Part Two – Braving Motherhood: One in five women will experience postpartum depression
47 ABC — May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and as many as one in five women will experience postpartum depression. In honor of that, 47 ABC is airing a new three part series called “Braving Motherhood: One in Five”.
In the second episode in the series, we introduce you to Meisha Shockley. The Salisbury mom of three founded the Shore Grace Family Wellness Center to help people transition into parenthood. It’s important that we share the details of her story before we further explore the specifics of postpartum depression.
“I think because it’s so taboo to struggle with motherhood, it’s hard to ask for help,” says Shockley.
Meisha Shockley is making it her mission to normalize the messy parts of motherhood. “I experienced a lot of anxiety. A lot of isolation. A lot of sadness. And I was kind of going through the motions but didn’t realize something was wrong with me.”
She opened the doors of Shore Grace Family Wellness in Salisbury after a complicated second pregnancy. “It was explained to me that I had something called Preeclampsia. I had never heard of it. It’s a blood pressure condition. It can happen during pregnancy but it can also happen postpartum.”
From there, her journey became even more challenging. “I spent four weeks on hospital ridden bed rest fighting with my blood pressure until a Monday morning they came in for my check and they told me the blood flow had stopped going to my daughter through her umbilical cord and I would need to have a C-section that day.”
Adeline was born at 27 weeks, weighing 1 pound. After watching her daughter through an incubator at the NICU for more than 3 months, they were finally ready to go home. “When I left the NICU, when we were discharged, we were discharged in July. So I was there from April to July. And when I came home, we came home to nothing.”
Between losing her job, taking care of a medically fragile baby and getting pregnant for a third time Meisha says things started to pile on. Postpartum depression was in full swing. “I had stopped taking a shower, stopped taking care of myself. And I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had a conversation with my husband and he was like I think it’s time that we get you some help.”
But the help available wasn’t on the Eastern Shore and she longed for a sense of community so she turned to social media to share her experiences. “I would share that you know what today I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t get all the Pinterest recipes. I didn’t follow the neat schedule. My kids look crazy. They’re still wearing what they had on yesterday. I just started to be honest about my life where I was and what I was doing.”
She became a Doula which is basically a birthing assistant but still longed for more and so Shore Grace was born. “The vision that I had for it was that we would just be a collaborative support entity that we would have everything from mental health to doulas, lactation consultants, someone that we could talk to about safe sleep and making the necessary connections in the community with the people who were already her.”
She believes her own motherhood journey helps her provide inclusive services but Meisha says mental health is by far the main component of Shore Grace and that looks different for everyone.
“I want to help women who are braving motherhood. I want to help women who are needing that empowerment. I want to empower them to feel like the best parents. The best moms that they can feel like that’s what I needed and every time I help a woman that walks through these doors, I free a part of myself,” says Shockley.
While Meisha has had a variety of experiences as a mother, she says she’s in no way an expert. She just wants to help guide others to the resources they feel are right for them.
The final part of our series “Braving Motherhood: One in Five” airs on Wednesday during the 47 ABC Newshour. During part three, we’ll introduce you to two Delaware moms who share their experiences with postpartum depression and what resources helped them.
If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, reach out to Shore Grace or your doctor for help.
You can also call or text the Postpartum Support International hotline at the numbers below:
- Call 1-800-944-4773 (English and Spanish)
- Text a Message: 503-894-9453 (English) or 971-420-0294 (Spanish)
The hotlines are available 24 hours a day, you will be asked to leave a confidential message and a trained and caring volunteer will return your call or text. They will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement and connect you with local resources as needed.