Tascheleia Marangoni is a mother of three who runs a small dance company.
After having suffered postpartum depression symptoms with two of her children, Marangoni decided to point her business skill experience in a new direction, leading to the creation of the Postpartum Depression Awareness Project.
A fundraiser for that project will take place in Kelowna on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2 to 5 p.m. An art auction will be hosted by The Alternator Gallery at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (suite 103, 421 Cawston Ave.). Proceeds from the auction will benefit the PPDA.
Marangoni, who is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal and has been cited for other awards for her supportive efforts for mental health treatment initiatives, says she has “mostly but not completely” recovered from postpartum depression.
“There are still dark, obsessive thoughts that hide in the corners of my mind that I fight every day to keep at bay,” said Marangoni in her biography posted on the www.ppda.ca website.
“Through helping others I can feel myself healing and then in diving into the depths of it all, I am forced to visit places in my mind I would rather not go.
“But it is all a part of my life and who I am. I have been rewarded with three beautiful children whom I love so much and would not trade them for anything; a little sacrifice is worth this happiness for sure.”
Marangoni’s issues with postpartum depression began with the birth of her first child, a girl she named Bella, at age 22.
She and her husband arrived home a few days after the birth as proud parents, and with the realization neither had a clue how to carry on. While the baby was nursing well, Marangoni said she began to have feelings of being overwhelmed by the task of new motherhood.
“I am a fairly emotional person—I feel too much and think too much—this is ultimately my doom,” she recalled. “My heart lept with every little cry Bella made and right from the beginning, without realizing it, I was worrying all the time about everything where my baby was concerned.”
A common reaction to the baby when a mother has postpartum depression is to either reject the child or go to the other extreme and become over-protective of the baby.
For Marangoni, a few months after Bella was born, she began to realize something was wrong. She thought she was going crazy, when in fact she was developing postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder.
“I remember one day looking down at my hands and realizing they were red and covered in a million tiny cuts from washing them constantly,” she said.
“I think I really thought I was losing it. I began developing all these strange little routines for things, I was counting everything and couldn’t stop. I obsessed and worried about a million things and felt very overwhelmed, sad and alone.”
For Marangoni, it got harder to get out of bed each morning and she dreaded the start of a new day. “Things as simple as getting dressed and eating were very hard. Leaving the house seemed as difficult as climbing a mountain. I lost a lot of weight at this time because I just couldn’t eat. I felt this way for close to a year.”
She tried talking to her husband and her mother about her what might be wrong with her, but found little support. She and her husband ultimately split up for two years in the midst of her postpartum depression crisis.
The way out for Marangoni was to seek out professional help. She was initially prescribed antidepressants by a psychiatrist which left her feeling suicidal at times, but a therapist at a family centre helped her begin to put the pieces of her life back together.
“I began to feel more like myself and as I picked up my life again and began to have goals I recovered a great deal. I never did recover completely, however, as the PPD I had was so severe, and to this day I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder that needs to be kept in check.”
Severe anxiety attacks and the both emotional and physical toll of postpartum depression was something that Marangoni was amazed to find little information about to help her deal with it.
After she and her husband got back together, they had a second child, a son, and Marangoni had no postpartum depression symptoms. But when she became pregnant with their third child, she began to recognize her old postpartum depression symptoms being revived and endeavoured to be prepared.
“A few weeks after Sophia was born I did inf act develop PPD although it was not as severe as it had been with my first child, and I think being prepared helped a bit,” she said.
“At the same time, my preparation did not change the fact that I went through it again nor did it change the fact that even though there is help out there, it is hard to find and sometimes expensive.”
What she does says was helpful for her was the assistance of a holistic practitioner, two books called How To Make A New Mother Happy and The Mood Cure, and taking magnesium and vitamin B complex supplements.
A weekly postpartum depression support and education group in Kelowna has been created through a partnership between the Postpartum Depression Awareness Project and the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The group meets Fridays, 1 to 3 p.m., at the CMHA office in Kelowna, 504 Sutherland Ave.
The group meetings are facilitated by Tascheleia Marangoni, founding executive director of PPDA; Jayme Metzger, a CMHA wellness coach; and Margaret Kyle, an art therapist. The drop-in support group is open to women in the postpartum period (anytime within the first five years of giving birth to a young child), women with older babies, toddlers and preschoolers, dads and adoptive parents.
To register, call 778-215-7418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.