"My research is centered on furthering our understanding of how trauma and mental health challenges can affect a woman’s experience of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I am also dedicated to developing trauma-specific interventions to promote healthy parenting and interrupt cycles of violence and psychiatric vulnerability."
Trauma; mental health; sexual and reproductive health; interventions; child mental health; health disparities
Mickey Sperlich, an assistant professor with the UBSSW, is an experienced midwife and researcher who studies the effects of trauma and mental health challenges on women’s childbearing and postpartum experiences and outcomes. She became interested in research in order to better understand the needs of her midwifery clients who were trauma survivors. Her first research project culminated in the book “Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse,” which was named the 2008 Book of the Year by the America College of Nurse Midwives. Sperlich has taken part in several trauma-focused perinatal studies and is co-author of a psychosocial intervention for pregnant survivors of abuse, the “Survivor Moms’ Companion.” She completed her PhD with a dual title in Social Work and Infant Mental Health at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in 2014. Sperlich says, “I am committed to developing trans-disciplinary approaches to understanding and addressing the sequelae of sexual violence and other trauma, particularly for childbearing women. I am actively involved in developing and evaluating interventions which address issues experienced by survivors of trauma and which are directed at interrupting intergenerational cycles of violence and psychiatric vulnerability.”