top of page

126: Navigating Postpartum Mental Health: Chelsea's Journey and Advocacy (Full Transcript)

Jey (00:11.041)

Ryan and welcome into another episode of the Young Dad podcast. I'm your host Jay. I'm super excited to be here with you today. It's a beautiful Monday morning in March. Not sure when this is going to come out, but it's March right now as we're recording this. So happy spring. We're one T minus six days out from daylight savings time starting. So that's exciting. Best time of the year, springtime. It's currently cloudy and 36 degrees outside where I am.

So I can't wait for this weather to be done and for the sun to be out at 6 a .m. versus darkness. So very excited. Today I'm joined by Chelsea. Chelsea, you're the host of the Quiet Connection podcast, which is a postpartum mental health podcast helping parents and caregivers share their stories to end the stigma around that postpartum mental health and how sharing stories.

Chelsea (00:44.494)


Chelsea (00:55.758)


Jey (01:08.065)

about how we're not trying to scare each other when we tell these stories about birth stories, birth experience, postpartum, where we're trying to help each other be prepared and not scared because there's a big difference in both of those because if you don't know what to expect then you're going to be scared but if you know what to expect you're not going to be as scared you're going to be more prepared so welcome to the podcast super excited to have you super excited to talk about this topic with you i know it's kind of

Different probably from your sphere, but it's a great opportunity for collaboration conversation. So please tell us about you tell us about your podcast And yeah

Chelsea (01:49.646)

Yeah. Um, well, I'm excited to be here. I yeah, I'm Chelsea. I host Quiet Connection, which stemmed from my own postpartum mental health journey. And yeah, it's just, I'm creating a community where there wasn't one. Or where there wasn't one that that I was able to find. I'm finding a lot of them now, which is really good. Um,

I am a non -binary mother of two. I have an eight -year -old and an almost two -year -old. I'm doing the stay -at -home mom thing right now, which is very different for me. I worked in special ed for 10 years, and that was like 100 % my passion. And advocating for children and families was my deal. And now I'm really a huge, I mean, I was always a mental health advocate, but now that's like my scope.

That's where I'm focusing a lot of my energy. But yeah, I'm in Vermont. I'm in the Northeast. So we are on opposite sides of the country. But ironically, our weather is about the same this morning. It's about 39 and bright sunshine here. So hopefully you get the sunshine soon. But yeah, I mean, that's being a nutshell. I'm an open book. I'm as transparent as it gets. And you can...

Ask me anything and I will answer.

Jey (03:20.321)

I love it. I love that. So we have so many directions we could go to start this. So let's start with about you. Take us through like your special education career, because that in itself is a amazing topic. I started out when I first started going to college way back when. I actually started out as a special education K through 12 major. And I got scared out of it by a professor. I was in my sophomore year. I was about a year.

Chelsea (03:41.358)

Oh wow.

Jey (03:49.121)

and a half from student teaching. So I was well into my program at that point. So I was like looking at student teaching, planning student teaching. I had finished all my 100s and my 200s. I was starting on my 300 level courses. So I was well into my program at this point. And I had a professor, he scared me out of it. He's like, well, if you're not going to be committed to it, 100%. Of course, I'm like 19, 20 years old. Of course, I have commitment issues.

Of course, it was probably the wrong thing to say. But, you know, it scared me out of it and I switched to business and didn't go back to it. And then that led me down a path of working and things like that. Got married to my first wife and all the things from there. And then I went back to school, got back into the field somewhat. I ended up getting my bachelor's in human services.

with emphasis in child and family welfare. So a lot of my credits ended up transferring. That was kind of the big thing for me when I went back to school was how many of my credits will count? So I have less classes to take. So you tell me, you tell me the major I'm going to have and when I'm going to get my degree in. And they're like, oh, well this, I'm like, cool, that works. And now I have my master's degree in psychology. So a lot of fun. I mean, it'll happen for a reason. It all worked out, but take us through like your special education journey and.

Chelsea (04:53.166)


Jey (05:13.121)

of some of the things that how you are how you're transitioning from being in this bed for 10 years now to being a stay -at -home mom to doing more mental health stuff.

Chelsea (05:26.446)

Yeah, ironically, our stories aren't that different. I took a pretty non -traditional route, started out very traditional. I was an elementary education major. And I did all of my courses up until student teaching. Like I was right about to student teach. And I was doing my in -school experience where you just sort of like dip your toe in the water before student teaching. And I hated it. I could not stand it.

Looking back now, I realize it was the district that I was in, but I was like, this is not for, I'd spent my whole life saying, I'm going to be a teacher, I'm going to be a teacher. And I had this experience and I was like, never, no, you're not, it's not going to happen. And I switched my major, my senior year, which is ridiculous. Yeah, I switched my major, my senior year. So I took the five year.

Jey (06:18.145)

Oh no.

Chelsea (06:24.558)

college route, graduated with a major in liberal arts with a focus in psychology, business and fine and performing arts, which is like the most, like the weirdest combination of stuff. Yeah. But my, my goal was I wanted to open my own preschool because I still really loved working with kids and I'd always worked with kids.

Jey (06:41.953)

That is a combo, for sure.

Chelsea (06:54.574)

Um, so, and that, I mean, I did that for a while. I didn't own my own preschool, but I worked in preschool, leading my own classrooms as a lead classroom teacher and, um, loved it. Had some of my first experiences working with kids on the autism spectrum and kids with pretty significant, um, physical and intellectual disabilities through childcare and learned that I loved it. Um, and.

happened to by chance see a job opening in a town that I grew up in for an intensive needs special educator. That's where I started. I applied not thinking I was going to get the job. I'm like, I'm not qualified for this at all. But I got it and I loved it. And yeah, I worked so I worked with kids with low incidence disabilities primarily.

So kids on the autism spectrum, kids with fragile X, kids with Down syndrome, kids with like, just kind of the most high needs kids. And I was like, this is what I want to do. This is just what I want to do forever. So I went back to school and took, I did a licensure program rather than a degree program. But once you completed the licensure program, you only had like half a semester or not half a semester, like one semester left to.

finish your degree. So I was like, cool, I'll get my license and then I'll, I'll get my degree. Got my license, got hired as an intensive needs special educator. Did that for a little while. Did gen ed special ed. Hated gen ed special ed. Learned that my niche was definitely with low incidence disabilities kiddos. Life changed for me very, very quickly. Over the course of

Well, three years lead up to now, everything changed for me and work became like my last priority. My husband was in a absolutely catastrophic motorcycle accident. He shouldn't be alive, but he is. He shouldn't be walking. Took us a long time, but he is. So that took me away from work for a long time.

Chelsea (09:18.126)

It really affected me and my oldest. Um, and it just changed all my priorities. I was not, I mean, I wasn't happy in work to begin with anymore. Like things, my administration was just not supportive. The, anybody who works in the school system right now knows how damaged and broken it is and it's not our fault, but you're getting abused every day. The kids are just, it's not.

Jey (09:44.449)

Yeah, it's pretty terrible.

Chelsea (09:47.95)

It's terrible. And it's not the teacher's fault. It's not. It's absolutely not.

Jey (09:49.409)

It's pretty bad because it's a lot of it. No, it's not. And I, I talked to my friend of the show. He was on the podcast. His name is Tim Vegas. He runs, he has the Think Inclusive podcast. Very much up both your Alex. I should definitely connect you guys. I think you guys would have a great conversation overall. He's fantastic, but he's been in special education and education for a very long time.

Chelsea (10:11.406)


Jey (10:16.929)

And we talked about it pretty in depth and more. I believe the issue starts is at the, is that the highest levels? Obviously it's not that top level. It's not the school board level, which are elected positions, which are filled with people who have probably never stepped in a classroom, stepped into people who don't understand it. Step to the stepped into a position that they want to then springboard into further political gain.

bring board into further political thing or they already have a political agenda and they're already just trying to push that so that they can get paid on the back end kind of thing from their sponsors to get them that position and things like that. So it's really sad and very disheartening. You can call me a conspiracy theorist. You can call me whatever you want. You can call me whatever right wing, whatever you want. That's fine. Go ahead. But that's where the issue is. It's within the school boards and it starts at the top.

And then that trickles down into the administration, because who does the school board hire? The administration of the schools. And then if they put the right people in there, then they start to change the schools the way they want to. And then that just hurts the teachers, because where is the turnover the most impactful? At the administrative level, that's going to be the most impactful turnover, because that's going to impact the teachers that are coming in or going, most importantly, going out.

Chelsea (11:38.542)

Mm hmm. So.

Jey (11:40.033)

I mean, you see teachers all over TikTok, you know, Rebecca Rogers, Lauren Lauder, Justin Namedrop a couple. I would love to talk to both of them on the podcast. I think they would be great conversation. So if this ever reaches them, that'd be super cool. But yeah, no, it's at that really high level of the school board and the administration, which is causing this turnover. And it's not the teacher's fault whatsoever. Like even my even my fiance, she works for the local Head Start program. And

Chelsea (11:49.838)


Chelsea (11:54.254)


Chelsea (12:04.014)


Jey (12:08.257)

her manager, she's been there for five plus years. She's had incredible reviews. She's had incredible, you know, staff and, you know, peer to peer reviews of her, but her manager just gave her a review and it was the worst review of her, her professional career. Just took their union too. So they took, she took everything out on her on top of that, you know, some absenteeism, which wasn't, you know, on purpose.

There was different, there were different reasons that were, you know, she does, she does her part. She calls in, she calls the union. That's all they have, she has to do. But everything was negatively reviewed on her on that, on that review. It was so negative. It was so hurtful to the point where it's like, she wanted to put her two weeks in over the weekend. Um, cause it was like, it was that bad. It was that untrue. And it's just, it's so sad and so disheartening. Uh,

Chelsea (12:34.83)


Chelsea (12:53.422)


Jey (13:00.833)

because I mean, even one of our local school districts here, I work in mental health, I'm a mental health professional, we work with schools and whatnot here in our community. We found out that one of our school districts next year, because of the deficit they are in, are going to be cutting mental health, the in -school mental health professionals, which is super disheartening.

Chelsea (13:05.87)

Mm -hmm.

Chelsea (13:21.006)

Oh man. And that's where you need to be investing more.

Jey (13:25.665)

Exactly. 100%. But nope, they're cutting it. But yet we have a big project going on on one of the bridges here that they're repainting this bridge and they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars on repainting this stupid bridge. And I am convinced that it's just a money laundering scheme overall. Again, call me a conspiracy theorist. I bet it'll come out in 10 years that it was all just for money laundering and, you know, all the things like that. But it's like, how are we going to cut the mental health professionals in the city?

Chelsea (13:40.878)


Jey (13:55.681)

where we're painting a fucking bridge. Like it's a bridge, who cares if it's as blue as it could be? No, fix the structural damage, nobody else cares. Literally nobody cares at that point. So it's just, it's frustrating, it's heartening, and you're right, it's not the teachers, it's the politics at play. It's the politics at play, and it goes so much deeper and beyond that.

Chelsea (13:58.222)


Chelsea (14:05.614)

Yeah. Yeah.

Chelsea (14:16.782)

It's... yes.

Jey (14:20.097)

you start looking at the school board level, then you start looking at the state level, because who do those school boards report to? They report to the state. Who does the state report to? They report to the country, and so on and so forth. And so it's all, that's why it's so important. It's so, so important when you get your ballots for those local elections, know who you're electing to your school board positions, read about them in the little pamphlet they send you. You know, if you feel inclined, like that's one thing that my church does really well, I'm religious.

Chelsea (14:27.086)


Chelsea (14:42.83)

Mm -hmm.

Jey (14:48.225)

Christian, my church does a really good job that they are a non -profit but they're not a 5013C. They're a different kind of non -profit so they can endorse political candidates without any backlash because a 5013C -3 can't endorse political candidates, a typical non -profit. But it's like a 508B or something, I don't remember what it is, but they're allowed to endorse political...

Chelsea (15:06.894)


Chelsea (15:13.358)

All those letters and numbers.

Jey (15:15.841)

Yeah, they're allowed to endorse political candidates. So they do a really good job of literally bringing people who are from within the congregation, who we're connected to, who people know, who are affiliated with the church in some way, shape or form. And they bring them to the service and they get to speak. We get to hear them talk a little bit about their plans and what they want. And so you know, like, okay, I know this person has high values, high moral compass, and I sat next to this person in church. I rubbed shoulders with them. I taught their kids.

So I know this person at a personal level, which makes it so much more impactful to vote for them, to do that. But that's why your local elections are so important to make sure that you vote. You have to vote. You have to vote, people. You have to vote. Local elections, primary ballots, all the things. Vote. It's a voting year. Vote. I guarantee you drop a drop box.

Chelsea (15:53.326)

Mm -hmm.

Chelsea (16:00.526)