Bekah: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to today's episode from Power of MoMMA's Voices. My name is Bekah Bischoff and I am the Program Manager. Today we'll highlight a certified patient family partner and talk about her experience during pregnancy, after birth, and how she came to MoMMA's Voices for her advocacy journey.
We hope this will show our listeners different stories, advocacy styles, and how we are all a community. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Kate Boydston. Kate is a survivor of placental abruption, gestational diabetes, and postpartum anxiety and depression, as well as a NICU stay. Thank you so much for being here with us today, Kate.
I have really enjoyed following your journey and accomplishments, and I would just love for you to share a little bit about your birth story with us today.
Kate: Thank you, Bekah, for inviting me to share my story on here. I'm one of the three-in-four women who went undiagnosed [00:01:00] with maternal mental health struggles after having my first son. I went through a traumatic birth with him, which was the placental abruption, and after that came a NICU stay. During that time, it was about 12 months that I went undiagnosed with maternal mental health struggles. I did not know that I was going through all of those postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms until 11 months later when one of my friends had reached out to me and saved my life.
She gave me the resources that I needed and the motivation to get started on researching all about what I was going through. But it wasn't until I was four years postpartum that I eventually got settled with a therapist that I enjoyed that really listened to me and helped me heal from my traumas, which is when I had my second, and that's where I experienced gestational [00:02:00] diabetes and probably would've had postpartum depression and anxiety if I didn't go through the trauma therapy that I went through after having my first, so, just to back it up just a little bit, while I was pregnant with my first, I did not know that I was having a boy, and I think because there's many unknowns during my pregnancy, I was really cautious about bonding with the baby during my pregnancy after he was born, I went through that very traumatic experience of the placental abruption, and it made it even harder for me to bond with him after because I was so uncertain of where we were in our mother and son bonding experience to know where to even begin with that bonding process.
Because he was NICU, he was taken away from me right after being born, so it was even harder to have that bonding experience with him. [00:03:00] But from there, I have been able to find time for myself to have that healing and to be able to bond with him in other ways to make up for all those times that I felt like I had missed after I first had him.
Bekah: Oh, I just felt everything that you just said, and I'm so grateful for your friend who really, truly saved your life because it brought you to MoMMA's Voices and for me to get to know you. And I just have so enjoyed getting to know you. Thank you for sharing your story. I
know that you are passionate about sharing it.
And no matter how long it's been or how many times you've told it, it's still it still can be , hard to share. So thank you for coming on and talking with us. I'd love for you to talk about how
you got involved in sharing your story and how you found
out about MoMMA's Voices.
Kate: Of course. So I am a pageant girl at heart way before having children.[00:04:00]
And because of that it was part of my therapy process to be able to go through my story and be able to tell it in an educational way without getting so emotional about all of the pieces that I went through. So I really used a pageant experience which sounds kind of silly, but it was also self-care for me.
So being able to know that I had a goal of being on a stage, being an advocate for maternal mental health really gave me an area to set some goals for my therapy. So I was able to practice telling my story to my therapist, practice walking through every piece of my story of that traumatic birth without getting upset or emotional.
I was able to find places in there that I wished I had educational practices given to me and be able to share that with other moms or other family members so that they were more aware of how to support a new mom in their families or themselves. [00:05:00] So because of that, I found MoMMA's Voices and I found MoMMA's Voices through joining Mom Congress and social media really.
So being able to find different resources while I was going through my therapy was helpful to find MoMMA's Voices because then going through the training to become the Patient Family Partner, I was able to also go through all of that practice of telling my story and being able to use it in that educational aspect that I wanted to as a goal with the help of everybody in MoMMA's Voices supporting me throughout the way to be able to then use my voice as an educational purpose or a patient with lived experience in the real world
doing day-to-day things with my state and CDC, so that has been amazing and an amazing experience to be able to do, and really an ultimate goal when I [00:06:00] started my therapy.
Bekah: I love how it all just has been woven together with your love for being in pageants and storytelling and all of that.
I'm also just so happy that you found us and, and joined us in our advocacy efforts. I would love for you to share a little bit about the different ways that you've been able to use your mom voice for awareness and advocacy. I know that you've been able to be paired with some engagements for us and we're just
so very proud. And I would also love for you, if you can, to talk about how you've used your platform as Miss New York American.
Kate: Sure. So going with the how I used my mom voice, I have been able to be on different webinars with doctors different groups with New York State and the CDC. I'm currently working with a group doing equity for NICU since I'm a NICU [00:07:00] mom, and I've been able to help with the perinatal mental health condition safety bundles, which has been an amazing experience because I'm able to feel like my
voice is actually making an impact in my state and community, and hopefully travel through the nation at one point. So, It has been an honor to be a patient with lived experience because I can say to someone, I think you should add this because of this, and I feel like it's been eye-opening to hear other moms at the same time that are like, oh yeah, I experienced that also.
So it's being able to use your voice and really speak for the majority of people who feel like they went unheard during their pregnancies and labors. And I think that that's really important. So during my pageant work, I have been able to, put my voice out on a platform [00:08:00] that's international really, and be able to talk about my experience with MoMMA's Voices and being a patient with lived experience and all of the extra work that MoMMA's Voices has been able to graciously bring me
to be able to share my story, and that has been through different podcasts, through interviews, TV interviews different media sources, and working with AIM. So I think that because of all of that, my mom voice has been able to travel internationally and that's all due to MoMMA's Voices and the training that I received as a Patient Family Partner in the beginning, and then all of the experiences that have added onto that, that have really created this community of other women that have been supporting each other through difficult
stories and being able to educate other women so that they don't go through the same experiences that we did.
Bekah: Thank you for sharing this. You have [00:09:00] done so many wonderful and amazing things. I know that I had the joy of watching one of your pageants and was so impressed with your grace and your poise, and was watching cheering you on, wishing that you had been the one who won, but you were a winner in my book.
What advice would you give to someone listening who wants to get involved, but is just kind of stuck or maybe just doesn't really know where to start?
Kate: So I think that it's really important to know where you are in your healing journey, even as a bystander of someone that you know, that went through a traumatic experience or just some type of story with their birth or labor or pregnancy.
So I think knowing where you are in your journey and then being able to join a group like MoMMA's Voices that are able to help you get to your level of where you should be in order to be able to make an impact in your community. It's not a [00:10:00] quick overnight process. And just to remember that healing is not linear.
You're going to go through different emotions while you're healing. And I think that it's important to find your group of people that will support you in getting to that ultimate goal that you're looking for. And I found my people through MoMMA's Voices.
Bekah: Oh, we are so glad that you found us. Thank you so much for sharing with us today.
I know that this is gonna be so inspiring for our listeners to learn about you, our beautiful advocate, and mom behind the crown, Kate. And thank you so much for being on, and thank you to our listeners for tuning in today.
Kate: Thank you.