photo of Suzanne SwansonI have been a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist for 35 years, a mother for 34.    I got interested in maternal mental health the way a lot of perinatal professionals do — I had a baby!  I wasn’t particularly anxious or depressed, but I was shocked at how my life had utterly changed.  I was finishing up my dissertation at the time, and knew no other mothers. The general attitude among my graduate school friends was not critical, but perplexed: “What did you go and do that for?” I was lonely and I began to try to understand this new place and new self.   With no one to talk to, I looked for books. 34 years ago there was almost nothing available. I kept looking, though, and kept buying anything I could find, and started noticing mothering and postpartum issues in the clients I worked with.  I have been fascinated by the transformations and challenges of mothering ever since.

I became involved in the birth community in the Twin Cities: I did some doula-ing before it was called that, and considered studying midwifery. But I decided instead to focus on the emotional angle of becoming a mother, even though I knew that distinction was somewhat artificial: it had become clear to me that birth was a quintessential experience of the space where body and mind and soul and heart are inseparable. I wanted to understand mothers’ experiences, whether they felt depressed or anxious or euphoric, whether they’d had a satisfying birth or a traumatic one, whether they’d given birth or adopted, whether they felt welcomed in a parenting community or had to create their own.

Mothers Matter was born as I felt called more and more to work with pregnancy, birth, postpartum and mothering.  I now have three adult children and a grandchild.  In my general practice, I continue to help clients who face challenging life transitions, depression, anxiety and grief.

I work with individuals and couples, with mothers and fathers and partners.  I am available for consultation, workshops and speaking engagements.

I co-teach Another Birth/Another Story  with Susan Lane, CD, CLC.  We developed this class for couples who are pregnant again after a previous difficult or traumatic birth.

I was a founding member of Laurel Poetry Collective, and author of the full-length House of Music.   The Mothers Matter blog on this site includes poems from my chapbook What Other Worlds:  Postpartum Poems, and other poems about pregnancy, birth and parenting by new and famous authors.

I was Founding Director of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM) , and remain on the Steering Committee.  I am a MN Co-ordinator for Postpartum Support International (PSI).   I am on the board of Prevention and Treatment of Trauma in Childbirth (PATTCh).

As a member of the Childbirth Collective, I speak to parents about

  • Couples:  Becoming a Family
  • Postpartum
  • Spirituality of Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum