Is this just the promise of an ide­al­istic social worker? In some ways I fit that stereo­type. Shape­less dresses, check. Chunky jew­elry, check. Opti­mist, check. But ide­alist? No, I shed that mantle long ago. I work with women who have peri­natal emo­tional com­pli­ca­tions, so I no longer have the luxury of being an ide­alist. (Peri­natal emo­tional com­pli­ca­tions are feel­ings and behav­iors that cause mothers dis­tress and inter­fere with their func­tioning, including depres­sion and anx­iety across a spec­trum of severity; the spec­trum includes normal preg­nancy and post­partum adjust­ment and stress, as well as baby blues, depres­sion, anx­iety, and panic dis­or­ders.) I have to change worlds–mothers, babies, fathers, part­ners, grand­par­ents, co-​​workers, and employers are relying on it. Before I went into social work, I was an ide­alist; I wanted to change the world. But as you might have noticed, the world is a big place; I quickly grew tired. How­ever, throughout my training I was taken with the real­iza­tion that changing one person’s world would change the worlds of others around them, and I never looked back.

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