One Mum Reveals What Post Natal Depression Looks Like With These Heartbreaking Photos
Last week, Kathy DiVincenzo posted two photos on Facebook that she knew would make people uncomfortable. The photos illustrate perfectly what post natal depression looks like for her and many other women. Her post has since gone viral, as women everywhere relate to the mum’s heartbreaking photos.
The brutally honest images depict the doula, childbirth educator and mother of two sitting in a messy room, stressed and dishevelled with a desperately vacant expression on her face as her two children sit on the floor with her. The young mum looks defeated and miserable.
In the second photo, the room has been tidied and her children look neat and well-dressed. Kathy is smiling brightly while wearing fashionable clothing with her hair and makeup done. Everyone is posing perfectly and not a hair is out of place.
The contrast is striking, and something that was very much intentional. Kathy writes:
“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.
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.”
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 because I’m afraid to make you 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.
We need to break the stigma and #EndTheSilence by sharing our stories and letting others know they’re not alone. If you have had a postpartum mood disorder please share your story below, or simply post ❤ to show you can relate. Let’s show others that they don’t have to suffer in silence.
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.
I have been there. Life seems bleak and without any break in the constant demands of motherhood. I had four children within six years, and can easily say that my life looked very much like Kathy’s first image for a long time. But I’m here to say that you do get through it, your babies grow and there is light on the other side. The demands change as your children become more independent and life slowly starts to resemble something like the life you had before children, even if only just a little bit.
It is so important not to suffer in silence. We’re all in this together, aren’t we? As Kathy wrote above, you‘re doing an amazing job. You are loved and you are worthy.
You’re not alone.
If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal depression, contact PANDA Post and Antenatal Depression Australia