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MADNAP Founders & Activists


Amy Philo

Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D.

Veronika Robinson

Julie Edgington

Anastasia Froget

Caroline Gamell

Grace Jackson, M.D.

Gary Hart, Ph.D.

Michelle Hart, R.N.

Jenny Hatch

Kim Crespi

Sharon Hutchison

Ellen Liversidge

Julie Yankowski

Rose Voltaire

The following activists have joined our efforts since our founding:

Christian & Matt Delahunty

Christiane & Amery Schutlz

Adina Caro-Greene (story coming soon)
To find out how you can help, email

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Tara Balcom permalink
    August 27, 2009 6:37 pm

    I just happened across your site and am surprised I hadn’t seen more info about you (or other similar orgs) sooner. I have a question for you: is there anywhere on your site that gives us moms any options for treating depression while pregnant/nursing? I have an history of untreated depression that wasn’t “diagnosed” until experiencing PPD after my first child. I never used medication for fear of the”what if’s”. Then when our 2nd child died a year ago this weekend due to a chromosomal defect, I knew I was going to need some help. I did what I could without meds for 4 months then it became evident that I needed some chemical help. I didn’t want to do meds because I wanted to get pregnant soon, but I knew life wasn’t getting any better the way I was. I spoke with my meds Dr about my options of meds during pregnancy and with a number of studies cited and other info, I became convinced that the risks of being pregnant while on meds were the same as not being on meds. “Why not be happy or happier while I’m pregnant – causing less stress to the baby?
    We’re hoping to be pregnant soon (maybe even now!) and I know I DON’T want to be on meds the rest of the pregnancy. I want to have a home birth and have a feeling I won’t even be considered for that if I’m on meds. I’ve ordered some super omega3 to try, I’ve been exercising, and have a great counselor. But looking at your site, instead of being encouraged to get off the meds, I’m scared to death of what might happen if I don’t! But I haven’t found any help for choosing or considering options. Just a big “DON’T DO IT!” Is there anywhere that I can look for help? I know the risks of using meds, but I also know what my life is like without them. I’d love some direction. Thanks!

    • August 27, 2009 8:16 pm

      So sorry to hear about your child.

      Go to There are some links on the left side to sources for nutritional help. Using orthomolecular medicine (megavitamin therapy) Byron Richards has treated women for psychosis successfully. Depression is not caused by a lack of enough serotonin. Serotonin being elevated makes depression worse. That is why the drugs hurt the babies so much because serotonin is artificially elevated and the inhibitors change the developing brain as well. Overdosing on serotonin can kill adults. Nutrition etc. during pregnancy and postpartum can’t hurt the baby. Also go to the companion blog There is an article on there called Preventing and Treating Emotional and Physical problems in moms. this is a search that will pull up that thread as well as another one about sources of self help books etc.

      Also I would suggest grief counseling. Spiritual healing, energy work etc. might be helpful. Some different alternative techniques include EFT (emotional freedom technique), Theta Healing, prayer, yoga, meditation etc. Nothing is going to take away the pain of losing your child, but perhaps could help with the problems of the body resulting from the extreme stress and emotional pain. Also a book you may like is The Power of Now.

      Good luck.

    • Caroline Gamell permalink
      December 17, 2009 8:03 pm

      Also I would suggest going through the at-home program available a 1-800-anxiety. It is for anxiety and depression and gets to “the source” of the problem – the way we think and talk to ourselves. It is a great and helpful resource! Many people are able to get off medication because of this type of program.

  2. Renee Sailors permalink
    May 12, 2010 10:32 pm

    My name is Renee Sailors. I am pssionate about these anti-depressants being given out to so many women in our country. They have been given to me like candy for my anxiety, however, I keep refusing to take them. My sister takes Lexapro and lives with me, and I witness first hand how WE suffer if she misses a dose, even within a couple of hours. Before she went on them, she NEVER had rageful moments, etc. I am angry at our country’s lack of knowledge for women’s health and the complex hormonal devastating stages a women can suffer through, and most of the doctors do not even check our hormones before giving out psychotropic medicine that can change our brain chemistry. We need to start running and working out hard! In the meantime, please keep up your passion and good work. I am remaining hopeful that my anxiety will continue to decrease, once I am out of my current situation. Please call me if you ever need a volunteer for something I may be able to do for you. Until then, God Bless! My e-mail is, and my number is 214-962-0170.

    • November 28, 2010 7:27 am

      Renee, I missed this comment for months somehow… thank you so much for your comment.

  3. Tanya Austin permalink
    December 22, 2010 4:55 am

    Charlees Story

    My name is Tanya Austin and I am searching to see what we can do, if anything in regards to being advised to stay on effexor and yet it has caused some problems for our baby. In Australia where we live there doesnt seem to be really anywhere to turn.

    When we became pregnant I was taking 150mg of Effexor for depression and anxiety. Our due date was 19/12/2010. This was my 5th child. Our other children are Christopher 23 years, Casey-Lee 20 years, Ben 18 years and Nickieta 16 years. They where all very excited for us to be having a baby and especially when we found out she is a little girl.

    We had asked two Gps and the obstetrician was also aware of being on the Effexor plus the registrar at the mothers hospital prenatal appointments, plus 3 different midwives, plus a RN that works at the medical practice where my daughter works. My Mum had also asked her GP.

    I also have high blood pressure and was also on Olymetec, which my GP had immediately had taken me off these as they carry a rating of D in the affects on the baby while pregnant.

    I was not taken off the Effexor just told that it would be ok by all these medical professionals or told there was not enough information about them as they are new or they didn’t say anything when I asked about the Effexor having an effect. In a nutshell we where told, best to stay on them. The chances of any effect was rare.

    I was also encouraged to breast feed in my prenatal appointments, I had to explain more then once why we had chosen not to breast feed as the effexor can be in the breast milk and we had contacted the company and they themselves said it is advised not to breast feed.

    With this medication, people cant just instantly stop taking them, they have to be weaned off them, if I could just cut them off that very day then I surely would of did this. We where not given the reduced dose to start weaning by the doctors.

    My husband and I though had decided that we would wean myself off these effexor tables, so we started taking the capsule tablet apart and taking out the little beads of the Effexor. My gut instinct was just not comfortable in taking the Effexor while I was carrying Charlee.

    I also researched on the internet and had read some sad stories about the effects of effexor when babies are born.

    At first we started taking the beads out at 5 beads and then increased to 70 beads in the 3rd trimester.

    On November 25 2010 I went into labour and Charlee our little girl was born, she was born at 36 weeks and 4 days. My other 4 children where all 1 week overdue, so to have Charlee premature was totally different. I was not on Effexor with my other children.

    We named her Charlee Elly Marie Austin as my husbands name is Charles, his middle name is Elliott and Marie is the middle name of our youngest daughter Nickieta and she asked if we could use her middle name for Charlees middle name, so we did.

    When Charlee was born she was forgetting to breath on her own, so she was given oxygen.

    We then where taken up to the ward.

    The nurse gave Charlee a bottle during the early morning hours as I had a catheter in place and couldn’t really attend to Charlee.

    Charlee had not really been taking the bottle very well during that day and had sicked a lot in her cot.

    She didn’t maintain her temperature and was placed under the cot heaters. Charlees blood sugar levels where very low. She kept forgetting to breath. She developed jaundice and was placed on the billy blanket, phototherapy for jaundice when the levels in the blood are to high. She has rapid breathing while asleep and awake. She also had tremors.

    She was also turning blue and not catching her breath and gagging a lot.

    I had told the nurse a few times but was told to just leave her in the cot so she can get over it herself as in picking her up this was forcing the milk back down. We thought, yeah right, we wont be leaving a panicking baby who cant breath to work it out on her own.

    My husband had then spoke to another nurse who called in the paediatrician to look at Charlee.

    While the Paediatrician was looking at Charlee she had taken one of these apnoea, not breathing episodes and then the Paediatrician had my husband alert the other staff by pushing the buzzer three times and 5 other nurses came running and they then grabbed the oxygen from the wall and resuscitated Charlee. Charlee was taken down to ICU where she took a few more of these turning blue times and not breathing and arching her back and gagging.

    Charlee was then placed on tube feeding.

    She had an x-ray of the stomach to see if any blockages, there was none but the doctors did however find that she had a cloudy left lung.

    Charlee was on 2 different types of antibiotics.

    Upon arriving at the ICU on the next day, we entered the code for Charlees room to be able to be let in, but a nurse then came and met us at the door and advised she wanted to speak with us.
    Our hearts immediately just started racing.

    The nurse advised us that Charlee is taking a seizure, the doctors are with her now and she is being placed on a 24 hour EEG, a brain scan to monitor the seizures. Her saturation levels, dropped to 68% oxygen, she was sweating profusely and arching her back right back and waved her arms around in a swimming motion and also purple in colour.

    Well my husband, Charles and I just started to cry and felt so worried and helpless.

    We where taken into an interview room and the doctor came and saw us and advised they where going to do some blood tests to rule any type of infection like meningitis etc, but he is pretty certain that this was all happening to Charlee due to my taking the effexor and Charlee has been affected by this.

    The blood cultures came back fine and so infection was ruled out and it was then recorded as effexor being the cause.

    Over the next few days Charlee had less apnoea episodes and began taking the bottle. On the 01/12/2010 she had only 1 time of needing oxygen when she stopped breathing. Other times she had dealt with it on her own and caught her breath again.

    We where released on the 3/12/2010 after we had an over night rooming in stay with Charlee as we where nervous to take her home when she forgets to breath.

    We had a follow up appointment on the 16/12/2010 where the doctor has found a heart murmur so we have now been referred to the cardiac hospital to follow this up to see if any heart condition.

    Charlee is difficult to feed, she is so very sleepy, after about 30mls she can fall asleep and its impossible to wake her up. So getting her into a 4 hourly feeding routine, hasn’t really happened consistently as yet.

    She doesn’t sleep real well she likes to be picked up for a cuddle a lot, which we don’t mind doing because we cant always guarantee that we will always have her and she has been cuddled for 8 months 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, tightly in mummys tummy so to go to less then half this time to get cuddles is a big ask for babies and we simply just love her so much.

    Not sure as to what the heart tests will show, but will update when we know…

    We are angry that there isn’t really any help for this here in Australia and also that it appears so very unimportant that the baby can be affected by these antidepressants. I am so glad we at least reduced the dose because it may have been way worse if we where taking more of the effexor.

    Thats Charlees story and we have agree to stop the mothers act, the innocent babies suffer to much

    We love you punkin (Charlee) with all our hearts.


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