Skip to Content

Kamaljit (Kay) Aujla

Recovery and hope after loss.

May 07, 2024
The Aujla family selfie

For a year, Kamaljit (Kay) Aujla had been struggling to make sense of the loss of her second child. The baby, a daughter, was still birthed, leaving Kay with emotional pain and depression. On the one-year anniversary of the birthdate, Kay tried to end her life. With specialized help from a new program for mothers, Kay has recovered, gained insight into her condition, and is expecting her third child this fall.

Kay wanted to share her story in hope that it might help other mothers struggling with mental health issues.

After being transported to a nearby hospital for immediate care, Kay was referred to the new Prenatal/Postpartum Mental Health Program at Reston Hospital Center. Led by mental health professionals from Dominion Hospital, the program is tailored for women experiencing mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression.

“Although I had a great job and my family had moved into our dream house, I was very depressed," Kay said. "All I could think about was wanting to be with the daughter I had lost. It was the lowest point of my life."

Though her family understood why she was depressed, they had hoped that she would be able to move past it. “I didn’t have the strength to go on. I felt like I had failed as a woman who couldn’t deliver a healthy baby," she said.

Using a multi-disciplined approach, a team of mental health professionals helped Kay.

“I presented with extreme anxiety and high expectations for everyone. The very first thing they had me do was a Genogram exercise.” This exercise is like creating a family tree with a focus on relationships and patterns of behavior.

“The process helped me identify the root cause of my unhappiness. I realized I had never learned how to regulate my emotions as a child, having been raised in a difficult environment with a lot of yelling.”

Kay was seen by several practitioners and participated in group sessions as part of her outpatient treatment.

“My psychiatrist identified the right medication and taught me coping skills so I could better navigate through the process. I felt that everyone there was invested in getting me better and helping me find the cause of my anger and depression.”

The Prenatal/Postnatal Mental Health Program is designed for women who feel anxious or depressed or like something just doesn’t feel right during or after a pregnancy. Postpartum depression is the most common complication for women who have had a baby. According to the March of Dimes, it affects up to 1 in 7 women (about 15%.)

For many women, postpartum depression is their first time experiencing depression. Coupled with the physical and mental toll of being a new mother, the condition can make it difficult for women to care for themselves or their babies. Many women worry that feeling sadness, tiredness, or anxiety makes them bad mothers. Healthcare providers, however, know that postpartum depression is serious, requiring medical care.

Just a few weeks after getting treatment, Kay feels better and is excited about growing her family.

“Today, I feel calm and centered. This program saved my life, and I have nothing but gratitude for everyone involved.”

Help is available for women feeling anxious or depressed while pregnant or after delivery. For more information on the Prenatal/Postpartum Mental Health Program, including the flexible days and hours of the program, please visit our website or call (703) 538-2872.

Women's mental health staff standing with patient Kay Aujla
May 07, 2024
Dominion Hospital