Student Highlights

Prenatal & Postpartum Mental Health – Student Highlight Jacqueline Soule

February 16, 2023

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.


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Life is full of experiences that create our unique personal perspective. Each human’s perspective is the lens in which they focus their observations through. A woman’s life journey is complex, expansive and full of opportunities for growth. This applies during pregnancy, postpartum, and into motherhood, probably more than any other time in her life. Although puberty and menopause will also be monumental. Your mental health is as beautiful and unique as you are! Exposing our inner self with/to others, from simple thoughts or ideas to concerns or difficult problems, can be scary to share especially when we feel we need help. 

Midwifery is the sacred art of honoring, supporting, witnessing, teaching, and loving each woman on her journey through pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Each midwife is a human herself with her own unique life experiences and knowledge. She is NOT a hero or a savior or the leader of your journey. What she IS is a safe, compassionate, and intuitive woman to share and confide in. The amount you wish to utilize this is always up to you. With each woman at the center of her own care, making all the decisions for herself and baby, my passion is building a trusting partnership with you through spending time together in conversation, laughing, crying, and working together to reach your goals. I hope to be a woman who you are comfortable discussing even the difficult and private topics that pregnancy and birth bring about. So together we can seek solutions and the appropriate care!

Categories of Mental Health Issues?Who Can Mental Health Affect?  
Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)Depression Eating Disorders Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)MothersFathers & intimate partnersNewbornsOlder children in the household
What are the Risks & Stressors?What are the General Mental Health Signs & Symptoms?
Culture & environmental components Migrant statusSingle motherMiscarriage, abortion, stillbirthUnplanned pregnancy (even if welcomed)Food security Drug or alcohol useSleep deprivation Birth trauma & PTSDMental, physical, and/or sexual abuse (current or past)Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness Misuse of alcohol and/or drugsExcessive fear, worry, or irritability Decreased interest/pleasure in all or almost all activities Social withdrawalDramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits Appetite and/or weight changesFatigue or loss of energyAches, headaches, or digestive problems Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or guiltDiminished ability to think, concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day Recurrent thoughts of deathSeeing or hearing things that are not there


Birth Trauma is a very real physical & mental health concern for women who have given birth. This is something that could still be affecting you from a previous birth experience. Or maybe something you recognize having seen in your mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends. This can also affect witnesses to birth trauma including fathers, partners, doulas, nurses, midwives, and doctors. We are learning more and more every day about the psyche and there is a lot of hope for healing & processing so we can feel whole and safe again! As you read through the information below, take your time and give yourself space if this feels too big and scary to look at alone, I am here to look through it with you.  

What are the Birth Trauma Risks & Stressors?What are the Birth Trauma Signs & Symptoms?
A mother who felt a lack of control, support, and proper careBirth injury to the childChild’s stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)Emergency C-sectionHigh levels of medical interventionInductionLack of privacy and/or dignity during the birthLack of postnatal carePerineal traumaPoor communicationProlonged laborSevere postpartum hemorrhageSevere preeclampsiaStillbirthUse of forceps or vacuum deliveryWomen who have experienced rape or sexual abuse in their historyAvoiding things that remind you of the trauma, such as seeing the hospital where you gave birth or avoiding meeting women with newborn children.Feeling constantly alert, irritable, jumpy, and fearful that something terrible is going to happen to your child.Feeling unhappy or guilty that you are responsible for your traumatic childbirth. You may also have difficulty remembering parts of the birth.Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive memories.Physical painNauseaShakinessSweatingLack of sleepIntense mood swingsReckless behaviorPanic attacks.

What Steps Can We Take To Heal?

Tools are meant to create a picture of what might be happening, so the best resources for your unique situation can be found. I am not a mental health professional, but want to support you in finding the right person to help, if that is needed. Below are resources on mental health that share knowledge and tools.

Self HelpHerbal Allies 
Great nutritionQuality sleepMindfulness practice Time outside & exercise Strengthening your social support network including your partner  
* Recognizing when you need more than just these things listed above
Skullcap Chamomile Lemon balm AshwagandaPassionflowerValerian
Healing ModalitiesBooks (I have available to share)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) Managing Anxiety Through The Butterfly Method | & The Butterfly HugEmotional Freedom Technique (EFT)A Mind of Your Ownby Kelly BroganHealing After Birth by Jennifer SummerfeldtIlluminating HerStoryby Arianna AllowaySurvivor Momsby Mickey Sperlich & Julia Seng
A Radical Conversation about Birth Trauma and Healing with Jennifer Summerfeldt How to Deal With Fear in Pregnancy | Indie BirthMeditation For the Womb Space: Connecting With Your Internal Knowing | Indie BirthPregnancy After Loss: Straight Talk About Working Through the Challenges | Indie Birth Self-Care is Not a Bubble Bath | Indie Birth Dealing With Depression and Anxiety | Indie BirthHerbal remedies to fight off depression – susun weed  Fatigue and Mood Changes – Susun Weed The Pregnancy HUB (for BC residents)Postpartum Support International – PSI Postpartum Progress, Top Postpartum Depression BlogWomen Fleeing Violence | BC Housing 

Screenings & Assessments Options

Lab A1-1 The General Well-Being Scale


Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) 

PASS Assessment | Postpartum Health Alliance

Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) – Legal Aid NSW 

Local Support 

North Peace Pregnancy Care Centre – 

Baby’s Best Chance – through Community Bridge 250-785-6021 Baby’s Best Chance FSJ Facebook group 

Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society – 250-787-1121  

Hotlines/Important Numbers

Postpartum Support International at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)

VictimLinkBC: 1-800-563-0808 (toll-free, 24/7, multilingual service available)

Battered Women’s Support Services Crisis Line: 1-855-687-1868

BC 24/7 Community and Social Services Helpline: 211

WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre’s Crisis and Information Line: 1-877-392-7583

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  1. Katie Craig says:

    This is very thorough, thank you!

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