The Emily Effect 

A fantastic way to continue to end stigma is to share our own personal stories of how we are living with mental illness. It opens up a conversation about ways to manage said illnesses but also humanizes those that are afflicted by them – it’s one thing to say “I’ve heard that people with OCD do this….” vs “I live with anxiety and this is how I manage it…”  A wonderful organization that is sharing their story, and being proactive about helping mothers with perinatal mood disorders, is The Emily Effect.

Who was Emily? Emily was a fantastic mother, wife, daughter, and neighbor. She was attentive to her 5 children and caring to those around her. She enjoyed playing church hymns on the piano – but was also talented at learning new arrangements to her husband’s delight – including the theme song from The Office.

She was a beautiful soul that was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and depression and was taken too soon. Emily and her husband became aware of Emily’s change in mood after the birth of their 5th child and were eager to seek help. Throughout their journey, they encountered wonderful professionals but also disjointed services for mothers suffering with mental health illnesses. In her honor, The Emily Effect seeks to provide resources and support for mothers with such illnesses, as well as End the Stigma of perinatal mood disorders.

Join us in our efforts to end this stigma by talking about these disorders with others. I encourage you to, regardless of if you have or haven’t struggled in the past with any mental Illness, ANTICIPATE the potential of being afflicted by a postpartum mood disorder.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, here is my call to action for you, it’s ONE simple thing you can do decrease the chances of a long-lasting postpartum mood disorder.

1. Talk to someone in a your close social support group (a significant other, a parent, a sibling, a good friend) that you trust with your life and that you know will be honest with you. And ask them to check in on you after your baby is born. Here’s a sample of what you can say:

“Postpartum depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are very common, especially with a brand new baby that needs constant care and hormones that are shifting to pre-baby levels. Would you mind checking in on me and my health after I deliver? Some things to look out for could be irritability, feeling hopeless, trouble making decisions, or crying more often than usual. I may need you to help me talk about it and access resources, but the great thing is that these illnesses are temporary and treatable.”

Emily’s story is helping women all over to recognize that perinatal mood disorders can affect anyone- regardless of how well-adjusted they seem on the outside. Please take a moment to look at a wonderful section of their site called “Letters of Light” (click on the pictures). It features real stories about real women with real postpartum mood disorders. They promote hope and recovery, and may help you or someone else who is struggling.

You can also refer to our post about postpartum depression {HERE} for more info on symptoms.

*The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any diet or treatment decisions.


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