NVFP Presents:

Breaking the Stigma – Insights and Solutions for Postpartum Depression

PMADs (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders) are the leading complication for mothers in the postpartum period. Many families struggle with differentiating PMADs from postpartum blues and typical motherhood stress.

Join Dr. Cecily Havert and Dr. Yasmin Banaei as they review the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety, learn how to differentiate them from typical motherhood hardship, learn about cultural contributions to the high rates of PMADs in the US, as well as talk about prevention, interventions, and resources for optimizing maternal mental health.

Event Highlights:

  • 0:14 – 3:57 – Dr. Cecily Havert begins the town hall event by introducing her two guests, Dr. Yasmin Banaei and Dr. S. Abbas Shobeiri. Dr. Shobeiri is a gynecologic surgeon board-certified in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at Inova Health System. He is also a talented artist who recently had a powerful art exhibit in the DuPont Underground Gallery featuring pieces showing how compassion and medicine intersect through images of grief, pain, loss, and healing. His artwork is featured throughout Dr. Banaei’s presentation. Dr. Banaei is a psychiatrist in private practice in Washington, DC with a sub-specialization in reproductive mental health, focusing on treating women who experience emotional or physical difficulties during the reproductive life cycle.
  • 4:00 – 12:16 – Dr. Banaei begins her presentation by discussing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which she describes as “a catchall phrase for the emotional complications that can happen both during pregnancy and after birth.” She discusses how PMAD’s are the number one health complication for women postpartum, why we have such a high rate of PMAD’s in the United States, risk factors for PMAD’s, and more.
  • 12:25 – 16:57 – Dr. Banaei shares what she conceptualizes as two culturally dominant archetypes of the “good mother.” Those two archetypes are the “natural nurturer”, and the second is the “supermom.”
  • 17:05 – 21:09 – To share an example of the impossibly high norms that women face, Dr. Banaei shares an imitation case study of a new mother, seven weeks postpartum, and the challenges she is facing. Dr. Banaei will continue to reference this case study throughout the presentation.
  • 22:30 – 29:44 – What do PMAD’s tend to look like? How do depressed mothers feel? Dr. Banaei shares common thinking patterns of depressed mothers, such as holding unrealistic expectations for themselves as a mother, and for their babies too.
  • 30:03 – 37:15 – A common question Dr. Banaei receives in her practice is “Is what I’m feeling postpartum depression and anxiety? Or is this normal stress?” Dr. Banaei discusses examples of more “typical” stress in the postpartum period and refers to the case study.
  • 37:24 – 40:00 – “Moms often forget to eat and feed themselves because they’re so preoccupied with feeding the baby. And especially if the baby is being breastfed that even when breastfeeding goes well, it tends to be quite a demanding and difficult process. So, mom loses sight of her own nutrition often.” Dr. Banaei talks about the importance of sleep, nutrition, and support for the new mom during the postpartum period.
  • 40:14 – 47:30 – How do we decide between therapy or medications? Dr. Banaei discusses interventions for postpartum depression and anxiety and how she and her clients chose what intervention route to take.
  • 47:47 – 51:40 – “I think it’s helpful to check in and review how I think the postpartum period is going to go. What are my expectations of myself? What are some realistic expectations that I can take away? What are things that I value in my postpartum journey?”
  • 51:56 – 53:38 – Dr. Banaei finishes her presentation with a poem by Kate Bear, as well as shares resources and contact information for organizations around the Northern Virginia area.
  • 54:33 – 1:01:24 – Dr. Banaei answers questions from attendees, and then Dr. Havert closes out the presentation by thanking Dr. Banaei and Dr. Shobeiri for their time and for presenting.


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