After a distraught mother dropped her twin baby boys off at a suburban firehouse Wednesday night, the co-owner of Postpartum Wellness Center in Hoffman Estates wants women in similar situations to know there is help available.
"Pregnancy and postpartum times in a woman's life can be most difficult," says Katie Kmiecik. "They are most likely to experience clinical depression and anxiety and just the pressure, the sleep deprivation."
The young woman who dropped the boys off did so about 1:30 a.m. and they were both in good health, Chief Mickil Smith said. The boys are between six and 10 months old, and Mickil praised the mother for her decision to bring the children to a safe place.
"We see kids left on the side of the road, we see children left in dumpsters, we see children frozen solid outside and this mom made a responsible decision," Mickil said. "Although it may not be popular, it was probably the best decision for her as well as those kids."
Kmiecik says it's not uncommon for mothers to feel this way and that she's experienced her own troubles after her daughter was born.
"I felt anxiety, it hit me right away," she said. "I didn't connect to her, I wasn't excited, I kind of played the part but I just knew 'oh my gosh,' I was not supposed to be a mom."
She says her mind played tricks on her telling her that she was a danger to her child.
A friend reached out to her, she said, and got her help, but her story is not uncommon.
At least one in every seven women experience a diagnosable perinatal mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or within the first year of their child's life.
"It can range from anything from you're just not feeling like yourself, not eating, or eating too much," Kmiecik said. "Not being able to sleep even when the baby is sleeping, checking the baby constantly, calling the pediatrician constantly."
She recommends that women having difficulties or seeking help dealing with postpartum depression reach out to their doctors or find resources through Postpartum Support International's website or by calling 800-944-4773, as well as the Postpartum Wellness Center.