MD For Moms Radio, Every Wednesday 1pm (ET) on The BBM Global Network, TuneIn and iHeartRadio or as a podcast on iTunes.
This week on MD for Moms, I interview Dr. Walker Ladd, author of the book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women‘s Stories of Trauma and Growth (2nd edition). Dr. Ladd is a foremost expert and researcher in the perinatal mental health field, and a doula, mentor, and mother. Dr. Ladd has experienced postpartum depression and writes about women’s lived experiences with motherhood, trauma and mental illness.
Dr. Ladd’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in or living through a mood disorder like depression or anxiety through the perinatal period. We explore the many ways periosteum illness can impact women, the associated trauma and discuss what Dr. Ladd has learned through her two decades of research. We also focus on the lived experience of postpartum depression and anxiety, and how suffering impacts mom and the entire family.
If you or someone you love has had or is in the throes of a perinatal mood disorder, then this is the show for you. If you want to learn more and gain a greater understanding of perinatal mood disorders, then this show is for you. Really, it’s a show for everyone!
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Learn more about my guest, Dr. Walker Ladd:
Walker Ladd, Ph.D. has been a thought leader in the field of perinatal mental health for nearly two decades.
Her writing and research challenge paradigms of motherhood and mental illness, using lived narratives to reveal the hidden truths and extraordinary dimensions of the lived experience of motherhood.
Dr. Ladd’s personal experience with traumatic childbirth, breast cancer, postpartum depression, and major depressive disorder drive her passion for her bold, soulful, and transformative work.
Previously a professional modern dancer with both a BA and MFA in dance from UCLA, Walker returned to school to receive an MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University Seattle and practicing as a Couples and Family Therapist. Following the traumatic childbirth and subsequent postpartum depression of her son in 2000, Walker dedicated herself to maternal mental health advocacy and research literacy, working as a certified birth doula (CD, DONA), and serving as the perinatal mental health editor for Lamaze International’s Science and Sensibility, before returning to school to receive her Ph.D. in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Sofia University).
Since her doctorate in 2014, Dr. Ladd has taught research methods and mentored doctoral students through the dissertation process while conducting her own research on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders across the lifespan. Working across multiple qualitative methodologies, Walker seeks a deeper understanding of the subjective experience of mood and anxiety disorders during the perinatal period. Her book, Transformed by postpartum depression: Women’s stories of trauma and growth (Praeclarus, 2020), was based on her grounded theory study of the traumatic and nature of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and subsequent posttraumatic growth for 25 women. In addition to her grounded theory study of the stigma of mental illness for new mothers with a bipolar disorder (Ladd, 2018), Walker recently completed a study of the meaning of postpartum depression for women in later life (Ladd, 2021, in press). She is currently working on a study regarding the experience of the postpartum anxiety for new mothers during COVID-19.
Walker is a full member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP), the Society of Humanistic Psychology (Division 32), the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IATA), and the Marce International Society for Perinatal Mental Health. She has been a faculty member of Saybrook University since 2018 and is currently full-time faculty in the Department of Research.
Walker lives in Los Angeles, and is a 17 year breast cancer survivor. Her son, Ziggy, is a sophomore at the Berklee School of Music. Her daughter, Miles, is the funniest person Walker has ever known and will be a freshman at CalArts majoring in theater design in the Fall, 2021.