More than ever, we see the terrible consequences of undiagnosed postpartum depression. Mothers take their lives or their child's life, leaving behind baffled family and friends. Most of the time, these well-meaning friends say that there were no warning signs - everything looked normal. But there is always more than meets the eye.
Depression is a dark spiral. The weeks after your child is born, you expect to feel immense joy. When the feelings of dread and guilt start to overtake your life, you wonder what is wrong with you. Then, you are too ashamed to let anyone know something is wrong. Why shouldn't you be happy? Motherhood is supposed to be joyful, or so they say.
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Kathy DiVincenzo, the mother of two kids, faced the reality of postpartum depression. Her viral post on FaceBook features two pictures. One shows a well-dressed mother with her two children, enjoying playtime with her young daughter. The other shows a disheveled mother, with messy hair and a glassy-eyed look on her face.
Part of the caption reads:
"…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."
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As a mother who faced postpartum depression, Kathy's words resonate with me. The pictures and posts you may see on social media never show the true feelings taking place in a mother's life. We tend to hide the rawness, opting to portray happiness, which is sometimes a lie.
Postpartum depression affects 1 out of 7 women. That means a few of your close mom friends are likely to skip the joyful stage after having their new child. Instead of believing the pictures they share, remember to reach out - postpartum depression can hide behind a big smile, polished outfit and cute haircut.