RVA Parenting: Family shares loss of daughter to suicide, hopes to save lives

The children's book carries a message to moms suffering from postpartum depression (Source: NBC12)
The children's book carries a message to moms suffering from postpartum depression (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A family who lost their daughter to suicide, because of postpartum depression, is hoping their loss will save lives.

Allison Goldstein took her own life - and in many ways, suffered in silence - leaving behind a beautiful baby girl. That loss has haunted her family and driven them to help others who may also be suffering in silence.

It's a story that was hard to tell, but so important, Allison's family knew they couldn't keep it to themselves.

"I never thought I'd have to bury my baby," Allison's father, David Mathews, said in an earlier interview, just months after Allison died.

Allison died unnecessarily, taking her own life after suffering with postpartum depression. Her story has been shared tens of thousands of times - people have reached out to Allison's family to say the story saved their life. It helped them to get help.

Allison's family knew the hard road ahead needed to include reaching more people, because their loss and their vulnerability in sharing it was saving lives.

"Sometimes, it gets me in trouble," said Mathews. "I walk up to a lady with a three-month-old at the DMV and I ask her if she knows about postpartum depression and the warning signs."

Allison's father and the family have started a foundation in Allison's name: The Allison's Reach Foundation. One of its missions is getting a book published.

"At the end of the story is 'I want to be a sunflower, so even on the rainy days, I can reach up and see the sun!'" said Matthews. "The idea is that, as the mother is reading the book to the child, the subliminal message she gets is 'I don't have to be sad, I can be happy.'"

Matthews says he knows many parents read to their kids. He hopes while they're reading about "Sunny," inspired by Allison and her love of sunflowers, they'll learn to give themselves a little slack.

"I tell women, we don't need you to be perfect," said Mathews. "We just need you to be here. I don't care how many dirty dishes pile up in your sink."

A message he already knows saves lives. He just wants more people to hear it.

The book will be available in March.

If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression, here are some resources for support:

If you're overwhelmed, anxious, sad, guilty, irritable, hopeless, or exhausted but can't sleep - you might have postpartum depression.

According to Postpartum Support Virginia, these feelings affect up to 1 in 5 women during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. They are caused by changes in biology, psychology, hormones, and environment. They are treated with some combination of self-care, social support, talk therapy, and medication.

The group says this is the No. 1 complication of pregnancy and child birth.

  • National Suicide Prevention life line, 800-273-TALK

This is a free 24/7 service that can provide suicidal persons or those around them with support, information, and local resources.

  • Click here for additional resources from group such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Full Circle and more.

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