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Sharp Health News

Supporting new moms postpartum

June 18, 2018

Supporting new moms postpartum

Dawn Zwibel with her baby girl, Grace.

Dawn Zwibel overcame postpartum depression and anxiety with help from Sharp Mary Birch’s postpartum support group.

The drop-in sessions for moms and babies are just one of the many ways in which Sharp HealthCare gives back to the community. In fiscal year 2017, Sharp HealthCare provided $415 million in community benefit programs and services.

When Zwibel gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, she and her husband, Jeff, were thrilled. They named the baby Grace and considered her their little miracle.

However, what started out as a dream come true for the family soon turned into an incredibly challenging time. Upon returning home from the hospital after giving birth, Dawn became increasingly distraught and felt a constant, deep despair.

The couple quickly realized that Dawn was not experiencing a simple case of the “baby blues.” Her worrisome thoughts; inability to sleep or perform simple daily tasks; rapid weight loss; and profound guilt over not enjoying her new role as a mother meant that she was likely suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety — mood disorders that affect up to 20 percent of women after giving birth.

Dawn immediately reached out to her OBGYN and was told about the postpartum support group at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, open to new moms and babies up to 12 months of age. “The postpartum support group allowed me to meet women who were just like me, with the same struggles,” she says. “I could relate to them and all they were experiencing.”

With the support group, the loving care of Jeff and her parents, and treatment by a therapist, Dawn began to recover. She credits the group’s facilitator and other women for serving as the bridge to her wellness. They were able to listen to one another, offer suggestions, make connections to care providers and share that it really does get better.

As for little Grace, the now 20-month-old is happy and healthy. “I am so grateful to be Grace’s mom,” Dawn says. “We’re having so much fun!”

In addition to no-cost support groups, flu vaccines and health screenings, Sharp gives back to the community by donating time and volunteer support for events like Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and Feeding San Diego; education and training programs for students and community health professionals; and uncompensated care for patients who are unable to pay for medical services provided by Sharp hospitals. In fiscal year 2017, unreimbursed care totaled more than $406 million.

Learn more about Sharp’s work in the community, and the Community Health Needs Assessment that informs and guides this work.

For the news media: To learn more about Sharp’s Community Benefit program for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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