191: A Journey Through Preeclampsia, NICU, PPD, and Finding Hope


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By Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D. and Katayune Kaeni. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Even though there is much variation in the stories that women share here on the podcast, it’s amazing how many similarities they share. In today’s conversation, like so many others, we see a commonality in both the suffering, the isolation, and the path to healing.

Leila Tualla is an author and poet. She journaled her bouts with pregnancy anxiety, postpartum depression, and preeclampsia in a memoir titled Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and Me, as a way of healing.

Leila is a mental health advocate and is part of 2020 Mom as a Mom Ambassador. She is currently volunteering as a peer support provider for organizations such as International Association of Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD) and as a mentor for Postpartum Support International (PSI).

She hopes that by sharing her maternal mental health and birth stories that moms know they are not alone in their postpartum and premenstrual dysphoric disorder journeys.

Show Highlights:

  • How Leila was diagnosed with preeclampsia during her first pregnancy in 2012--and she experienced anxiety over what to expect next
  • How her daughter was born at 31 weeks and spent 46 days in the NICU
  • Leila’s desperate fears during her pregnancy anxiety with her second pregnancy--and how the anxiety developed into postpartum depression later on
  • As a counselor, Leila noticed the signs in herself but wondered why the postpartum pamphlets don’t tell the whole story
  • How her son was born at 34 weeks and spent 11 days in the NICU
  • How Leila’s boss spoke up and encouraged her to get help at six months postpartum
  • How Leila found Postpartum Support International (PSI) and began writing to tell her story
  • Why Leila wrote her book
  • How her faith and writing helped her heal through anxiety, postpartum depression, and two NICU experiences
  • How Leila’s experiences were isolating until she started speaking up
  • How Asian cultural expectations didn’t help Leila and made her feel like she should pick herself up and move forward
  • What it was like to start to talk about her experiences and share her story
  • Why Leila is proud of where she’s been and where she is today
  • What Leila’s healing process was like when she found support for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PPMD)


Website and Social Media links:

Leila Tualla

Facebook: LeilaTuallaM

Twitter: Leila Tualla

Instagram: An_Anxious_Believer

Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and Me by Leila Tualla

213 episodes