Pregnancy and childbirth are processes that come with embodied changes. While it is important to hone in on the physical shifts accompanying the sacred transition, it is equally worthwhile to spotlight the psychological changes that shape the experience. According to the Maternal Health Task Force, 7 to 15 percent of birthing people experience antepartum depression, and about 10 percent of birthing people experience postpartum depression. In fact, depression is the most common maternal mental health disorder, followed by anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and postpartum psychosis.
Luckily, a number of providers are working to enhance our nation’s support of birthing people during one of the most vulnerable time periods of their lives. Amy DeBlase, Clinical Director and Supervisor of Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness, strives to be a resource for the vast community of birthing people in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. Her interest in and experience with maternal mental health spans many years. After taking an Advanced Placement psychology course, she found herself interested in the field. “I have always felt curious and passionate about helping both others and myself. As Matt Khan says, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves, so it remains important for me to keep learning, growing and healing as a person to be best prepared to join my clients along their journeys.”
Amy Deblase is not alone. Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness is a team of compassionate therapists working tirelessly to provide compassionate care.
As DeBlase’s interests evolved, the field of psychotherapy became a bridge for DeBlase to hone in on a specific passion of hers—maternal mental health. Among her interests are postpartum anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression. She received perinatal mental health training and certification through Postpartum Support International, and she is currently working to fill gaps for postpartum mothers and birthing people. Her work encapsulates the spiritual and emotional components of an optimal care plan—empowerment, advocacy, boundary setting and self-care.
To DeBlase, challenging deeply ingrained perspectives regarding womahood is a major step, and this must happen within. “I am passionate about normalizing the experience for pregnant and postpartum mothers, thereby reducing the shame and stigma they may be experiencing. Once there is more self-awareness and self-acceptance, we must work through people pleasing tendencies, reinforce healthy boundaries, and improve the way we speak to ourselves. Women have needs, and those needs are so important—but society or cultural values can make it difficult for women going through these experiences to express and assert their needs. We diligently work on changing these narratives together.”
Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period are distinct experiences that warrant unique forms of care. DeBlase honors this reality in her practice. “Pregnancy and childbirth are extremely taxing and vulnerable experiences,” she says. “While society brands mothers as “superheroes” instead of providing the actual support needed, I believe we need more holistic and meaningful care for those who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth.” This means incorporating person-first models of care, rather than treating one response as a catch-all cure for all modes of depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
Currently, Amy DeBlase provides individual psychotherapy and related resources. There exist barriers to this kind of care, especially during a time where people are healing from embodied changes. For this reason, she prioritizes transparent and accommodating conversations around scheduling.
Read more about Amy here.
Read more about Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness here.