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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!!!!

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Feb 10, 2020

We talk about a lot of things that people don’t want to talk about or even hear. Still, they are very real, challenging, and difficult circumstances surrounding pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It’s important to share these stories because these difficulties become a reality for many people. Today’s show focuses on birth trauma and breastfeeding as we hear our guest’s personal account.

Erin Northrup is a mom of four busy children, ranging in age from 2-10. She lives in Atlantic Canada, where she enjoys spending time in nature with her family. With the birth of her oldest child, Jack, she experienced birth trauma, and this experience sparked her passion for researching trauma. Erin holds a bachelor’s in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Health Services Research. Her current research explores the experience of breastfeeding after birth trauma. Her own experience of breastfeeding after birth trauma inspired her to become a volunteer with a breastfeeding support organization offering community-based, peer to peer breastfeeding support. She is committed to raising awareness of the intersection of birth trauma, breastfeeding, and perinatal mental health.

Show Highlights:

  • Erin’s birth trauma experience with the birth of her son, Jack, now 10
  • How her Ob prepared her to have a C-section because of an ambiguous condition
  • How Erin’s water broke a week early, and her spinal didn’t take, so the C-section proceeded under general anesthesia, while Erin felt dissociated from the entire experience
  • In recovery, she was told that her son was taken to the NICU because of low blood sugar, and she couldn’t see him yet
  • How Erin’s mom, a physician, stepped in to advocate for Erin to see her son
  • While eating breakfast a few hours after the birth, Erin felt a popping sensation in her incision and felt a gush of blood
  • Erin was rushed back to the OR, and the spinal worked this time while Erin cried on the table--all of this was before she had even held her baby
  • How Erin was repeatedly spoken about like she wasn’t even in the room; she felt like her input wasn’t even important
  • When Erin got home, survival mode kicked in, and she regretted not advocating more strongly for herself
  • How Erin questioned whether or not her son was even the right baby, worrying that a mix-up could have occurred in the hospital because neither she nor her husband witnessed his birth
  • How she determined to “make it up” to her son by breastfeeding him
  • How the Ob told her at two months postpartum that her condition should not have warranted a C-section in the first place---which just made everything worse
  • How Erin felt an erosion of trust in her doctors and the medical system
  • How Erin asked where the growth and meaning was in her situation and how she could use her experience to help others
  • Erin applied to a Master’s program and went on to have three more kids with positive birth experiences
  • How Erin found support for breastfeeding
  • What Erin has found in her research by asking mothers about their experience with birth trauma and breastfeeding
  • The magnitude of the response she has received, but the difficulty in hearing the painful stories of birth trauma
  • The results from Erin’s research: Birth trauma is destabilizing to the breastfeeding process because of the physical and emotional pain in childbirth and the postpartum from mistreatment
  • The importance of trauma-informed care
  • How women with these experiences feel like the trauma is somehow their fault
  • What care providers should be aware of in their work


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