Last week, mom Kathy DiVincenzo posted two photos to Facebook that she knew would make people uncomfortable. However, she has a message that was too important not to be shared — discomfort be damned.
"Chances are, you're feeling pretty uncomfortable right now (trust me I am too)," she wrote alongside two photos of herself and her children. "I'm going to challenge you to push past the discomfort society has placed on postpartum mental illness and hear me out."
DiVincenzo posted a photo in which she and her children are disheveled, with toys spread everywhere, and another in which she and her children are posing flawlessly, without a hair out of place.
"The truth is, both of these pictures represent my life depending on the day," she wrote. "I would only ever comfortably share one of these realities though and that's the problem."
DiVincenzo wrote that as part of Postpartum Depression Awareness Month, she wanted to share her own experiences of postpartum depression to "break the stigma."
"The only thing more exhausting than having these conditions is pretending daily that I don't," she wrote. "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."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 9 women experiences postpartum depression — but as DiVincenzo says, it's still an issue that largely goes undiscussed.
"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," she wrote. "We need to learn the signs, symptoms, risk factors, and support plans for postpartum conditions."
In doing so and in sharing personal experiences with postpartum depression, she wrote, we can begin to let others know that they aren't suffering in silence.
"In case no one has told you, you're doing an amazing job," she wrote. "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."
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