208: Perinatal Loss, Black Women, Birthing and Protecting Wellness


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Today’s guest shares her story of pregnancy losses and the resulting anxiety and depression that made the journey to parenthood very challenging. Join us to hear her inspiring story of healing and hope.

Dorienna M. Alfred, Ph.D., PMH-C is a licensed psychologist and certified perinatal mental health professional. She is the owner of Works of Faith Wellness and Consultation, LLC, a private practice centered on perinatal mental health services in Columbus, Ohio. Through the practice, she provides individual therapy, workshops, and continuing education that promote health equity for those at the highest risk for complications during pregnancy and postpartum. Dr. Alfred is the author of the book, Pregnant with Promise: A Spiritual Journey of Pregnancy, Bed Rest, and Childbirth, which is a memoir of her journey with loss and pregnancy complications. She has been a guest blogger for Pregnancy After Loss Support and has been a guest on the Sisters in Loss Podcast. She is particularly interested in supporting parents with pregnancy complications and pregnancy loss, and is completing a certification to become a birth and bereavement doula. She has co-authored various publications and refereed workshops on topics related to women’s health, racial identity, social justice, and cultural competence. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and sons, reading novels, scrapbooking, and Zumba.

Show Highlights:

  • How Dorienna came into the field of perinatal mental health through two early pregnancy losses
  • The devastating experience of having to deliver the second loss and the resulting anxiety and trauma
  • How Dorianna’s successful pregnancy with her son was joyful but difficult with 14 weeks of bed rest
  • Why Dorienna compiled her book from journal entries of her experiences
  • How the landscape of mental health would change if there were more education and training for therapists in perinatal mental health
  • How Dorienna, even as a psychologist, didn’t receive mental health support through her losses and while on bed rest
  • The need to talk about and educate people about how pregnancy loss can impact future pregnancies and parenting
  • How stress and trauma can result from perceived racism and lack of acknowledgement
  • The importance of giving space to talk about pent-up emotions
  • The benefits of having a doula--and even a postpartum doula for the 4th trimester and beyond
  • The value of therapy in learning new coping skills and knowing you aren’t on your journey alone
  • Final words from Dorienna: “Don’t be afraid to take the risk and find a therapist that works best for you and is a good fit. Therapy can be very beneficial to find the support system you need.”


Works of Faith

@doriennamalfred instagram

Find Dorienna’s book on Amazon: Pregnant with Promise: A Spiritual Journey of Pregnancy, Bed Rest, and Childbirth

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