Lisa Tremayne is one incredible maternal mental health advocate. After going through fertility issues and delivering triplets that had to be treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Lisa suffered from postpartum depression and struggled herself to get help.
“Within 72 hours of all my babies being home with each on a three hour feeding schedule, and each feeding taking about two hours – I’m a total mess,” writes Lisa in a blog post for the Maternal Mental Health Research Collective. “My worried thoughts turned to non-stop racing thoughts. I was unable to sleep even if all the babies slept at once. Unable to swallow from anxiety. Unable to control this bubbling rage I felt. I mentioned my racing thoughts to my OB at my post op check – he assured me it was nothing, and that a shoe shopping expedition would bring me back to normal. Based on all my risk factors, I should have been screened for depression and anxiety immediately. But I wasn’t.”
Lisa, a registered nurse, was frustrated at the lack of help for women experiencing a maternal mental health disorder and began helping as many women as she could.
“I started giving out my cell phone number to keep in touch with these women,” writes Lisa. “At the same time I started getting them to the help they needed – therapy and medication. All without owning my own story with anyone but these soul sisters. Women who were feeling what I had felt.”
Lisa went on to found the Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey, “one of the few mother/baby programs for PMADs in the United States” according to the Bloom Foundation website.
And, in response to a call from Canadian advocates recently to include maternal mental health as part of the conversation during Canada’s iconic Bell Let’s Talk annual mental health awareness campaign by using the hashtag #Bellletstalkmaternalmentalhealth, Lisa rallied her moms to help out. She creatively created “The Mask I Wore” photo campaign in which moms were asked to send in photos of themselves looking happy with their babies when in fact, they were suffering from a maternal mental health disorder. The photos were then shared using the #Bellletstalkmaternalmentalhealth hashtag in the U.S. and in Canada. By the end of the day, Lisa helped garner over 13 million impressions on Twitter.
“It started with a simple request. A simple request from a formidable woman,” writes Lisa on the Bloom Foundation website. “Claire Zlobin, founder of Life With A Baby asked for some stories. A little blurb or two about why maternal mental health is important. This simple request took a circuitous route. I considered writing about the road it traveled… the conversations about the origins of lying and Patricia Meyer’s TED Talk, the bravery of the #metoo campaign, the strength that comes from vulnerability, or even my own personal struggles of surviving the grief of my mother’s passing… all stops on the road that led to The Mask I Wore. While each stop was necessary in the journey, the women below are the destination. These are the Masks They Wore”