You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories of Hope and Healing.


Meg Howard photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Meg Howard – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

I care about maternal mental health because I know what it feels like to be suffering and reach out for help, only to be told: “you have makeup on, your hair is done. You don’t look as bad as the patients I see with postpartum depression and anxiety. I am not going to just write you a prescription. That is not what I do.”

The medical advice that I was given by this OB doctor, was that it was probably just some normal stress now that I was a mother of two, or maybe it was “just the baby blues” (I was 7 months postpartum at this point). The doctor’s recommended solution was that perhaps I just needed some local college students to serve as childcare and take my children out of the house to give me a break during the week.
I left this appointment feeling defeated and speechless by the doctor’s casual attitude toward the symptoms I had described, and the fact that I had shared with her that I have suffered from depression and anxiety in the past and recognized the signs coming back.

I knew I could not give up. My children deserved a better me. I deserved to be better for myself. So, I called my primary care doctor for help with postpartum depression and anxiety, and I was told the earliest appointment available was more than one month away. I couldn’t wait this long to get help. I couldn’t keep living like a sad spectator of my own life.

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Suzanne Nelson photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Suzanne Nelson – Why I Care
Founder, Shades of Light

My drive and passion for PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) stems from my own experience. My first son’s birth and postpartum period was filled with extreme anxiety, depression, fear, and debilitating physical, and mental breakdowns.

Despite numerous doctors, hospital visits, and well-intentioned “counsel,” no one diagnosed or recognized my postpartum illness. No one thought to run bloodwork or ask the right questions, and was, at times, advised to go into a secure psychiatric facility, without knowing what specifically the cause was. It was hell on earth, in the most literal sense. I had resigned myself to my eventual death, and struggled to function and survive each day. At approximately 4 months, I finally had a thyroid test which showed a result of 0 TSH. Simply put, I had hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone) so extreme, it wasn’t able to be charted. I subsequently had my thyroid radioactively destroyed and have to take replacement medication for the rest of my life. It was at least 18 months after my son’s birth before I can say I had normalcy in my life.. 

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Chanel Jones photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Chanel Jones
Birth Doula – Chanel’s Comforting Doula Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

I My name is Chanel Jones, and I had my daughter in my junior year of college. It was unplanned and I had little to no support throughout the pregnancy, along with the baggage of a toxic relationship. Despite all of this, I was optimistic about making the most out of my circumstances, and took a proactive approach to preparing myself for labor and life as a mom and student.

I had a very healthy pregnancy. Since I was a student without a car, I walked regularly, did my yoga daily and swam 2-4 days a week. Unfortunately, towards the end of my pregnancy, I carried over an extra 2 weeks, and in the last week before her birth, my daughter decided to change positions, so her head was no longer perfectly placed.

The day before her birth, I went to see my OBGYN, and we confirmed plans to be induced the next day. However, that same day I got into a huge argument with my daughter’s father. I banged my fist against the door, and then I felt a pain in my stomach. Shortly after I went to lay down, and that’s when I felt it. My water broke. I slowly got out of bed and made my way over to the bathroom, to find meconium was also in the amniotic fluid. 

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Lindsay Conley photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Lindsay Conley – Why I Care
Founder, Welcome Mama
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Community Outreach Work Group Chair – PRCNY's WNY PMAD Task Force

I still struggle to maintain balance and healthy practices in my own life, but “Why I Care”? I care because it gives me purpose, taking away the stigma from a topic that has affected me so deeply. I care because I don’t want any other family to feel as lost, alone, and confused as we felt. I care because I want others to have easy access to local resources, including other women’s compelling stories of struggle and survival. I’m so very proud to play a small role in telling people about the Postpartum Resource Center of New York and so happy to help connect other moms with support.

Read Welcome Mama Founder Lindsay Conley’s complete story of “Why She Cares” at Welcome Mama – WNY’s Holistic Directory for Birth and Early Parenting.


Carol Harnist photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Carol Harnist
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Why it Matters to Me

I write this with the hopes and prayers that no other woman may ever have to experience the isolation and shame that Postpartum Depression/Psychosis bestowed on my life. It kidnaps our minds and menaces our new fragile and innocent families with its deception. I can assure you of this, because my family and I were one of Postpartum’s victims.

At thirty eight years old my prayers to become a mother had finally been answered. Once pregnant I was elated and nervous, but I anticipated the birth of my son and could not wait to hold him in my arms. I did everything in my power to maintain my health and the health of my unborn child throughout the pregnancy. His father, also a first time parent, was helpful and we attended all the appointments and classes offered to us. At no time was Postpartum Depression, (or worse) Psychosis ever discussed with us. It is the big PINK ELEPHANT in the room. Imagine holding your beautiful healthy child and excitedly looking forward to bringing home that child only to realize that darkness awaits you just around the corner. I brought my son home with his father. Expecting the recovery to take a little time, I settled in and looked forward to being a hands on mother.

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Julie Ende photograph for Sharing Our Stories.

Julie Ende – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62
Western New York PMAD Task Force  Member

I’m Julie. I’m the mother of three beautiful boys ages 9, 5 and 2. I’m also a survivor of Postpartum Depression.

Nine years ago I began a journey I never expected. My symptoms actually began during my third trimester which means I also suffered from antenatal depression. In my gut I think I knew what it was but I tried to brush it off as normal anxiety about becoming a new mom. During this time I’d get what I could only describe as a “twinge of sadness” most every time I felt the baby move (essentially any time I had a physical reminder that I was pregnant).

My son’s delivery was difficult. Some might call it a traumatic birth – keeping in mind that the definition of traumatic is different for each individual. There was meconium present when my water broke so we knew that this technically classified us as a high risk delivery. Four and a half hours of pushing, and three vacuum assists, later my baby was whisked away to be suctioned so that none of the meconium would make its way to his lungs. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord and I didn’t get to hold or see my baby for what felt, to me, like an eternity. This all just contributed to my sadness. I just didn’t feel right. The rest of that night is a blurr. I don’t even remember where my baby was as I was moved from labor and delivery to maternity. My hospital stay continued to be rocky. I couldn’t sleep, he wouldn’t nurse… I never even changed his diaper. I always sent him back to the nursery; usually with both of us in tears. In hindsight I don’t understand how the maternity nurses failed to see all the signs that something was wrong with this new mother.

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Carolina Zaharako photograph with children for Sharing Our Stories.

Carolina Zaharako – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62 NYC Supporter – New York County

I can’t really recall the first time I ever heard about postpartum depression. What I do recall is that the idea of it definitely struck me as very surreal. For sure, this only happened in the movies, I thought. Another made up mental illness brought to us by Big Pharma to get people hooked up on the next money-making psychedelic. Little did I know that years later, I would have a starring role in my very own postpartum experience.

My name is Carolina and I am blessed to be the mother of two amazing, happy, healthy beautiful souls. Today my girl is 7, my boy is 5 and we’ve come a long way! The endless, sleepless nights are over and seem like a lifetime away. Today, I see two unique little individuals with their very own personalities and infinite possibilities ahead of them. It is hard to believe that, for so long they were 100% dependent on me.

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Carolina Zaharako
Por qué me importa Centro de recursos de postparto del voluntario
de Nueva York Centro de recursos para después del parto del proyecto 62™
Nueva York partidario de nuevo York - el Condado de Nueva York

La primera vez que escuché hablar sobre la depresión post-parto, la idea me pareció algo surreal. Seguramente esto solo ocurría en las películas, pensé. Otra enfermedad mental inventada por las grandes farmacéuticas para hacer negocio con la última droga psicodélica. Nunca imaginé que años después sería yo protagonista en mi propia experiencia de postpartum.

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Mary Banahan's family photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Mary Banahan - MS, PA-C, LCCE
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's
Project 62 Advocacy Team Leader

Why do I care? Why do I care about mothers who experience suffering, grief and despair when they should be experiencing joy and happiness on the birth of a beautiful new baby? Why do I care about mothers that I don’t know, that may come from different backgrounds than I do, that may never know my name? Because I am one of them; because I know their pain and share their grief and despair. Because I lived it and I don’t want any other new mother to live it. That’s why I care.

When I suffered from Postpartum Depression 15 years ago with my second son, I did not know then that it would lead me onto an incredible journey of helping other women who suffer with PPD. All I knew then was that crying was an every day event for me; that awakening every morning to the start of a new day only brought me anxiety and despair about how I was going to make it through the day; that life had no joy, only sorrow. I had a beautiful 3 ½ year old boy, a new baby, a husband, and supportive family and friends, but I wasn’t happy. The fact that my new son wasn’t gaining weight and had severe reflux only made matters worse and I was obsessed with his gaining weight. PPD often does not occur alone; it often brings anxiety and obsessive compulsive symptoms as well. As a Physician Assistant skilled in making diagnoses of my patients, I was unable to make my own diagnosis, to see the severity of my illness.

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Bridget Croteau - Mrs. Suffolk County photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Bridget Croteau – Mrs. New York USA Ambassador 2020
Author, Me, Again: How Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Transformed My Life
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

After having a wonderful and “easy” pregnancy with my first daughter, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I had a difficult, long and unexpected induction, a NICU stay for my daughter and lots of trouble breastfeeding.

I felt alone, scared, miserable and like I couldn’t handle anything. I felt like a complete failure. I felt inadequate as a wife and mother and felt enormous guilt. I felt like I was to blame for how difficult the birth was, my daughter’s NICU stay and because I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed. I also felt that my family would be better off without me and didn’t need me around. I often thought of packing some of my belongings and moving elsewhere by myself. I also had difficulty bonding with my daughter when she was first born. I had expectations of this wave of “love and euphoria” flowing through me when I held my daughter the first time. I didn’t feel this at all and I felt horrible about it.

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Winter Paris photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Winter Parris
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

Who knew I, Winter Parris, would ever be in a place filled with so much self-love and compassion! Almost 14 years to the date of the birth of my eldest son. Let me give it to you straight, those first days, months after the birth of my son wasn't easy and parenting as a whole is the most challenging job there is, and at times, I didn't think I would make it through. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, but "joy comes in the morning" so I'd take one day at a time. Frankly that is an understatement I would take one moment at a time, not thinking of my next step, or things to do, because that would complicate my moments and cause chaos.

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Julissa Zambrano photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Julissa Zambrano – Mrs. Nassau County, New York
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

As I sat with my newborn I had so many overwhelming feelings that I couldn’t explain. They were all so confusing and conflicting, I knew I was supposed to be happy because I was blessed with this little human being, but all I could think of was darkness and emptiness.

I felt alone despite friends would visit me for few hours; the minute they left the emptiness engulfed me again. Nothing anyone said or did for me could make me happy, I couldn’t make myself happy. At times after my first born I found myself crying all the time, I thought this was normal, I watched enough t.v. to know that women cried a lot after pregnancy because their hormones were still adjusting. WOW, what a misconception! I didn’t know what was wrong with me, my husband didn’t know what was wrong with me, and that scared us. It scared me! I felt as if the world was going to swallow me up and at times I would welcome the world eating me up alive. This emotional roller coaster went on for months and what seemed to be years. Honestly it did go on for years.

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Renee Pizzuto and family photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Renée Pizzuto – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's
Project 62 Staten Island Team Leader

I care because I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. Trapped in my own head, ill-equipped to understand or escape my own thoughts from what seemed to be an undefinable loss of self.

I care because I know what it is like to lack the insight, the words and the clarity to articulate thoughts and emotions when enduring postpartum. Not to mention trying to explain how I got “here.”

Who would understand?

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Annette LaMorte photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Annette I. LaMorte, M.D. – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

I am a reproductive endocrinologist, an OB-GYN who specializes in the care of women during their reproductive years. My genetic pool is dotted with depression. How could I have depression 6 weeks into my pregnancy and not make any one aware of it? I am a doctor who should know better. It turns out, that like today, depression during pregnancy was not talked about.

Although I felt sad most of the time during that pregnancy, I was not able to tell any family member or friends. I did not want to burden any one. I felt guilty and alone. I did not want to be perceived as weak or as a complainer. I had a 3 year old boy and a husband who I had to stay strong for. I got through each day behaving as normally and “happily” as I could. I had childcare to help me out and used it as much as possible. My judgement was clouded by my depression and seeking medical help did not cross my mind.

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Wendy Isnardi and family photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Wendy Isnardi – Why I Care
Author, Nobody Told Me: My Battle with Postpartum Depression
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer

Being a mother was something I dreamt of since I was a little girl and In July of 2002, my dream came true. My beautiful baby girl was perfect In every way she could be, and more. Although, I had a rough delivery that ended up in an emergency cesarean section, I was elated. All that I wanted to do was love her and give her my undivided attention, which I did — but that joy and happiness was very short lived.

I was an attentive mother, almost to a fault. I wouldn't let anyone else care for her but me and my husband (sometimes). I “obsessed” over her — I was so afraid that she would get sick or get hurt. I watched her sleeping to make sure she was still breathing — I just loved her so much. Then one day, everything changed. In the blink of an eye my happy life turned Into a deep, spiraling depression that I called “Hell”.

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Heather Sherman and her son Owen's photograph for the You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories page.

Heather Sherman – Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Postpartum Resource Center of  New York's Project 62 CNY Supporter - Onondaga County

Watch and listen to Heather's Story - The Struggles of Postpartum Depression are Real. To view on Youtube, please click here.

Postpartum Resource Center of New York
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders:
Finding the Help you Need.
Serving New York State Families Since 1998

In New York State please
email us or call
State-wide Helpline:
Toll free: 855-631-0001

Hablamos Español
For help outside of New York State and the United States,
please contact the Postpartum Support International.
The information on this site is not intended to diagnose
or treat any medical 
or psychological condition.
Please consult your doctor for individual advice

regarding your own situation.
The Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc.
is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Tax ID# 11-3449880

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