Postpartum depression is real (and under Trumpcare, it’s a preexisting condition). Sadly, many moms often don’t speak up about their postpartum depression struggles, in fear of sounding as if they don’t enjoy being moms. This is why it’s so important that one mom in Ohio dug deep recently in a viral Facebook post.
Earlier this month, Kathy DiVincenzo shared two photos taken by her photographer friend, Danielle Fantis. One photo shows DiVincenzo in a classic “mom instagram” type pose, dressed up and smiling in a spotless house. But the other shows her looking absolutely exhausted and surrounded by mess. Why did she do this photo shoot? In honor of National Maternal Depression Awareness Month, DiVincenzo opened up about how she’s struggled with postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD, and how she wants to show what real life is like. Not social media life.
“I would only ever comfortably share one of these realities though and that’s the problem. The only thing more exhausting than having these conditions is pretending daily that I don’t,” she explained, adding that she works hard to hide the harsh reality from the social media world because she’s worried it would make people feel uncomfortable.
I’m afraid you’ll think I’m weak, crazy, a terrible mother, or the other million things my mind convinces me of, and I know I’m not alone in those thoughts. 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 used the hashtag #EndTheSilence, as a way to prompt other moms to open up about their struggles with PPD:
“In case no one has told you, you’re doing an amazing job. You are loved and you are worthy. You’re not alone. Information to local and national support will be in the comment section. I know how unbelievably hard it is to reach out, but I promise you it is worth it. YOU’RE worth it.
It was important for me to post this during my struggle because I wanted other new parents to know that while reaching out was the hardest step for me, it was the most important as well. I just realized that I was going through such a dark time, but my Facebook was full of smiling pictures of my kids. I was talking to Danielle one day about what a disservice that is to other postpartum mothers and how I wish someone could just post what postpartum really looks like for so many women.”
You can read the full post here:
This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.