It is suggested that one in seven mothers experience postpartum depression – but if this is the case, why don’t we see more ‘evidence’ of this on Facebook? Well, because it’s not always that easy to spot – and in this age of the ‘snap-happy selfie’, looks can be deceiving.
This is the message that Kathy DiVicenzo – blogger at Beyond the Bump – is sharing this week, with her own jarring depiction of what postpartum depression looks like in her life.
Kathy – who has been diagnosed with postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD – took to Facebook to share a split-photo reflecting her battle: on one side, she looks drawn, exhausted and despaired; in the other, she looks positively delighted with life.
“I’m going to challenge you to push past the discomfort society has placed on postpartum illness and hear me out,” she wrote, sharing her story in honour of Postpartum Depression Awareness Month.
“The truth is, both of these pictures represent my life depending on the day. 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. I work twice as hard to hide this reality from you [her readers] because I’m afraid to make you uncomfortable,” she added.
And why does Kathy go to such lengths to ensure her devoted followers don’t pick up on her inner turmoil? The answer is likely more relatable than you had thought.
“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,” she explained.
Now, Kathy is seeking to set things straight about the reality of the ‘postpartum period’.
“We need to stop assuming that it’s always euphoric, because for one in seven, 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.
“We need to break the stigma and #EndTheSilence by sharing our stories and letting others know they’re not alone.”
Kathy is now calling on mothers all over the world to join her in sharing their experiences, to help in breaking down that stigma.