Hello, my name is Amanda Vadney and I am a licensed marriage and family therapist who lives and works in the Temecula Valley. I started my journey as a therapist in 2010 after completing my graduate program with my masters degree in counseling psychology. I began working with children and families with a desire to specialize in grief and loss. At an early age I lost both my parents and was forced on my own journey of grief. I remember to this day, how valuable therapy was for me after such a tragic loss and I wanted to be able to help even one person as my therapist helped me and my siblings. I completed therapy a different person. I started as a terrified and broken little girl and walked out a confident and peaceful young adult.

My husband and I decided to have children after I completed my intern hours for licensing and in 2012 we were blessed with our first daughter. My recollection of the months after giving birth are of a dark place full of fear, worry, scary thoughts, loneliness, and an overwhelming sense that these horrible feelings were my new life as a mother. I truly felt that choosing to have children was the wrong choice and I was not cut out for motherhood. Overwhelming feelings of guilt, constant worry over every little thing, and an unfamiliar tightness in my chest made the days feel like an eternity.  At the time, even as a therapist myself, I had no idea that these feelings were symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PPD) and not the typical feelings of motherhood.

Months passed and as I isolated myself to my room after caring for the baby, my husband would also retreat to the couch unable to process or understand the overwhelming stress of parenthood. He was feeling overwhelmed, stressed, helpless, and exhausted. Looking back, I wish I would have reached out to him, let him in, and shared what I was experiencing. At the time there was so much confusion, I felt like my brain was in a fog. Eventually, I reached out for help from a therapist after recognizing my once safe and supportive marriage was crumbling in front of my eyes. The only regret I have was not reaching out for help sooner. Even after the death of my parents, I did not experience any type of depression (outside the grieving process), so to think I was hit with postpartum depression was such an eye opener. It really can affect anyone, postpartum depression does not discriminate.

My struggle with postpartum depression sent me on a mission to locate and share the resources that were available to mothers who were experiencing hardship in the transition to motherhood. Sadly, there were, and still are, very few resources for moms experiencing postpartum depression, issues with bonding and attachment with their baby, and the overwhelming stress that parenthood often creates.

The fuel to my fire now is to bring awareness to society that postpartum depression is real, that postpartum depression happens to more women than anyone could have imagined, and that parenthood, although rewarding and joyous, is the hardest job a person will ever have in a lifetime. Along with that awareness, I hope to expand the resources available to mothers and new families so that postpartum depression and other factors negatively affecting the quality of a family’s life can be resolved as quickly as possible to leave room for the joy and happiness that a healthy family can offer.

Today I have 2 daughters who keep me on my toes. Being a mom still does not come easily and I have to work at it daily, but I cannot imagine my life without them. In all honesty, overcoming postpartum depression and rebuilding my shattered marriage has been empowering, and has taught me the gift of genuine appreciation for the health  (physical and emotional) of my family, each day of life I am given, and the vulnerability of love.