On some days, Kathy DiVincenzo looks like a perfectly put-together mom of two — but other days, her postpartum depression rears its head. In honor of Postpartum Depression Month, she decided to show both sides of her illness in dueling photos.
“The truth is, both of these pictures represent my life depending on the day,” DiVincenzo wrote on Facebook. “I would only ever comfortably share one of these realities though and that’s the problem.”
She says that part of struggling with postpartum depression is feeling compelled to act as though everything is normal.
“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.”
DiVincenzo wants people to know postpartum depression is more common than they think.
“We need to stop assuming that the postpartum period is always euphoric, because for 1 in 7 it’s not,” she says. “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.”
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“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.”
DiVincenzo’s post now has over 46,000 likes and 70,000 shares. She even inspired Fantis to share her own story of developing postpartum depression.
“I felt so guilty for having the intrusive thoughts and feelings that I was having. I thought many times that I could just ‘snap’ out of it and that I had absolutely no reason to be feeling the way I was feeling,” Fantis posted on Facebook. “You see, that’s the problem with Postpartum Mental Illnesses, women feel guilt and shame and aren’t prepared for the fact that postpartum mental illness is real and does happen.”
“If you are struggling, please don’t be afraid to reach out! You are loved, deserving, and worthy. You are NOT alone!”