, and trained professionals to help, this is a good place for the government to spend their money.

Culturally, in Asia, many women practice “Sitting Moon” where the new mama doesn’t leave her bed for a full cycle of the moon which mimics the women’s reproductive cycle. The family brings food, bathes the baby, and takes care of the new mother so she may start her new journey renewed.

In some countries, women have their community as a tribe, and they all interact and bond with the baby creating safety and peace for that little one.

In countries such as Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, the UK, and Japan, maternity, and paternity leave even if partial can be up to a year. In the U.S. parental leave policy at the federal level is notably lacking. This needs to be addressed and is slowly beginning to change by some companies and corporations. You will have a much better hire and retention rate in your business if this is offered.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you for asking me this! I collaborated with Ubilam Candles to create SOZO Heart candles/diffusers and roller oils with a high amount of essential oils to target depression, and anxiety to help create a sense of grounding. The word SOZO comes from the Greek root word which means to save, rescue, or protect. It also denotes the act of delivering, making whole, and preserving one safe from danger, loss, and destruction. The testimonies I’ve received have been amazing, with the feedback that it does help calm the onslaught of PPD symptoms. I also have trademarked a piece of jewelry I designed called SOZO Heart jewelry. Much like the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon, my goal is to create a global movement so women can identify themselves with each other to know that they are not alone.

My memoir coming out later this year is a raw, honest journey through my PMAD’s and creating our documentary. Brooke’s book saved me, and my goal is to do the same for others. I’m also actively seeking a TEDx stage to talk about the nine levels of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

Lastly, as a Speaker, Coach, and woman of faith, I want to create a “Train-the-Trainers” program for hospitals globally to shift the treatment in maternal mental health. We are very far from having this normalized, stabilized and truly helping women and families. The numbers need to go down, not up, and I know that my mission is to create a lasting impact and change the landscape of this mental health mood disorder.

How can our readers further follow you online?

You can visit my website and follow me on Social Media:

@tanyanewbould on IG,FB & Linked In
@sozoheart
@whentheboughbreaksdoc

To book Tanya as a Speaker, or for questions and comments, email her directly at tanya@tanyanewbould.com

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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