My name is Jenna Allerson and I am the founder and creator of The Linda Project. I live in Minnesota near the Twin Cities with my husband, Matt; and my two sons, Owen and August and fur baby, Lucy. I like to say that I have two full-time jobs! One being a mom and wife and another, where I work full-time at the University of St. Thomas as a producer in the central marketing office. I feel so blessed to be holding both of these positions.:)
I’m so excited to be partnering with my best friend from high school, Laura on this project. Laura and I met in junior high school and have been best friends ever since, we were college roommates, and in each others weddings. We have seen each other through good times and bad and now we’re onto our next adventure and we couldn’t be more excited.
It is my true desire to share my personal experiences and God’s word with the world in hopes that it helps women live a healthy and happy life. Life can have it’s ups and downs and I recently experienced a “down.” I went through a terrible episode of postpartum anxiety after dealing with infertility, a traumatic birth, and a baby in the NICU.
Here’s my story…
When Matt and I decided that we wanted to have a baby, it was like I wanted a baby yesterday. But, life isn’t always what we plan. It took us 13 months to get pregnant. I was just about to start taking fertility medications (after I was diagnosed with PCOS) when the good Lord blessed us with a baby naturally. God does work in mysterious ways!
I had a very uneventful and healthy pregnancy. That is up until the last week of it. At 35 weeks, my blood pressure spiked and I stopped measuring bigger. That is when we found out that we were going to have a very small baby. I was induced two days later and delivered via an emergency c-section. Owen came into the world screaming (thank goodness) and was three pounds 14 ounces. Read the full birth story.
Owen spent 17 days in the NICU. It was honestly one of the hardest things I thought I would ever go through. We were very blessed that all of Owen’s organs were fully developed, but we had to spend extra time there, so Owen could learn to eat on his own and maintain his body temperature. When we brought him home, he was four pounds nine ounces.
Owen’s first year of life was a bit of a blur. With him being premature his immune system was not where it should be, so he picked up every cold, virus, bacterial infection you could think of that first year. I went back to work after 12 weeks, and Owen was in an in-home daycare.
Once Owen hit a year it seemed as though things were starting to settle down. He was growing well, and it seemed that his immune system had gotten stronger. Matt and I decided that we would start “trying” for another baby. We always knew that we wanted Owen to have a sibling. We tried for three months.
I don’t know if it was the pressure of trying again, or the fact that I was able to start processing that first year, but I found myself increasingly anxious. Slowly, I realized that I had been suffering with postpartum anxiety for the whole first year without realizing it until it got too bad to function.
I went to a primary physician who specialized in women’s health and depression and anxiety. I went through the same health system that Owen was in at the time of his birth. I thought that I was doing everything “right” to get better. But, that was just the beginning of a slippery slope. I was prescribed numerous medications that I was unable to metabolize (they made me terribly sick and brought on insomnia). I saw therapists who weren’t trained in postpartum, which made everything worse. To put it lightly I was tired, but most of all I was scared. I wanted my life back.
After the terrible episode with the wrong professionals, I decided to try a holistic approach to managing my anxiety and I saw a naturopathic doctor. She spent a lot of time with me and prescribed multiple supplements to get my body balanced again. Unfortunately, my body did not respond well to the supplements…again, I found myself searching for something to help.
By the grace of God, he brought me to the right resources. Once I found a therapist who specialized in postpartum, my situation started to turn around. She was able to refer me to a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), who performed genetic testing (which is just a swab of the cheek) and was able to figure out how my body processes medications. My DNP was able to help me start sleeping and slowly introduced my body to a new medication, which made all the difference.
There is hope
I wanted to start this site to help women, so no one has to experience what I experienced. It was the most terrifying time in my life. Some days I didn’t even want to wake up. I’m still in “recovery” but, I’m now able to function and I am feeling more like myself everyday. I’m able to enjoy my time with my family everyday and I know how truly blessed I am.
If you do find yourself in this place. Do not worry. There is hope and you are not alone. There are resources. I have compiled a variety of them for you in our postpartum resources section. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me as well on our contact page.
Blessings to you and your loved ones,