177: The Loss of a Postpartum Mother and Wife

05.18.2020 - By Mom & Mind for Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health

Download our free app to listen on your phone

No one will escape this life without feeling the pain of loss, and there is no better way to channel that pain than through creating something beautiful out of it. In today’s show, you’ll meet a devoted husband and father who wasn’t content to wallow in his loss on the sidelines. He’s turned his pain into purpose as he helps countless families through the challenges of maternal mental health treatment. Steven D’Achille is president and founder of The Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation for Postpartum Depression. He’s an advocate for maternal mental health issues because he realizes that women’s health is a family health issue. His passion is creating access to care for struggling families. He’ll go deep into his story today, sharing how postpartum depression took the life of his wife, Alexis. I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the board of Postpartum Support International with Steven, and I’ve seen up close his passion and dedication springing from the horrible and unnecessary outcome of his wife’s death. He is changing the landscape in Pittsburgh and wherever he goes to share his wife’s story and the foundation in her name. Steven is a passionate advocate for fathers, in addition to his support of maternal mental health because he realizes the need for caring for the whole family, especially fathers and partners. As his six-year-old daughter, Adriana puts it, “He wanted to change the world.” **Sensitivity Notice: Difficult topics are discussed in this episode related to suicide. If you aren’t in a place to listen today, feel free to find the episode at a later date. Show Highlights: Get to know Steven and his story that began with the traumatic birth of his daughter, Adriana How Steven’s wife, Alexis, believed that her first act of motherhood was to damage her child How things started unraveling almost immediately for Alexis, who knew she needed help How Alexis experienced serious anxiety and saw an LCSW for coping mechanisms, receiving a PTSD diagnosis The increased anxiety, shame and stigma, and scary options More symptoms included depression, insomnia, and loss of appetite The disconnect between psychiatric care and Ob care for mothers How HIPAA rules prevented the pediatrician from notifying anyone of her concerns about Alexis How Alexis was prescribed an antidepressant and the depression escalated to suicidal thoughts; her plea for help went unacknowledged How Alexis begged to be admitted for weeks and then hung herself in their basement--just 14 days after beginning the new antidepressant How the system failed Alexis How Alexis survived to get to the hospital and make it to ICU How Steven got clarity on how to move forward and make something good come out of Alexis’ tragedy, to get other moms the help Alexis could not get How The Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation’s hospital treated 3000 moms in 2019 The family services provided by the foundation The importance of a father’s perspective in going through this journey and raising a 6-½-year-old daughter without her mom How our laws protect puppies more than we do moms and babies The reality of postpartum depression treatment in the US---and what needs to change The power in telling your story What the new standard of care should be Resources: Alexis Joy Foundation Facebook: Alexis Joy D’Achille Foundation for Postpartum Depression: @Alexisjoydachille Instagram: @ajd_foundation  

More episodes from Mom & Mind for Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health