Tiffany Conyers, LCSW, is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker and faculty member with Postpartum Support International (PSI). She is also the Volunteer Support Coordinator for the South Carolina Midlands PSI chapter (including Richland, Lexington, Orangeburg and Calhoun county). I recently had the chance to sit down with Tiffany to ask her about her life and career.
Once you were already a clinical social worker, what motivated you to focus on maternal mental health?
After I delivered my first child, I struggled with breastfeeding at first because I didn’t know that there was [more] to it. You just think “these are my breasts and this is [supposed to] come naturally.” The one time I sought help with the lactation consultant, she was helpful but she was also dismissive of me being a person of color.
So I became a certified breastfeeding specialist because it’s important when other women struggle to have someone that looks like them for breastfeeding support. Struggling with depression and anxiety, and then struggling with feeding your baby, whether with breast milk or human donated or formula, those challenges that they were facing were connected. So I was like wait I need some address this too. I wanted to be that therapist that could connect with them throughout the entire parenthood journey.
Can you tell me a little more about your family?
I married my crush in 2010. We have four children, our oldest is nine and our youngest is seven months old. We had a “pandemic baby” in 2020. He had a condition called Trisomy 13. We were made aware while the baby was in utero that he would have some complications. Sadly, Miles passed away right after he was born, but he continues to make a mark on our family. Within eight or nine months, unexpectedly, I got pregnant again. We were still navigating the children and ourselves through grieving. We don’t know if [this baby] would have complications. I’m in awe because I get to be their mother every day.
How do you find balance between your busy work schedule and taking care of family responsibilities?
I’m still learning. I’m a part of an unspoken sorority of women and birthing people that have done this before and are still learning as they go as well. Even though I’m all in with mothering, which I love and enjoy, there’s another part of me that really needs to be fulfilled by serving my community. When I make space for serving others who are seeking support and healing through consultation, I’m a more present and fulfilled mother.
I’ll give myself grace and forgive myself for not getting the clothes sorted today if that meant I was able to cuddle my seven-month-old who just isn’t feeling their best. I would choose that over folded clothes neatly placed in drawers any day.
No matter whether you are a biological mom and surrogate, gestational carrier, or adopting, you’re going to most likely have those moments when you just don’t feel like yourself. I would definitely say, you are not alone. Whatever you’re experiencing, you’re not to blame for it. That kind of help eliminates the shame or the guilt that comes with not being okay.
I think the biggest message of PSI is that help will look like different things for different people. Help could be a support group. It could be talking to a trusted someone and sharing that information with your OB or primary care physician, Doula, Midwife or your kid’s pediatrician. It could mean asking for a rest, can somebody you know watch my child for an hour so that I can go lay down. Maybe go for a walk to get some sunshine, instead of being in the house all day, breathing the same air. It could be seeing me or feeding your spirituality. So it definitely isn’t a cookie-cutter approach but do know help is there.
If you or someone you love who is pregnant or in the postpartum phase (up to a year after being pregnant) is struggling mentally or emotionally, please visit Postpartum Support International for free resources to help.
Thank you so much, Tiffany, for sharing your story with us today!
PSI virtual support groups were a tremendous help for me (Caitlyn) to cope with my postpartum depression, perinatal anxiety, and OCD after the birth of my daughter at the beginning of the pandemic. And I know they can be a help to you as well.
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