This Mum's Facebook Post Went Viral For A Very Important Reason

Kathy DiVincenzo wanted to bring attention to the hidden illness of Postpartum Depression

MOST POPULAR

Having a baby is the best thing in the world.

As the story goes, you fall in love immediately with a little tiny creature made exclusively by you and another person and it gives you new meaning and fulfilment to your life.

Or so literally every film would have you believe.

Having a baby is, by a lot of people's standards (though not everyone's), pretty flippin' great overall, but the idea of instantaneous motherly-bliss is, on the whole, a lot of bull.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Almost every new mother experiences some feelings of fear, anxiety, fatigue and a whole lot more but, an unfortunate, though substantial few experience Postnatal (Postpartum in the US) Depression (what was once, rather condescendingly named 'The Baby Blues').

In the US it is estimated that 11-20% of women become depressed post-birth and 10-15% in the UK.

There are plenty of biological explanations out there to explain PND/PPD, for example the hormonal change in the body or a genealogical predisposition to depression, however, more and more people are coming forward (both within the medical profession and outside) to suggest social reasons can also play a part the depression.

This is what 27-year-old mum of two Kathy Di Vincenzo must have been thinking when she decided to burst the lid on her own depression.

Despite having a picture-perfect life (no really - check out her Instagram), Kathy suffers from Postpartum Depression.

And in a bid to remove the stigma from the disease, she posted this photo, alongside an inspiring caption:

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

She said in her post:

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. Thank you to my close friend Danielle from Danielle Fantis Photography, a fellow mom that struggled with ppd, for capturing these images for me and encouraging me to share them with you.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

So far the post has garnered 47k responses, over 70k shares and 13k comments. Yeah, quite a lot.

In fact, we spoke to a midwife who claimed that the statistics on Postnatal/partum Depression were, in fact, very conservative.

Sarah Murray, of Cambridge Midwives, told us that she considered that many women she dealt with had some form of Postnatal Depression, especially those who have not had continuity of care.

She believes social and emotional factors play a important role when it comes to preventing and dealing with PND, so Kathy's move to out and 'publicise' her struggles seems like a great start.

Murray told us that potentially preventing PND can come begin in planning the birth.

I think that PND can originate from a 'traumatic' birth. This doesn't mean that intervention equals trauma or that a 'normal' birth equals no trauma. But the trauma arise when a woman's birth deviates from her birth plan, and a cascade of interventions occur like a forceps delivery or an emergency C section, without proper maternal consent being gained i.e. a clear evidence based information given to her by the midwife and doctor, which she understands and be part of the decision making process.

Murray told us that the best way to prevent this is to create birth plan that has as many deviances as possible for things to go wrong and that women should bring in someone to advocate for them and demand answers from the midwives/ doctors, like a partner, family member or doula.

She also expresses the importance of discussing the birth after the fact with midwives of health professionals so it doesn't become a repressed point of anxiety and depression in their mind.

Post birth your serotonin levels are very low. You can't do all the things that help make you happy like have a drink with your friends or do an exercise class. People often look though you to your baby, and your worth gets demoted since you aren't earning for yourself and you're at the whim of a tiny tyrant.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The comments section in Kathy's post shows how keen many women are to share their experiences with each other, Murray also expressed the importance of reaching out and asking for help if you might need it, 'Reach out to local groups, tell your health visitor. Hold your hands up and say you are struggling, it will help'.

In fact, Kathy, from Ohio, is also a childbirth educator and hopes sharing stories will make a difference.

The overwhelming readjustment after birth is not one to be dismissed and it's fantastic that more people are speaking out for themselves and others. Let's keep talking.

More from ELLE UK: