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Welcome to the Mom & Mind Podcast!

This podcast focuses on the Maternal Mental Health struggles related to becoming pregnant, being pregnant, birth and early parenthood. We talk about all of the stuff that you wish someone would have told you BEFORE you tried to be pregnant or have a baby. Postpartum depression is only part of the story.

The goal of this podcast to put all of this info out in the open. There’s no need to hide these very human experiences…so many people deal with these struggles. So, the podcast provides real life stories of moms, dads and family AND we will talk with experts, leaders and advocates in the field of maternal mental health and maternal health. You deserve to be informed!!!!

For more information and resources, go to www.momandmind.com

Sep 10, 2018

We all know that the path to parenthood can look very different than we dreamily imagine. Sometimes it’s a tough and traumatic experience that leaves us stunned. It’s when our personal struggles motivate us to bring about change that we use our experiences to help others. That’s exactly what today’s guest has done. 

 

Fawn McCool, LCSW, is based in Portland, Oregon with Aiyana Counseling. She holds certification in Interpersonal Neurobiology through Portland State University and MamaCare certificate through Shoshana Center. She is the creator of Interpersonal Neurobiology of Perinatal Mood Disorders and Birth Trauma, an online training for professionals that explores the impact and practices of attachment and bonding, including development and interventions for families affected by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and birth trauma.

She offers clinical therapeutic services through Aiyana Counseling and also sits on the board of NICU Familes Northwest, as well as volunteers with Baby Blues Connection. She is the mother of two girls, the oldest of which was born prematurely at 29 weeks. After 8 weeks in a southern California NICU, Fawn vowed that she would work tirelessly to change the mental health outcomes for NICU parents nationwide through advocacy and education. In today’s episode, Fawn discusses her experiences as a parent in the NICU and the work she’s doing to support families in their NICU experiences.

We are discussing the common stressors in having a child in the NICU and what it’s like to spend time there and then take that baby home. Fawn also shares about the strength and resilience she sees from parents with their NICU experiences and how we can better support children and parents through their time in NICU.

 

Show Highlights:

 

  • Fawn’s gratefulness to the maternal mental health community for the support she’s received
  • With her first child, Fawn knew something was wrong at 28 weeks, but she was sent home for bed rest
  • How she had to be pushy and insistent to save her baby’s life
  • How she never felt safe, secure, or cared for through her emergency birth and NICU experience
  • Her baby was diagnosed with reverse blood flow and was not getting the nutrients needed to survive, so an emergency C-section was scheduled, with Fawn being told her daughter had a 50% chance of survival
  • Why the mother’s mental health should be at the forefront
  • How Fawn reacted to not getting to see her daughter in the NICU until she could walk across the room after her C-section
  • Why her feelings of having zero trust in the medical system led her to be hypervigilant
  • How rules in the NICU fight against maternal instinct and frustrate an already fragile and stressful situation
  • Fawn spent 8 weeks in NICU and her daughter was released to go home at only 4 lbs. 
  • After 2 years of wondering what was wrong with her, Fawn was diagnosed with PTSD, and it was a course in Interpersonal Neurobiology that helped her figure it out
  • Why Fawn developed a new focus on educating the NICU community and families
  • 15% of moms and 8% of dads leave the NICU with PTSD---and many more exhibit common symptoms
  • The top problem is the separation from the baby, which could be mediated differently for more benefit for mother and baby
  • Psychologist Louis Cozolino says that the reappearance of the mother for a NICU baby has the same calming effect as morphine on the brain
  • The financial stress and the loss of parental autonomy in the NICU experience
  • How NICU parents find strength and resilience--”The size of the body does not reflect the size of the spirit.”
  • NICU parents learn to celebrate their child’s uniqueness and learn that they can’t control outcomes
  • The support Fawn would like to see: advocacy for more peer support, counselors, zero separation, psychological education about the effects of trauma, massage, connection to mental health support, and to prioritize maternal mental health
  • Fawn’s message: “There is strength in numbers and you are not alone. Believe in your child.”

 

Resources:

 

www.fawnmccool.com   Find out about Fawn’s work and her online class