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St. Catherine’s Lactation Coordinator Educates Mothers about Postpartum Depression

April 16th, 2015

Welcoming a new baby can bring many different emotions for new mothers—happiness to the overwhelming feeling of joy. And, sometimes after childbirth mothers can also experience the "baby blues”, also known as postpartum depression.

Perinatal mood disorders are the number one medical complication related to childbearing. Approximately 10 percent of women may experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy and up to 20 percent within the first 12 months after having a baby.

Symptoms include frequent crying, sleep disturbances, feelings of anger/irritability, suicidal thoughts, and sometimes anxiety or panic attacks. The new mom may feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and unable to cope. Women and their families need to know they are not alone, it is not their fault and with help, the illness is treatable.

At 10:00 AM, on a beautiful spring Thursday morning, a group of new mothers gathered in support—to share and encourage one another on their motherhood journey. The private group called Mothers of Preschoolers (MOP) which meets at the Dix Hills Evangelical Free Church consists of close to 40 mothers and at this particular gathering St. Catherine’s Lactation/Perinatal Education Coordinator Jennifer Giordano, was asked to be a guest speaker to discuss postpartum depression.

Mrs. Giordano took the opportunity to share her personal experience of being a new mother. “As an attorney nurse, after delivering my first child and being unsuccessful at breastfeeding, my career path forever changed. After crying a lot, and feeling helpless as a new mom, it was my visit back to the hospital that changed my career course. It was the nurses at the hospital that helped me with their support and education that encouraged me to want to help other mothers.” After her first child, Mrs. Giordano switched nursing paths. She is now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and is currently pursuing her nurse practitioner degree as well. She is passionate about educating new mothers about breastfeeding and runs the hospital’s perinatal mood disorder support group.

Mrs. Giordano stressed the importance of being aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression and reminded the mothers that help is available—whether for them, a sister or friend. “Just being in this group alone today reduces risk factors—having a network to share common goals and struggles is the essential.”

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center offers a free, hospital-based postpartum support group, Mothers’ Circle of Hope. For more information about the next start date, please call (631) 870-3444. One day a week, members meet and begin the road back to wellness.

Photo (L-R): St. Catherine’s Lactation/Perinatal Education Coordinator Jennifer Giordano educates mothers about postpartum depression at the Dix Hills Evangelical Church.