- Written by Brooklyn Toews
- Published: 12 January 2020
Postpartum is a word that is increasingly finding its way into the world’s vocabulary, but what does it actually mean?
Does it look like a “normal” depression for want of a better word? Well, for new mothers it can be as simple as not feeling like themselves, or as complicated as withdrawing from those you love and experiencing physical health problems.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, although most commonly reported by women it can also affect either parent, including those who adopt.
“There’s a lot of stigma surrounding postpartum mental health. I mean, for myself it was, ‘I have two beautiful children. I shouldn’t have to go through this. I’m safe from postpartum depression, I’m safe from postpartum anxiety,’ but I wasn’t. For a lot of women, they feel like they shouldn’t be going through this when really it can happen to anybody,” says Manitoba mother, Isabella Wiebe.
“After having my second son it took me over a year to actually realize that what I was experiencing wasn’t just everyday anxiety, but it was, in fact, postpartum depression.”
She says that bringing this up with people around you is also not an easy task because it means you have to be extremely vulnerable, and sometimes (but not always) open to judgment.
Wiebe adds, “I had dealt with anxiety and depression before in my life … I had kids to take care of and I was a wife. It was just this whole new thing that I was going through and it felt so new. Postpartum depression and ‘regular’ depression, if I can say that, feel very different. When you have your baby everyone says, ‘oh it’s this beautiful thing,’ which it is, but when you’re feeling not like yourself it doesn’t feel like a beautiful thing.”
To help share her experience and encourage those around her, Wiebe started making space for these conversations to happen with an event series called It’s Your Story.
I’ve written, and rewritten this post over and over… nervous to share it because I’m often scared of vulnerability….
The third event on Jan. 16 at the Morden Best Western at 7 p.m. will be focused on postpartum and making a plan for the ‘fourth trimester.’
She says the idea came about after thinking about moms who don’t seem to be themselves and maybe going through the same tough situation she was.
“I don’t want to be the one to be like, ‘Hey, I think you need some help.’ I do want to give them the option to self analyze and give the people in their life tools and resources to pass on.”
After speaking to her doctor, Wiebe was introduced to a couple of resources for postpartum depression but has since been searching for more and more which she has compiled into a list for attendees.
“Any kind of information is not a bad thing to have. You can not have too much information when it comes to mental health, in my opinion. So if you’re kind of feeling awkward about talking about postpartum you can come and listen and get the information and head back home. You don’t have to stay and you don’t have to speak … Exercise your right to getting the help you deserve.”