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EARLY YEARS: Local mom shares her experience with postpartum depression

Huddle Up Moms and Postpartum Support Virginia are offering help session for new moms February 5
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:00 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Mom of two Karin Kaerwer says her pregnancy with her oldest daughter, Jill, in 2015 was a smooth one.

But despite the happy smiles in pictures, things didn’t feel quite right.

“Right around six weeks, I started feeling, like, a pit in my stomach every time I woke up and just this overwhelming draping of fear and anxiety,” says Kaerwer.

Kaerwer says those feelings kept getting worse.

Her low point came during a winter storm in 2016.

“The snow was falling, and it got to about 20-some inches, and I had a major panic attack. Like, I’m trapped. I’m going to be feeling like this forever. I’m stuck,” she says.

What Kaerwer describes is common for moms suffering from postpartum depression.

Other symptoms can include headaches or muscle pains, feelings of anger, and changes in eating habits.

According to the CDC, as many as one in five women suffers from postpartum depression.

But help for it hasn’t always been easy to find.

”I was looking online to see if there were mom groups, so I could connect with somebody who maybe was experiencing something similar, or had in the past, and I really couldn’t find anything,” says Kaerwer.

Huddle Up Moms is answering that call.

The Roanoke-based non-profit started two years ago.

”Huddle Up Moms, our mission is really to educate, empower and connect women to the resources the need to thrive,” says Executive Director Jaclyn Nunziato.

This month, it’s teaming up with Postpartum Support Virginia.

“One of the things I love about our group is that we not only work within the health care system, but we work as a community. So, we have mid-wives, doulas, social workers, athletic trainers,” says Nunziato.

Kaerwer found the help she needed.

With her second daughter, Elise, she was under the care of doctors and therapists, which made her postpartum experience much better.

“They saved me from myself. They were incredible at helping me understand that taking care of my mental health is indeed taking care of my baby,” says Kaerwer.

Kaerwer says she realized what she was feeling didn’t make her a bad mom.

She says all moms need a tribe of support. And if you’re suffering, don’t try to handle it on your own.

“People from the outside need to reach in and say it is going to get better. You are going to be okay. With treatment, you will be fine,” says Kaerwer.

You can register here for Huddle Up Moms’ virtual meeting Friday, February 5 on postpartum depression.

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