Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative
Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative
Patient Expert Program /

Sam Nenninger

Over the Last 7 Years I’ve Gone From Sufferer to Survivor

When I was handed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) on a piece of paper at my six week postpartum appointment, I remember reading each of the ten questions numerous times; slowly and carefully. “That’s it. I AM crazy” I thought to myself. None of the questions were like the jumbled ball of continuous horrific thoughts going on in my head. “Anxious or worried and scared or panicky for no good reason”….oh no, I had a very good reason. My mind raced every minute of the day with intrusive thoughts about me hurting my newborn. I was terrified of the thoughts and of myself. I didn’t know who I was any more.

From Sufferer to Survivor

My journey over the last seven years has seen me go from sufferer to survivor. To peer support leader and now maternal mental health advocate. I’ve grown increasingly troubled that during this time little has changed in how we screen moms. It’s great that more and more providers are screening, but it’s hard to accept that ten questions can cover the vast array of symptoms a mom could be experiencing. It’s even harder to accept that the EPDS is originally from 1987 and nothing more comprehensive has come along.

Work as a Patient Expert Advisor

This is one of the reasons I took advantage of the opportunity to work with the Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative. They understand the need to push forward with research. The MMHRC isn’t complacent with the idea that, “at least we are doing more than we used to”. I’m so excited to work with other like minded individuals that are passionate about this missing aspect in the PMAD puzzle. I look forward to exploring other more extensive screening tools and presenting information to providers in the language they understand; research!

Sam Nenninger is one of the Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative’s Patient Expert Advisors. Click here to find out more about this awesome group of moms with lived experience.