White Flowers | Perinatal Mental Health Professional

Perinatal Mental Health Professional - About Louise

Louise's Mission

Louise's mission is to help parents overcome perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and change their lives in ways they never imagined. As a registered nurse by background, helping others has always been Louise's mission. Her Bachelor of Science in Nursing has allowed her to have a rewarding career for over 12 years as a registered nurse in the community setting, but her desire to make a difference doesn't stop in the patient's home. Louise is also an active volunteer with Postpartum Support International, providing mentorship to other parents experiencing perinatal mood disorders.

 

As a certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional, a certified Prenatal Interpersonal Therapy Provider, certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, and a certified Usui & Kundalini Reiki Master, Louise is changing the world for the better, one parent at a time.

About Louise | Perinatal Mental Health Professional

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Louise's Story

As both a new mom and a single parent, I didn't know that I had something more than the 'baby blues' after I gave birth to my daughter. Sure, I was exhausted both mentally and physically beyond words due to a traumatic labor and birth, and I would cry in the mornings feeling hopeless when the sun came up from being up all night with the baby, unsure of how I would make it through the next day, but I would also cry at night when the sun went down, for no reason at all. I felt panicked on the inside, like my heart was constantly racing and I couldn’t catch my breath. Even hearing the lullaby song from the mobile crib playing over and over seemed to trigger me into overwhelming sadness and grief, for reasons unknown. I felt so sad and overwhelmed because even though others were helping the baby, no one was helping me. Here I was physically recovering from a 42-hour labor and vacuum delivery that required the obstetrician to give me an episiotomy which resulted in a 3rd degree tear, not sleeping since the baby was born, not eating properly since every waking moment was caring for the baby 24/7, having issues with breastfeeding, and letting the household tasks such as laundry and dishes pile up. Not to mention the overwhelming mom guilt I had about not being able to give my dog, who was my first baby the attention that she deserved! Add to that intrusive thoughts (which I didn’t even know at the time were intrusive thoughts) and it was a recipe for a personal crisis. Here I was a new parent, feeling like I should be overjoyed and happy, and yet I felt the opposite. I didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to, so instead of reaching out and asking for help, I suffered. Rather than sleep when the baby sleeps, which all mothers from our past generation seem to tell you, I thought I could do it all. Besides, aren’t we superwomen? We can work, manage our household, and raise children all at once, right? Well, what was wrong with me that I couldn’t cope? I must be weak. I don’t deserve my child. She deserves better. I’m not a good enough mother. These are the thoughts that seemed to ruminate in my mind over and over, which looking back was a telltale sign that I needed help. Everyone loved the baby, but who loved me? Who thought of me? I needed to be taken care of too, and yet my silent cries for help seemed to fall on deaf ears.

I had gotten so used to not feeling like myself that I somehow convinced myself that this was just the 'new me'. Gone was my laughter, humor, and smile. I was now anxious, uptight, and I couldn't seem to relax even if I knew my baby was in good hands with someone else. I lost the joy in life that I once had. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed, letting my 'mom guilt' guide my thoughts each day. It didn't matter what my mom guilt was about either - whether it was not being able to breastfeed my child after trying every intervention out there, from skin-to-skin contact, pumping, expressing, getting her tongue tie repaired, to trying supplements and lactation consultants. I just wasn't producing enough breastmilk. I also had massive mom guilt about not being able to walk my dog anymore-she is very active and we would normally walk at least 30 minutes in the morning and at night to ensure she got adequate exercise. Suddenly I was alone with a newborn, and since it was wintertime when I gave birth to her, she couldn't last more than 5 minutes outside as I was convinced that she would get frostbite, regardless of how many layers I bundle her up in. The plaguing 'what ifs' and catastrophizing thoughts seemed to bury my mind into a deep, dark abyss of fears and self-doubt. So instead of asking for help, I shamed myself daily for not being able to accomplish all of the expectations I had set for myself. Here I was a strong, independent woman who had a great career, home and family life. So why do I now feel so awful at times? What is wrong with me? I should l have it all together. I'm supposed to be able to handle this. Why can't I just let these feelings go? 

If there is one message I have for loved ones of any parent or expectant parent, it is to be compassionate toward them. Based on my own lived experience, the one thing that parents need the most is compassion. It means the world if someone reaches out and asks one simple question: "How can I help?" It is so simple yet powerful, and it can greatly impact any parent who may be struggling perinatally. I always say that is the #1 way to find out what is really going on with them.

 

I myself didn't have the knowledge or courage to speak up and ask for exactly what I needed, and I paid for it bigtime. By the time I hit what I can only describe as my true rock bottom, a year had passed postpartum and I ended up in my doctor’s office, shamefully admitting that I was having a hard time mentally. I wasn’t the happy mother that I felt I was supposed to be. I was so 'on edge' all the time and I knew that inside I wasn’t myself, but no one seemed to say anything so I just carried on with my silent pain, day in and day out. It reminds me of my 6-week follow up appointment at the OB GYN’s office where the obstetrician was reassessing my 3rd degree tear, then suddenly asked me "So are you depressed?". Looking back, that was such a pivotal moment for me, and yet I was so caught off guard by the question that I didn’t even know what to say. I remember quickly replying "no" followed by an awkward silence of nothing but the sound of his keyboard typing away on his computer. Now that I am a perinatal mental health professional, I cringe at the thought that many parents may be falling through the cracks when they so desperately need support, all because their healthcare provider failed to properly assess them for a perinatal mood disorder. For some reason that I can’t explain, maybe it was the sleep deprivation, the head fog of not really knowing what was going on with me at the time, or perhaps it was my unresolved grief and loss that I had not yet dealt with yet regarding my birth trauma, but even with my background as a healthcare professional, I didn’t know to speak up and ask for help when I needed it the most.

 

It took me over a year to seek and find the proper care that I needed in order to treat and ultimately recover from my perinatal depression and anxiety with OCD components in the form of intrusive thoughts, and I will not be the first to admit that hindsight is 20/20. I can wholeheartedly say that early intervention, screening, and proper treatment is crucial for anyone living with a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. The sooner you or someone you know asks for help, the better. So please speak up and ask "how can I help?" because you might be surprised how one little question can have such a great impact on another's life. 

If you or someone you know may be struggling with a perinatal mood disorder, please reach out. I am here to help.

Sincerely

Louise Bajurny