April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the negative impact of stress.
Dr. Shaenor Ishmael is a passionate and dedicated maternal mental health therapist specializing in supporting the emotional well-being of individuals during the perinatal period. She is the CEO and psychotherapist at Inspired Counseling Center, LLC. Dr. Shaenor has over ten years of experience in the field of Social Work and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to helping women navigate the unique challenges and transitions during this period.


What was the inspiration behind starting your practice?

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael: The inspiration behind starting my practice was deeply personal and rooted in my own experiences as a mother. Becoming a mother myself was a transformative journey, particularly with the challenges I faced having a child at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and during my second pregnancy and delivery. The traumatic experience of delivering a baby at 27 weeks gestation and spending multiple months in the NICU with my youngest child was a pivotal moment for me. It opened my eyes to the immense emotional strain that parents face when their child is in intensive care, and I realized there was a significant gap in support for families navigating this journey.

What was it like witnessing the stress parents go through when they have babies in the NICU? 

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael: Witnessing the emotional rollercoaster, the stress, and the overwhelming feelings that parents in the NICU experienced, I felt compelled to do something to help. I wanted to provide a safe space where mothers like myself could receive the support and guidance they needed to navigate the complexities of maternal mental health. Drawing from my background in mental health therapy, I decided to specialize in maternal mental health, knowing firsthand the unique challenges that mothers face during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

What is it like to run your own practice? 

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael:

Ultimately, my practice is not just a profession; it’s a passion born out of my own struggles and triumphs as a mother. My goal is to create a nurturing environment where women feel heard, understood, and empowered to prioritize their mental health during one of the most transformative periods of their lives.

Do you believe in work-life balance? If so, how do you maintain it?

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael: As a maternal mental health therapist and a mother myself, I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of work-life balance. Maintaining this balance is crucial for my well-being and enables me to provide the best possible care for my clients while also being present for my family.

One way I maintain a work-life balance is by setting clear boundaries between my work and personal life. I have designated work hours and make a conscious effort to prioritize my family and personal time outside of those hours. This means setting aside specific times for work-related tasks and ensuring that I have dedicated time for my family and self-care activities.

How can readers connect online?

Connect online:
Social media: @dr.shaenor


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Shaenor Ishmael