One of my patients told me recently about a resentment prayer that she had learned about in her 12 step program.  As I listened, I realized that I had instinctively learned to let go of my resentment toward pregnant women after I had had a preemie at 26 weeks gestation.  For quite a while after the birth of my child, I was angry beyond words. I was angry that others got pregnant easily and had easy pregnancies.  I was even angry that they got to wear their pretty maternity dresses.   One day though, I realized that none of these women had done anything to me. They did not know me and I did not know them.  It was not personal.  When I stopped taking it personally, I began to have a moment of peace.  I practiced hoping and wishing that each of the pregnant ladies I saw would have a happy, healthy, safe pregnancy.  As I did so, resentment, jealousy, and the fist around my heart released. I now hope for the best for every pregnant woman.  I feel that it is a life mission for me to send love, health and safety to each woman for a fruitful reproductive journey.

So even if you are currently filled with resentment, whether it is about reproduction or any other resentment that you have in your life, send that person your best wishes.  You may not feel it at first, and it may even feel false.  But keep doing it.  You might be surprised that you begin to feel free and more compassionate for them and yourself.

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Prevent and Treat Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

It is tragic that a young mother with postpartum psychosis died this week in Washington, DC.  Her symptoms could have been treated successfully with medication and therapy, had people around her tuned in to what she doing and saying. I often see women with postpartum depression and anxiety.  Thankfully, few have full-blown psychosis.  Here is information from Dr. Wendy Davis, Executive Director of Postpartum Support International so that other women can be treated quickly and appropriately in the future.

Contact:  Lianne Swanson
Postpartum Support International

PSI joins with worldwide advocates for prevention through education, early diagnosis and treatment of maternal mental health distress

(October 4, 2013) – According to Postpartum Support International (PSI), at least 20% of pregnant and new mothers will experience a maternal mental health disorder, yet most are never screened, diagnosed or treated.

“Women, families, and health care providers need to know that pregnancy and postpartum mental health distress and disorders are common, real, and treatable. We can prevent escalation and crisis with access to qualified treatment and support,” said Wendy Davis, PhD, Executive Director of Postpartum Support International. “We want women and their families to know that they are not alone, they are not to blame, and with help, they will be well. Most importantly we don’t want women to be frightened and isolated; we will help them find reliable resources.”

Less than half a percent of new mothers will suffer from a psychosis, in which there is a severe break in reality. Up to 5% of mothers suffering from postpartum psychosis will commit suicide. “A woman with postpartum psychosis loses touch with reality,” said Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD, LMFT a forensic expert in maternal mental health and member of PSI’s President’s Advisory Council. “She may also have false beliefs that she and/or her baby are in harm’s way,” she said. PSI works alongside other advocates to train professionals and social supporters, increasing the number of qualified resources around the world.

Postpartum Support International is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to educating professionals and connecting with families suffering from pregnancy and postpartum distress and mental health disorders. The organization offers support, reliable information, professional training and volunteer coordinators in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and more than 35 other countries. For resources and support visit or call 800-944-4PPD (4773).


Wendy Davis, PhD
Counseling & Consultation
PSI Executive Director
503-246-0941 office
503-277-3925 cell

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I took my first Spring walk around Lake Calhoun today, one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities. It was glorious. People were smiling and happy, all of us sprung from the dark, cold dungeon of a very long winter. As I walked, I began to see uplifting messages written in chalk on the curb. “You look beautiful today!” “No matter what you are dealing with, it’s not snowing!” That one brought a smile. The one that grabbed my attention the most was “You Matter.” I thought to myself, “Yes, I do!” It almost brought me to tears. It made me think about the stories I have had the privilege to hear in my office recently and the courage it takes to move forward in life.

To those who are struggling to build a family when others don’t seem to care, you matter. To the people who are newly pregnant after fertility treatment but who are afraid of loss, you matter. To those who are grieving the death of a parent or who are besieged by chronic pain or illness, you matter. To those who live with drama-makers and who just want peaceful intimacy, you matter. And to the beautiful person who brought kindness and joy today to people walking around a city lake on a sunny day, you matter. And I love you from the bottom of my heart.

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A Helpful Toolkit for Postpartum Anxiety

I see a lot of women with postpartum anxiety and depression.  Postpartum anxiety is not talked about as often as depression but it is just as difficult.  Please share A Toolkit for Postpartum & Panic Symptoms from Postpartum Progress.


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During my yoga class today, my instructor said that “vinyasa” means to move with intention.  I have learned that I have to move with intention, to avoid an “Uh-Oh!” from my joints.

I focused on that comment throughout my class and time seemed to slow gently.  As I think about it, my best days are the ones where I go through the day with intention. This could show up as listening to a client’s story with a new ear, or letting my words flow like music when doing clinical hypnosis.  Slowing down and observing feels different and can bring new, more peaceful perspectives.

If you are in the midst of fertility treatment and you are afraid that you will never be a parent, what might moving with intention look like?   You might allow yourself to hear what your doctor is saying, rather than tuning in to your typical internal conversation (e.g., “&^$#my body*#^&@ failure^#T^*!!!”)  You might have compassion for yourself for the difficult journey you are on.  You might let yourself be open to different options for family building, even if only for a moment.

If you are grieving a miscarriage or a stillbirth, you might decide not to blame your body for what has happened.  You might focus on eating at some point today, or just getting through the next hour.  I know that we can wear ourselves out looking for answers to things that cannot be explained.  My heart is with you.

As you move through the days to come, let yourself move with intention and notice how it feels. Slow down enough to notice your negative thoughts and question them.  Listen to a favorite song, this time focusing only on the drums.  Or look at someone you love and notice something new and beautiful about them.  Each moment is the one we are in.  Move gently, my friends, and let me know what you find…

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