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“As a society we need to fully recognize that that when a child is born, so is a parent” With Actress Meagan Gordon Scheuerman

As a society, it would be helpful if we could recognize more fully that when a child is born, so is a parent. The transition of adding a child to a family — whether it is the first or the fifth — is a delicate and fragile adjustment. Paying more mind to check in on […]

As a society, it would be helpful if we could recognize more fully that when a child is born, so is a parent. The transition of adding a child to a family — whether it is the first or the fifth — is a delicate and fragile adjustment. Paying more mind to check in on the mother as much as we do the baby, would be an improvement. Also, placing more realistic expectations on the postpartum period (i.e., taking away the pressure of “bouncing back” after baby) could also help with the maternal mental health of women.


As a part of my series about “Mental Health Champions” helping to normalize the focus on mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Meagan Gordon Scheuerman. Meagan is an author, actor, mother, business owner, music teacher, and person, but not necessarily in that order. Her book, Babies Are The Worst: A Memoir About Motherhood, PPD, & Beyond, was published in 2018. After experiencing postpartum depression with her first child for nearly a year without realizing it, she knew it was important to share her story so that others may recognize their own symptoms sooner. An advocate for maternal mental health, Meagan hopes to let other mothers know they are not alone if the adjustment to motherhood is not what they expected. Before penning her first memoir, Meagan worked as an actor in NYC and LA for over a decade, played on a few game shows, and did some random modeling. She’s likely been in your living room without you realizing it. She grew up in Ft. Pierce, FL, graduated from the University of Florida and is finally putting her English degree to use. These days you can find her teaching music to babies and toddlers, chasing her own kids around, and still dreaming of getting her Oscar one day.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

“Babies Are The Worst: A Memoir About Motherhood, PPD, & Beyond” is not the book I thought I would write one day! As someone who never experienced mental illness before developing postpartum depression after the birth of my first child, I was completely blindsided by my diagnosis. In fact, it took me nearly a year before I realized that I needed to seek help. I was unaware of the symptoms to look for and I was ignorant about how depression can look different on everyone. I decided to share my story and become an advocate for maternal mental health to help other parents feel less alone when faced with the most common postpartum complication that can occur.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

Specifically, with maternal mental health, there is such shame and fear associated with a postpartum condition diagnosis. We are sold the idea that motherhood should be the pinnacle of human experience; that we should feel a love unmatched and a bliss unattainable elsewhere. So when PPD doesn’t allow us to feel these things, we immediately feel broken, robbed, heartbroken, and afraid. Afraid that “they” will want to take our children from us or that we could be deemed unfit. Fear that we are trapped in this fairytale of motherhood that doesn’t match the reality of our experience.

Can you tell our readers about how you are helping to de-stigmatize the focus on mental wellness?

My book’s title, in particular, is an invitation to other parents to feel less alone. To know that they aren’t the only ones thinking that “babies are the worst.” By being open and honest about my experience with PPD, I hope to give others permission to explore the possibility that there is nothing to be ashamed of if they struggle or have struggled with postpartum issues as well.

Was there a story behind why you decided to launch this initiative?

When I was in the thick of my mental illness, I didn’t recognize it. I equated depression with sadness but that wasn’t what I was experiencing. Instead, I had a lack of emotion, marked not by sadness but by a feeling of nothingness. Not sad, not happy, not excited. Instead of experiencing the full gamut of my emotional life, I experienced an absence of emotion. The one emotion that I retained was anger. That anger fueled bitterness and stripped me of hope. Knowing now that depression can look so different on everyone, I felt it was important to give a voice to what I went through so that others can recognize a broader spectrum of symptoms. I also found that the more I spoke about my postpartum depression, the more I heard from others who had gone through similar struggles. People I never imagined had any complications with perinatal health would chime in with their own stories and confess that they had struggled too. It felt like by sharing my truth, others felt the permission to do the same. We all feel a little less alone when we speak our shame and we are met with “me too.”

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

As individuals, we can work to both be more open with our own struggles and more open to hearing about the struggles of others. This can be as simple as changing the script of our standard lines of conversation with one another. One of the most common questions I was asked as a new mother was, “Aren’t you just loving it?” And the answer was “no,” but I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be honest. I was ashamed that my answer was negative and I didn’t want anyone to doubt my love for my child. I wish I had been more honest with myself and with others but I also wish people would be more mindful of how imposing expectations of an experience or a state of being can be harmful. Simply asking, “How are you feeling?” instead of “Aren’t you feeling happy/love/excitement/etc?” can help open up dialogue in a more compassionate way.

As a society, it would be helpful if we could recognize more fully that when a child is born, so is a parent. The transition of adding a child to a family — whether it is the first or the fifth — is a delicate and fragile adjustment. Paying more mind to check in on the mother as much as we do the baby, would be an improvement. Also, placing more realistic expectations on the postpartum period (i.e., taking away the pressure of “bouncing back” after baby) could also help with the maternal mental health of women.

A mother’s physical health is checked on by their doctors once or twice after a baby is born. A mother’s mental health is not routinely checked on. With the number of hormonal adjustments, a woman’s body endures with pregnancy and the postpartum period, in addition to the inevitable sleep deprivation that occurs, adding routine mental health screenings after a baby is born could be beneficial to many women. There is a plethora of information available on what to expect from our baby during pregnancy through the first year of life but when it comes to maternal care, the resources are more limited. Making sure that women receive information on how to recognize postpartum issue symptoms and where to go for help, could be a step in the right direction.

What are your 6 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Carving out time for myself is a challenge as a mother of two but it is also key to my wellbeing. I joined our local OrangeTheory Fitness a little over six months ago and have been working out three times a week ever since. Having that time to focus on both my physical and mental health has been incredibly beneficial. Finding a community of friends that understand and support each other during our motherhood trials has been another way to maintain balance with my mental wellness. Music and singing also play a huge role in my mental health. I am a music teacher for newborns and toddlers and connecting with these families each week through songs and play is an important outlet for me. Practicing mindfulness (and it is a practice!) when spending time with my family is a strategy I also use to promote wellness. Focusing on the moment with them instead of worrying about chores or other tasks that are waiting to be done can sometimes be a challenge. But reminding myself that these moments when my children are young are fleeting helps to keep me focused on the intangible instead of the dishes. Knitting while listening to podcasts is a great way for me to unwind and reset from the stresses of the day. And finally, but most importantly, the more open I am with my family and friends about the challenges I’m facing on a day-to-day basis, the better I feel. The anxieties and the stresses I am dealing with can sometimes build up and I have to remind myself that it’s ok to not be ok. And that talking about what I’m struggling with goes a long way in lightening the load.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

I follow on Instagram a community of maternal wellness advocates that inspire me daily. Jamina Bone (@mommingwithtruth), The Postpartum Stress Center (@postpartumstress), Kristina Delaney (@pmhadvocate & founder of @cherishedmomorg), Emily Kasel (@mamacoaster), Jen Schwartz (@motherhoodunderstood), Laura Benanti & Kate Mangia’s account @mamas_for_mamas_, Faces of Postpartum (@facesofpostpartum) and This Mama Wines (@thismamawines) are just a few of the accounts that are helping to tear down the walls that perinatal mood disorders build. Their honesty about the postpartum period adjustment and how motherhood, in general, can be — the ups and the downs and the in-betweens — is not only refreshing but necessary.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring

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