Produced by Dan Ryan for St Mary’s Medical Center

Following the birth of her second child, Darlene Behrman found herself struggling with what is commonly known as the postpartum blues. “After I had my baby, I just felt overwhelmed,” she says. “I felt like I had no control over my emotions, and it was starting to affect my family.  I knew I needed to get some help.”

Darlene found the help she was looking for in Leslie Gibson, a Certified Nurse Midwife at St. Mary’s OB/GYN clinic. “I needed someone who was confident and knowledgeable, but easy to talk to,” says Darlene. “I made that connection with Leslie. She made me feel at ease and comfortable in speaking out about what I was experiencing. I didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.”

“It’s important that women feel that they can speak up,” Leslie says. “Most new moms have some postpartum anxiety. It’s hard to be a mother. We kind of catch your baby and hand you this little bundle and say, ‘you got it,’ and that’s just not how it happens. New moms need a support system that goes beyond labor and delivery, and as a provider with five kids of my own, that’s always been close to my heart.”

“I think a lot of women are afraid to reach out,” adds Darlene. “They just had a baby and think everything should be perfect and when it’s not, they hesitate to speak up. It’s important to empower women to know that it’s okay to reach out for help.”

As a Certified Nurse Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner, Leslie is specifically trained to care for women throughout their lifespans. “People commonly believe that midwives are there just for pregnancy and delivery, but we provide a full spectrum of women’s healthcare from the time they start their periods to menopause and beyond. From postpartum care to hormone management, reproductive health and mental health, anything that has to do with women’s health is our area of expertise.”

Darlene says that when she came to see Leslie her expectations were to be heard and cared for on a personal level. “It was really about establishing a relationship in which we could work together to address my concerns. Leslie allowed me to be part of the plan, offering options and empowering me to choose my path of treatment. Together, we found the right route.  Now that I’ve seen Leslie, I have more energy and a healthier outlook on being a mom. She has made such a big difference.”

Leslie says that being a mom can naturally be overwhelming for women. “There’s a lot of pressure. And it’s not just the emotional side of things, it’s also physical. Your body is changing, your hormones are changing. It’s a gigantic shift from growing a little human in your body for nine months to now having it in your arms. A lot of new moms just need a little help making that transition, and that’s what we’re here for. It’s our passion.”

“Leslie has helped me feel like a better mom and a better woman,” Darlene concludes. “My relationship with my family is better, my emotions are in control, and I’m enjoying life again. I really encourage other new moms who are struggling postpartum to reach out and get help. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and believe me, you’re not alone.”