May has been declared as the Postpartum Depression Awareness Month and this mommy is telling the world how it really is.
According to Romper, mom Kathy DiVincenzo has the perfect story to tell. DiVincenzo took the time to create a photo series that shows how postpartum depression affected her.
The photo shows a ragged DiVincenzo together with her daughter and baby in a messy room. The first photo shows DiVincenzo wearing a scruffy ponytail as her daughter is dressed up like a princess. DiVincenzo even showed her mommy tummy to show that whenever mothers have postpartum depression is a very low feeling for mothers.
“Chances are, you’re feeling pretty uncomfortable right now (trust me I am too). I’m going to challenge you to push past the discomfort society has placed on postpartum mental illness and hear me out.”
DiVincenzo then showed the second photo which seemed to be picture-perfect. She’s dressed is a white tee and distressed jeans with the room all cleared up. Her daughter has dolls and is looking up to her. It feels like the “perfect” day to be a mom.
“May has been declared Postpartum Depression Awareness Month and as someone with diagnosed postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD I feel like it’s time to show you what that can really look like, not just the side of me that’s ‘Facebook worthy.'”
DiVincenzo shares that the “truth” is that both of these photos represent her life “depending on the day.” She said that she does not usually share this vulnerable side of her motherhood, but she feels like it would be “pretending” if she would not share it with the world.
“We need to stop assuming that the postpartum period is always euphoric, because for 1 in 7 it’s not. We need to start asking new parents how they’re doing in a deeper way than the normal, ‘so how are you doing?’ that triggers the knee jerk, ‘everything’s great!’ response. We need to learn the signs, symptoms, risk factors, and support plans for postpartum conditions.”
DiVincenzo also started the hashtag #EndTheSilence to encourage parents to have healthy conversations with their peers and families.
According to Huffington Post, about 20 percent of mothers undergo and experience “maternal mental health complication like postpartum depression” and “others will suffer from anxiety or even the very rare but serious postpartum psychosis.”
APA has listed a couple of warning signs to know of mothers or people who know mothers may have PPD. Here is the list:
- A loss of pleasure/interest in things you previously enjoyed, including sex
- Eating much more/much less than usual
- Anxiety felt all or most of the time (or panic attacks)
- Excessive irritability or anger — mood swings
- Crying uncontrollably for long periods of time
- Changes in sleep patterns: the inability to sleep/sleeping too much, or a difficulty falling or remaining asleep
- Lack of interest in the baby, family, and friends
- Difficulty with concentrating, recalling details, or making decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
APA added that in some conditions PPD lasts for more than two weeks. In this case, mothers may need to seek professional help.
Maureen Fura, another brave mother sharing her PPD experience, said that mothers with PPD often feel like they are “bad moms.” This feeling of shame can cloud mothers’ emotional stability.
Anxiety is also a part of the equation. Fura said that aside from insomnia, too much worrying can lead to unhealthy thought streams throughout the day: “How much milk does she have?” “Did I change her diaper?” “I have to clean the house; I have to clean the house…”
Ultimately PPD is not an uncommon phase for mothers. For those who are seeking help or you know someone who may need help, you can follow these hotlines:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: text HELLO to 741-741
[Feature Image by Kathy DiVincenzo/Danielle Fantis Photography/Facebook]