The Vehovic Family - Inspiration for Pars for Postpartum Depression Golf Outing
Noona and her husband Bill always knew they wanted children. After several IVF attempts, they were blessed with a healthy baby boy that they named Elliot. Shortly after coming home with Elliot, Noona started to feel overwhelmed and anxious. What should have been a joyful time soon turned to debilitating dread and self-loathing for Noona. She was overcome with worry and fear of irrational thoughts, and often would sleep very little at night as a result. Noona often felt like she was in a constant state of depression and anxiety, which quickly became debilitating. One morning, Bill awakened to find his wife inconsolably crying and unable to care for herself or Elliot. Bill called several ERs, but due to her postpartum status, many of them had little to offer. Bill and Noona returned to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, where Noona was admitted for evaluation and diagnosed with Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA).
Noona started treatment in an intensive outpatient program where she learned cognitive behavioral techniques and started on medication therapy for PPD/PPA. Over several weeks, she began to improve and was discharged from the program. However, the symptoms of Noona’s PPD/PPA persisted for 13 months and would need to undergo further treatment in an outpatient setting. Throughout this struggle, Noona and Bill overcame several challenges for care including timely access to treatment, lack of disease specific therapy, and spousal support resources.
In 2020, Noona and Bill welcomed their second baby, a little girl they named Avelin. Noona continued her therapy and medications throughout her pregnancy. Within the first several weeks, symptoms of PPD began to show. Noona began utilizing the resources offered at the New and Expected Mother Skills Training Program (N.E.S.T.) through UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. This program was made possible through funds raised at the Pars for Postpartum Depression golf outing which Bill and Noona both founded and co-chaired. By participating in this program, Noona was able to receive both individualized and group therapy with other mothers impacted by perinatal mood disorders. She learned to utilize skills to address depression and anxiety symptoms, increase mother and child bonding, and improve emotional wellness. Early recognition of symptoms, timely access to treatment, and disease specific therapy greatly helped Noona, Bill, and the family unit.
After completing the N.E.S.T. Program, Noona has been able to enjoy motherhood, free from depression and anxiety. They can’t thank those enough who helped them at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, as well as all who supported the annual Pars for Postpartum Depression Golf Outing.
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