Hello and welcome to my site, a place to store my articles and blog posts when the urge to write strikes me. My name is Patricia Tomasi. I’m two-time postpartum bipolar disorder survivor and freelance journalist for HuffPost Canada. Most days I’m just a girl who wants to lie in bed – alone – with a really great book. Some days I want to write a really great book but never seem to get around to starting it.
Life As A Journalist And Mom
As a journalist, I’ve covered it all from political campaigns to Shania Twain and everything in between. But that all changed in 2009 after the birth of my first daughter, Eva. That’s when I began to suffer from what I would find out either years later to be postpartum bipolar disorder. Then, in 2014, following the birth of my second daughter, Celeste, I once again began to experience symptoms of postpartum bipolar disorder and got myself on meds stat. Both times, I experienced first hand, the difficulty in navigating the health care system and the inexcusable lack of help for women who are suffering from the most common complication in pregnancy and postpartum. That’s when I decided to focus my journalism work exclusively on maternal mental health.
Life As A Journalist, Mom, And…. Advocate?
(Shhh… I’m a biased journalist on the side of moms who need better health care.)
It didn’t take me long to become an advocate. In 2017, I joined the Maternal Mental Health Research Collective as a Patient Expert Advisor. In 2018, I spoke at March for Mental Health Toronto and during World Maternal Mental Health Day at the first-ever march in Barrie. Presently, I’m working with fellow advocates to create the Perinatal Mental Health Coalition of Canada, our country’s first national advocacy group calling on the federal government to create our first-ever, national maternal mental health strategy. If this is a group you’re interested in joining, please send me an email (email@example.com).
Why Canada Needs A Maternal Mental Health Strategy – NOW
One in five Canadians will be affected by a mental illness this year, and that includes pregnant and postpartum women who may develop a range of maternal mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
According to new guidelines released by the Government of Canada, depression affects about 10 per cent of women during pregnancy, and 20 to 40 per cent of women with a history of depression will suffer a relapse postpartum. Despite this, Canada does not recommend perinatal depression screening, while Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States all do.
Advocates like myself are calling for:
- A national maternal mental health strategy;
- Universal screening for all women for maternal mental health disorders from preconception to one year postpartum and beyond. We need to talk about the symptoms not often spoken about including intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, heart palpitations, muscle tightness, brain fog, derealization, depersonalization and in some cases, delusional thinking, hallucinations, and psychosis;
- More training for health care providers from nurses to obstetricians, to family doctors, to midwives; and
- More resources in every community in Canada to help women with a perinatal mood disorder such as therapy, support groups, home care, and a dedicated maternal mental health units with beds for mothers and their babies.
If you’re looking for 24/7 peer support, join my Facebook group which has grown to over 2000 women worldwide. No selling, no judgment, and it’s completely private.
I’d really love to hear your story. Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s fix the system now, so our daughters don’t have to.