Local moms get real about postpartum depression and local support group

Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 26, 2023

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Local moms Rina Hennes Sabes, Julia Cohen, and Rivkah Kahlani all have something in common. Each one of them say they've experienced postpartum depression symptoms with their firstborns, feelings you don't always hear about.

"We really struggled with nursing, that was much harder than I ever thought it would be and I think that really impacted my ability to be a good mom," Sabes said.

Cohen said she had a difficult pregnancy and, "thinking about postpartum, I think a lot of that anxiety continued. It was a lot of Collick, a lot of crying."

Kahlani said, "I was just totally out of touch with myself, I really wasn’t in my body at all. I wasn’t excited to have a baby, I was fearful."

The moms shared that these experiences created a lot of disappointment in themselves, shame, guilt, and resentment sometimes toward their babies.

"There are really high highs, and really low lows," said Kahlani.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most new moms experience the "baby blues" which only last a week or two after their baby is born.

Postpartum depression is more intense and lasts longer.

Symptoms may begin during pregnancy or after birth and include depression, severe mood swings, a lot of crying, difficulty bonding with your baby, loss of energy, anxiety, and much more.

"I think there’s a lot of 'shoulding,'" said Cohen. "Like it should be easier, it should be better, I shouldn’t feel this way. A lot of guilt and shame kind of wrapped up in that."

The CDC says that 1 in every 8 mothers experiences postpartum depression symptoms.

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System says that in Michigan in 2020 specifically, 13.4% of mothers reported having symptoms.

"I felt like why can’t it be easier? Why is it so much harder than I was told it would be?" Sabes said.

These are thoughts that as fate would have it, led Hennes Sabes and Cohen to meet together and form a postpartum depression support group with Jewish Family Service and JFamily.

Both women are clinical social workers with Jewish Family Service and say the group came together incredibly naturally.

"I think within a week or so all of the spots were filled," said Cohen. "People showed up and returned week after week."

Each of their support group programs is open to everyone, they meet once a week for 6 to 8 weeks.

Kahlani and her baby Leah have been members.

"No matter how shallow or deep our share was, how emotional or funny, everyone was there with a listening ear. It was so nice to not 'get advice' about everything, just word vomit in a nonjudgemental space and feel uplifted and 'accepted,'" Kahlani said.

Hennes Sabes and Cohen say their main goal is to debunk the toxic societal messages about what being a "good mom" looks like.

They hope after hearing their stories you'll know that you're not alone in your feelings, you are exactly what your baby needs you to be.

"Just know that help is available, and you will get better," said Cohen.

"You don’t have to do this alone," said Hennes Sabes.

If you would like to sign up for one of the future support groups you can reach out to the team at this phone number or email address: