Grieving Husband's Nonprofit Helps Over 6,000 Moms With Postpartum Depression

While the arrival of a new baby can be among the most exciting moments of a parent's life, it's also something that can have significant effects on their body and mind.

There are a wide variety of side effects that giving birth can have, but one of the most serious can come in the form of postpartum depression.

But while this has always been a widespread condition, it's only in recent years that parents have been encouraged to identify and seek treatment for this issue rather than suffer in silence.

And after the old way of thinking had devastating consequences for a Pittsburgh family, one man is engaging in powerful mission to ensure his tragedy doesn't happen to others.

When Steven D'Achille met his wife Alexis in 2008, the attraction was instant and they became inseparable enough to get married the following year.

By 2013, Alexis would be pregnant and while most of that period went smoothly, things quickly changed for her when her daughter Adriana was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

In D'Achille's words, "My wife believed that her first act of being a mother was damaging her daughter. She just unraveled."

This triggered a case of postpartum depression, which gave way to a rarer condition called postpartum psychosis that was likely influenced by her family's history of bipolar disorder.

And while she was prescribed antidepressants, D'Achille observed that doctors tended to dismiss her when her symptoms persisted.

In September of 2013, the couple visited several different facilities as she hallucinated her baby's cries, overthought every aspect of her care, and became well aware that she was experiencing suicidal ideation.

As D'Achille put it, "Alexis knew she was in trouble. She was abundantly clear with what she was scared would happen. But it was always, 'Go home. You're not crazy.'"

But on October 10 of that year, she would pass away in an ICU unit two days after D'Achille discovered her unconscious body.

In the devastation after this occurred, it was clear that D'Achille thought deeply about how doctors treated his wife in the days leading up to that incident.

That led him to start the Alexis Joy D'Achille Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to raising awareness and funds to support those dealing with perinatal anxiety and other postpartum mood disorders.

As he said, "It's been my therapy. I don't want Alexis's death to be for nothing."

And after five years, D'Achille found an opportunity for his work to have an even more direct impact on the lives of new mothers.

That's because by 2018, he was able to garner support from the Allegheny Health Network that he needed to open the Alexis Joy D'Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital.

This center offers a variety of programs for pregnant people, new moms, and their families that include therapy and childcare services. So far, this center has treated approximately 6,000 women.

In D'Achille's words, "It's too late for Alexis, but my daughter, God willing, is going to have children one day, and I don't want her to face roadblocks we faced."

h/t: People

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