Lindsay Gerszt came on the podcast for our first ever guest interview! She is one of the producers to the Netflix documentary “When The Bough Breaks” and is an advocate for maternal mental health. I’m so glad we have someone like her on our side sharing this important topic with moms.
We asked her a few questions about her journey with her maternal mental health issues and hope that her story can help you.
She has suffered with depression, OCD, and anxiety for her whole life. At age 5 she suffered from OCD and did therapy for that even though they didn’t really know what that was, so she never got the help she needed. It later transformed into severe anxiety growing up. But as an outsider, no one knew. She led a “perfect” life.
At age 19, she suffered her first bout of depression. She was attending the University of Colorado and it got so bad she quit school. She moved back home to Miami where she stayed in bed for 6 months until Zoloft started to work for her.
After that she went to school near home and started working in the music industry. She started feeling like her life was getting put back together. At this point in her life, she felt better.
She felt stable from then until the birth of her son, Hunter. To verify, stable meant she wasn’t completely happy. It was common to feel stressed out and always worrying. Relationships were hard to keep because she thought too much.
She did meet her husband and quickly they got married. After 3 months together, they were engaged, 10 months after that they were married, and 5 months after they found out they were expecting. During this life transition, she moved into a house and got a new puppy.
This is a huge adjustment in and of itself, felt overwhelming to her, So when she got pregnant, she suffered with depression during pregnancy (). This was a huge warning sign they she knew she needed to prepare for PPD.
During her pregnancy she was seeing a psychiatrist, she was being monitored on her medication, she felt like she had a game plan for when the baby arrived, and she thought she was prepared.
During pregnancy, her anxiety hit a high point. Lindsay was scared of everything, to the point that if she didn’t feel him kick in an hour, she needed a ultrasound then and there. Often times she’d eat sugar because that would result in the baby kicking.
Lindsay’s Birth Story
As some mothers unfortunately experience, she had a traumatic birth experience. Her nervousness caused her to be induced because she wanted to know when he was coming. She was given Pitocin and an epidural and still after 38 hours wasn’t ready to come. Her doctor said he couldn’t deliver her. A new doctor came in with 30 residents watching, used forceps and did an episiotomy to get him out. Because of the constant pushing and extremely long labor, they gave her pain killers. As a result, Hunter was born completely out of it. He didn’t cry and they called call blue on him. That was the beginning of motherhood for Lindsay.
What She Believes To Be Her Risk Factors
- History of depression
- Traumatic birth experience
- Antepartum depression
The Turning Point For Lindsay
After 2 days in the hospital she came home, The first night there was no sleep. The next morning she woke up, went downstairs, sat on her couch, looked at her mother who was there, and said “Here we go. I’m in hell.” So she had been through this roller coaster before, but with a baby involved, it’s so much tougher! You have a house, a husband, and baby to take care of, it’s hard to find time for yourself.
The Super Mom Complex is Hurting Us
Even for moms who have a beautiful delivery, get great pictures after and all done up, they’re still exhausted. And then on top of it, we’re expected to continue life as it was while throwing a baby in the mix.
We wanted to ask Lindsay this question to let other moms know that there’s more available to you than just medicine and therapy.
Just because these interventions worked for her, doesn’t mean they will for you. Also, just because they didn’t work for Lindsay, it may quite possibly help you. So please keep that in mind 🙂 Everyone has their own story.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Helped retrain her brain and see things in a different way instead of seeing it as so disastrous.
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): Helped a lot with her repetitive thoughts. She talked about an image she remembered while giving birth that would pop into her head and make her physically sick. The EMDR reduced the amount of times this image popped in her head and not having the physical reaction.
- TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation): Didn’t work for her. She shows this through the film and says “If this works, it’ll be worth, if not, I’ll be devastated.” She was devastated. To be clear, it has helped people, but it was a painful experience for her. Caused back pain in her experience.
- Acupuncture: Helped calm her in the moment.
- Oxygen Chambers
- Light Therapies
- IV Drips
- Inner Work & Self-care (Emotionally & Physically)
Bolded text was Lindsay’s most impactful treatment.
Don’t give up. Always put one foot in front of the other. Something will work.
You don’t just get over it.
We need to treat mental illness like any other illness. If you had heart disease or diabetes, you would need a healing protocol. And nobody what you use, forget about what others think. This is YOUR life.
Lindsay’s Most Embarrassing Mom Moment
I love how she says it happens all the time. Her last “mom fail” was she got up and got ready for school. Fed the dogs, made lunches, took the dogs out, and all the normal morning activities. They get in the car to go to school, drive to school and when they hit the parking lot, her son says “We forgot to eat breakfast, and where’s my lunch?” She made it work.
Where To Find Lindsay
You can watch the documentary “When the Bough Breaks” on Netflix: https://www.whentheboughbreaksfilm.com/#/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/whentheboughbreaksdoc/
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