Interview with PSI trained PostPartum Specialist Natalie Telyatnikov
A mom, whom I’ve never met personally, created a private Facebook group of local area moms who have or are suffering from PostPartum disorders. Many moms had opened up asking for help on a larger Facebook group, so to keep things more private and personal, an offshoot was created. Moms post how they feel, often times one of us checks in. Too often, moms are in need of therapists and help immediately. Sometimes a recommended therapist will not take a particular insurance or sometimes they suggest moms submit paperwork to the insurance company themselves. When you’re suffering either with depression or anxiety or both, submitting forms yourself to an insurance company is out of question when even trying to shower takes effort.
But There Is A Way:
Some amazing suggestions from my moms in my group: talk candidly to your doctors or midwives; their office can give you lists of names within the same network. Call your mental health line, the number on the back of your insurance card; use them to have a list of providers in your network. Sit with a friend or your partner and have him/her do it, if you can’t. Call the PSI hotline. Look for local mom groups and if getting out of the house is too much, there are plenty of options online. The support is there in the interim until you can get weekly help. It’s all about not allowing the fear and stigma to prevent you from talking to that one person you deeply trust.
I reached back out to my moms group recently to ask about any providers that may want to talk to me. Among midwives and family therapy centers, there was another recommendation – a mom herself who had created a business dedicated to helping and working with moms throughout pregnancy and after. I decided to set up an interview with her and wanted to share an excerpt from that interview below:
Natalie Telyatnikov is founder & creator of Better Postpartum, betterpostpartum.com
She works with moms in all stages of motherhood through her website as well as in person. The overall take away of her organization is education; educating yourself and your partner/family on postpartum disorders, the signs, and having the support to readily reach for.
Where did you receive training?
I am actually trained through Postpartum Support International, myself–I took the “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Components of Care” training several years ago, and learned straight from PSI’s own Wendy Davis and Birdie Myer!
I then co-led a postpartum support group in Westport, CT for three years, and also remain close with the PSI CT chapter, which has some wonderful therapists that specialize in helping women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (I still meet with them and refer local women to their care).
I am also a trained doula, trained by Debra Pascali-Bonaro of Pain-to-Power Childbirth, and a certified postpartum support specialist + care practitioner, certified through Innate Traditions of Postpartum Care, which was developed by midwife Rachelle Gracia Seliga, and focuses on teaching the essentials of postpartum care, and mother-centered wellness, to ensure a smooth transition for families, postpartum.
I, myself, am a mother of 2 (2 boys aged 5 and 1 and-a-half) and I founded Better Postpartum to combine all of my knowledge, along with the best care practices as told by experts in the field of maternal wellness, such as midwives, lactation consultants, baby sleep specialists, nutritionists, therapists. I wanted to do this so that women would finally have the information and education they needed to feel empowered to face their postpartum period in a way in which they could take better control of their own health. I want to be able to teach them how to avoid or alleviate all of the most common postpartum challenges, including first recognizing the symptoms, and then taking the necessary steps to relieve PPD/PPA– and experience them with lesser duration and intensity (if at all!).
What do you specifically do for the mom once it’s been established she clearly is suffering from PP issues?
There are a variety of things I can do for a mom who reaches out to me, who is clearly suffering, and it usually starts with a phone consultation. In speaking directly with a mom, I can truly listen, hold space, and also, begin to help establish the areas in her postpartum life which may be causing her the greatest amounts of distress or distress, and then make recommendations accordingly. I act in this realm as an educator and a connector–making sure that women are first A). Aware of the signs and symptoms of a variety of postpartum challenges, so they can identify what ails them, and B). That once their issues are identified, they know the proper next steps/channels that exist to serve and support them to remedy their particular areas of struggle. Essentially, I connect them to resources, or tell them which medically trained specialists exists to support them in their well-woman physical, mental and/or emotional care.
Do you connect moms to therapists or how do you decide whether someone need extra support vs needs to be put in touch with a therapist?
The answer is yes, I have connected moms to therapists, or in some cases, just suggested that moms connect with a therapist (as you can never force anyone, naturally). Finding the right therapist is something that I believe could benefit absolutely anyone, regardless of severity of needs, and there are many moms who sound perfectly fine when you speak to them that would still benefit from having a third party to help them process the events–such as a traumatic birth–or any event taking place in their lives as a new mother. Though of course, a woman finding the right providers to support her on her pregnancy and postpartum journey is a lot like dating, and I encourage mothers not to be discouraged if the first one they meet isn’t “the one.” However, when severe cases strike–I first utilize the PSI hotline–and get real-time advice on how I can speak most appropriately to a mother who is in a situation that needs to be diffused right away, so as to never leave a woman stranded in her exact moment of need.
What about medication? I hear many moms who don’t want to take it or think they have to wean nursing, which isn’t true.
I will preface this by first-off saying, I am not medically licensed and therefore cannot recommend or prescribe any medications to mothers myself (that is where referring to a therapist or medical doctor may prove helpful), but I am in no way against medication being used as a “bridge back to wellness” for mothers who are in need of such assistance. Medication is especially useful for either those who are severe, or, for those who may simply feel that they have ‘already tried everything’ and nothing else has worked for them, so it would bring them peace of mind to have a prescription. The Better Postpartum online postpartum education and support program offers holistic remedies and advice that most women can use as “preventative medicine,” or, a “first course of action,” but if further intervention is necessary, and medication is necessary to bring a mama relief, they would of course be encouraged to seek that.
What do you think works best for someone who maybe can’t recognize herself what is happening?
Education. Plain and simple. You can’t know what you don’t know! Enabling women to receive general education about the signs and symptoms helps drastically, because if the diagnosis is at first ‘self-realized,’ as opposed to ‘a judgment made by a third party,’ a person is more apt to seek proper support channels, as seeking help becomes intrinsically motivated. And also very powerful is community sharing on our online Instagram platform @betterpostpartum. Because having a strong social community through which you have access to hearing the stories of other’s journey’s, helps women to connect the dots to their own experience, and recognize what is happening to them.
Do any dads or family members reach out to you?
Yes. They do indeed. We always try to start by getting the mothers access to the Better Postpartum program (or, one of the individual sessions featuring a particular specialist that may be able to solve their issue). The content in the full 8-week program, which is entirely video-based and delivered in bite-size daily e-mails (so it’s very manageable even for a stressed new mother to consume), offers very helpful and healing perspectives which can alleviate much of the mental and emotional distress that the mother may be feeling for having the experience she is having. The program also offers midwife and lactation-consultant-tested and approved physical healing techniques, so that a woman can start feeling better, postpartum! For most of the things family members have reached out to me about, setting mothers up with the program has been a great first step, which offers transformative results. Because the program features the voices of 16 different specialists who together discuss all of the most common postpartum challenges that affect women, including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, lactation issues, health issues, healing-from-birth issues, healing-from-trauma issues, life-and-relationship issues–etc. etc., there is truly something in Better Postpartum for everyone.
And my main wishes would be that A). Learning about the postpartum period would become JUST AS MAINSTREAM as learning about childbirth has become, and that B). women would choose to absorb this education while still pregnant, in preparation for their postpartum time, so they can use what they learn as “preventative medicine.”
M.J. Golias conducted this interview and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children. After graduating from the University of Memphis with an MFA in poetry, she moved to New York City where she taught English as a second language. She had poems published in numerous journals, one anthology, and had one Pushcart Prize nomination. She now stays at home with her children, amazed at their imaginations. And after she thinks they are asleep, she writes.