Jabina’s Story: Postpartum OCD & Major Depressive Disorder
“I think there’s this notion that women are supposed to be happy and excited and that mothering and parenting is supposed to be this innate thing.
But as a new young mom, I didn’t have that experience, and I cried literally almost every single day.”
So begins Jabina’s journey of early motherhood, which was filled with isolation and struggle. Jabina now realizes that she was living with major depressive disorder and postpartum OCD. But for most of her early parenting years, her condition went unassessed, undiagnosed, and untreated. And she suffered alone.
How are you adjusting to parenthood?
What does it feel like to be a new mom for you?
What do you like about your new baby?
Have you been having any intrusive thoughts? Any scary thoughts?
Had someone (say her obstetrician or her son’s pediatrician) asked Jabina such questions, perhaps she would have found support that would have helped her realize that her early journey as a mother—despite its incredible difficulties—wasn’t all that unusual, and that there were treatments and therapies available that could have prevented her struggle.
But that didn’t happen, and Jabina has pursued a career in maternal health to prevent what happened to her from happening to other new mothers of color. Today, she is a reproductive psychotherapist and a board-certified lactation consultant who focuses on the intersection between breastfeeding and mental health. Her work focuses on Black birthing people.
“As a Black woman, I know first-hand what that experience has been like. I am a true believer in culturally and racially-concordant care, and really being able to identify with the community that I work with, which is very important.”
Jabina is the owner of Life House Lactation & Perinatal Services, she’s the co-founder of the Breastfeeding Awareness & Empowerment (BAE) and is co-founder and president of the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color.
She is a national public speaker on perinatal mood disorders. Her talk is titled “Everyone Wants to Hold the Baby, Who Will Hold the Mother?: Perinatal Mood Disorders.”
“‛Everyone Wants to Hold the Baby, Who Will Hold the Mother’ is not just a catchy phrase,” Jabina says. “It is a call to action where I really focus on awareness of perinatal mood disorders, access, accountability, and action. Those are my four pillars that I really focus on when thinking about new motherhood, new parenthood, and the challenges that folks are facing that are real and that are not getting enough attention.
“It’s important for me that women are being heard, being seen, being listened to and are offered adequate and equitable care.”
“Jabina’s Story” is the third in our five-part OC87 Recovery Diaries series titled “Holding Space: Stories of Maternal Mental Health.” The series presents five individuals who tell of touching, challenging journeys with postpartum depression and perinatal anxiety and mood disorders (PMADS). We hope you enjoy these stories and share widely.
Special thanks go to Perri Shaw Borish, psychotherapist, founder of Whole Heart Maternal Mental Health and project advisor to this series.