HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Becoming a parent is a huge undertaking met with a wide range of emotions. Sometimes those feelings can develop into a crippling state of mind, especially for women.
Psychiatrist at Pine Grove Outpatient Services, Siddeeqah Bilal, noticed there’s a population of women in the Pine Belt who need mental and emotional help during pregnancy.
She talked about a new clinic looking to offer that help to women. One mom in the Pine Belt said that clinic could have helped her.
Four in a half years into their marriage, the Hollingsworth family decided to expand.
“Everybody says it comes naturally, well, it did,” Whitney Hollingsworth began.
Fast forward to September of this year, Hollingsworth easily became a mom of three. Her youngest is the only girl.
“But with my second things felt different,” Hollingsworth said.
Hollingsworth said after the birth of her second child there was a shift. She said on the outside she seemed like a functioning mom, but on the inside she was drowning. She said feelings of anxiety, guilt and shame were constant. She recalled keeping that feeling for a year and a half, through her third pregnancy. Her husband encouraged her to open up.
“I just would think, ‘If I just like left and they had like another mom that was happier and more fun and, you know, wasn’t so on edge all the time they would all be so much happier.’” she said.
Hollingsworth said talks with her husband led to getting help from her pastor and her doctor. She was able see her thoughts of failure were not real, but the result of postpartum depression.
“I didn’t think that’s what depression looked like,” Hollingsworth said.
Bilal said the range of emotions that come with starting a family looks different for every woman. That’s why, Pine Grove Outpaitent Services started the Women’s Clinic at Pine Grove.
“We treat not only anxiety and depression, we will also treat bi-polar," Bilal said. “We’ll also get into issues with miscarriage and infertility for women who are having difficulties having babies.”
Bilal is the director of the program, but she said she doesn’t work alone. The center has a staff of mental health professionals offering therapy and care for women during this sensitive stage.
“We do individual therapy. We do group therapy. We have a really specific treatment plans for whatever it is that you need, based on what you need and also what you want,” Bilal said.
Hollingsworth said a program like Pine Grove’s Women’s Clinic would have helped her, but now that she is on the other side of her postpartum depression, she wants to use her story to encourage women to seek help and know they’re not alone.
“Be open... to not keep it all to themselves, to not try to hide from it, because that’s when it can smother you,” she said.
Hollingsworth said she is willing to share her story with women. She also offers pregnancy and birthing services as a Doula. You can visit her website at www.lybirthservices.com.
To reach the Women’s Clinic at Pine Grove call 601-288-8050.