Mum shares side by side photos to show the reality of postnatal depression | Metro News

rooz Mum shares side by side photos to show the reality of postnatal depression | Metro News image

Ellen Scott for Metro.co.uk Friday 12 May 2017 8:00 am (Picture: Danielle Fantis Photography)
Postnatal depression is incredibly common – but it’s something we rarely talk about.
We don’t see the reality of being a new mum on our Instagrams and on our TV screens. Instead we see blissful photos of mums holding their kids, perfectly organised lunchboxes, and daughters with Pinterest-y hairstyles. My son is a Thomas the Tank Engine fan and here are 16 reasons why I’m overjoyed about it
Showing the reality of motherhood – including the not-so-pleasant bits – is important. It’s the key to making mums who are struggling feel less alone.
Doula and mum of two Kathy DiVincenzo is breaking the silence around postnatal depression by sharing two side by side photos that show the reality behind the picture-perfect moments usually shared on Facebook.
‘Chances are, you’re feeling pretty uncomfortable right now,’ Kathy wrote alongside the photos on Facebook. The ‘real’ photo. (Picture: Danielle Fantis Photography)
‘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.’
Kathy went on to write that it’s ‘exhausting’ to pretend on a daily basis that she’s okay, explaining that she has to ‘work twice as hard’ to hide her struggle because she’s afraid to make people uncomfortable. A post shared by Kathy DiVincenzo (@mrsdivi) on May 26, 2014 at 10:56am PDT
‘I’m afraid you’ll think I’m weak, crazy, a terrible mother, or the other million things my mind convinces me of,’ she wrote, ‘and I know I’m not alone in those thoughts.’
Kathy wants her photos to urge people to stop assuming that the period after becoming a mum is always glorious and entirely happy, and to start asking new parents if they need support.
‘This all started with me venting to my close friend, Danielle Fantis , (who ended up taking the pictures),’ Kathy told metro.co.uk, ‘about how frustrated I was that I was struggling so much and constantly comparing myself to other people on Facebook who seemed to have it all together. A post shared by Kathy DiVincenzo (@mrsdivi) on Apr 13, 2014 at 4:47pm PDT
‘I was wanting so badly to scroll by and see a post I could relate to and that’s when Danielle suggested that I be that person for someone else.
‘It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve done.’
Kathy was scared to share the messy parts of her life online, but chose to be brave so she could bring awareness to the physical, mental, and emotional toll postnatal depression and other mental illness can have.
The photos show so much more than just a messy room. A post shared by Kathy DiVincenzo (@mrsdivi) on Apr 5, 2014 at 10:44am PDT
‘There’s a stigma around all mental illness, but I think there’s one specifically around the prenatal and postpartum mood disorders because we’re “supposed” to feel at our happiest,’ says Kathy.
‘Society pressures us as new parents to appear to have it all together and be overwhelmed with joy, so when that’s not our reality it can definitely make others (and honestly ourselves) pretty uncomfortable.
‘[Postnatal depression is] a very real, and often very debilitating, mental illness.
‘If you’re suffering through this you’re not alone and there is help available for you. A post shared by Kathy DiVincenzo (@mrsdivi) on Feb 9, 2014 at 9:58am PST
‘If your family or friend is a new parent please check in with them to see what they’re struggling with and how you can support them.
‘We all need to work towards ending the stigma and judgement surrounding prenatal and postpartum mood disorders of all kinds.
‘These are very real mental illnesses that are in addition to the “normal” stresses of motherhood. A post shared by Kathy DiVincenzo (@mrsdivi) on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:45am PST
‘We should all learn the risk factors, signs, and symptoms of these disorders so that we can help others or ourselves if needed.
‘Most importantly I think as a society we should all just pull the curtain back sometimes and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and honest.’