Local organization raises awareness about perinatal mental health

MILWAUKEE — This Mother’s Day weekend, and all month, Moms Mental Health Initiative (MMHI) in the Milwaukee area is working to normalize and raise awareness for perinatal mood disorders and anxiety with the #MyPostpartum social media campaign.

“We wanted people to see the reality of what it’s like in this postpartum period when someone is dealing with a mental health disorder,” said MMHI co-founder Sarah Bloomquist.

Sarah Bloomquist

Sarah Bloomquist and her two children. Bloomquist suffered from perinatal mental illness and later co-founded MMHI.

The organization encourages mothers to use the hashtag #MyPostpartum to share their stories and show a “full range of motherhood experiences”.

But it’s not just this month that the organization is working to help mothers in the Milwaukee area. Year-round, MMHI helps mothers struggling with mental health issues, whether during or after pregnancy, access resources and support.

According to the CDC, postpartum affects one in 9 women. Women of color may be twice as likely to have symptoms, but are also less likely to seek or receive help.

LaCretia Moss is a mom of three and said she wouldn’t be here without MMHI’s help.

Moss said her life has always been filled with joy and positivity. She even calls herself a unicorn.

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“I like helping people, I like seeing the bright side of life, I like believing that you can handle anything, that you can get away with it,” Moss said.

Given her positive outlook on life, she said she was shocked when she ended up suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis after giving birth to her third child.

“It felt like something was climbing through my whole body and ripping my soul, my life and my joy away from everything that was important, and everything that mattered to me, I had no feelings or emotions,” said Moss.

She knew she needed help, but she struggled to get it. She said many clinics told her they were full or that providers minimized what she was experiencing.

She remembers telling medical professionals, “I need more help. I said I need someone, I need help, I’m struggling. And it had been maybe three or four months and I was still trying to find someone to help me.”

Although Moss said she was still working on her mental health even seven years after the birth of her son, she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support she found at MMHI.

“It’s better. You’ll see each other again. You can mourn the woman you were, but kiss the woman you are.”

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Aubrey L. Morgan