Former Pittsburgh Steeler Alan Faneca And Wife Julie Trying To Raise Awareness Of Postpartum Depression

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Alan Faneca and his wife, Julie, have three happy and healthy children.

Anabelle is the oldest, then Burton and the baby is Penelope.

The Fanecas struggle to get pregnant for five years until Julie became pregnant with Anabelle.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Julie remembers being so excited to welcome her first baby into the world.

“I thought I was going to have a normal birth and go home. It didn’t end up that way,” Julie said.

Soon after giving birth, Julie noticed that she seemed off.

She wasn’t as happy as she thought she would be, and she became paralyzed by fear and anxiety.

“I was like, ‘What is going on?’ I was waiting for this child and she is finally here and I have this loving and supportive husband. I could not get myself out of it and there was no quick cure for me.”

Alan, a Pittsburgh Steelers legend, was quick to notice that his wife didn’t seem like herself.

“She was distant, off, distant from conversation, short. I could tell things were not right with her,” Alan said.

And then there was the moment that moved the Fanecas to seek medical help.

“The idea came into my head, ‘I’m going to walk out the front door by myself and never come back,’” said Julie.

The Fanecas called the doctor, and Julie was given medicine to help with postpartum depression.

She would repeat her symptoms and seek medical help after the birth of all three of her children.

“More women get diagnosed with postpartum depression than breast cancer. So it’s important to know the signs and the symptoms,” said Julie.

One in 9 moms in the United States suffers from postpartum depression.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Symptoms include fear, anger, crying for no reason, lack of sleep, lack of bonding with your baby, difficulty concentrating and avoiding friends and family.

“Every day started the same, with her at the foot of the bed crying her eyes out,” said Steven D’Achille.

His wife, Alexis, showed signs of postpartum depression immediately after giving birth to their daughter.

D’Achille said his wife spiraled out of control very quickly and suffered from insomnia, anxiety and overwhelming sadness.

“She has never suffered a mental health issue a day in her life,” said Steven.

But just six weeks after giving birth, Alexis took her own life.

“We were left scrambling, looking for answers and trying to self-diagnose and it was a nightmare,” Steven said.

He also said there was a lack of awareness about PPD when his wife was struggling, and they couldn’t find the help they needed.

Since her death, Steven started the “Alexis Joy Foundation,” which has now helped 3,000 women and their families recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression and get them the help that they need.

“There should be no shame in seeking treatment and getting help because it’s normal for new moms to feel like this. And if you get help, you can get better,” said Steven.

Visit these sites for more information on PPD.
postpartumdepression.com
postpartumdepression.org
alexisjoyfoundation.org