In the depth of my Postnatal / Postpartum depression I felt so alone. Absolutely isolated from the world. There was no history of it my family. There were no women in my community who knew what I was experiencing.
Actually, no, I remember this one young lady whom I found via a friend (I may have been stalking people for help). The relief I found talking to someone who felt what I felt. Someone who would not be judging me for something I cannot control. I always say I’d never wish PND on anyone, but at that moment, I was happy there’s one black woman going through my nightmare with me. So I thought. Our first conversation was so real and raw, comparing notes about the anxiety, expressing that feeling of worthlessness, the same feeling of wanting to run away from home. A week later my friend started telling me to pray. I’m a Christian so that made sense to me. Prayer indeed would help right. So we prayed together over the phone. And then things started getting really weird. She would start calling at 3am, telling me to pray. Her behavior became progressively strange with time. It took a very bad incident for me to realise that she had a psychotic break. Her family moved her to another continent and she cut all ties with me.
And so I was back to the beginning, searching, trying to find for anyone like me. The hardest for me was googling “black women who overcame Postnatal Depression” and finding zero results. I would google “Black celebrities with Postnatal Depression” and again, absolutely nothing. Why Celebrities you ask? I think we all have that mindset that “If a person with all that money and fame can go through this, then so Can I.” It somehow normalizes your situation. This was 6 years ago.
Today I read about Serena Williams Postnatal Depression
After her emergency C-section, Williams developed blood clots in her lungs, which caused coughing so intense that it ruptured her Caesarean scar and filled her stomach with blood. She needed more surgery and then weeks of bed rest. Following her traumatic experience during childbirth, depression set in.
“Honestly, sometimes I still think I have to deal with it,” she told the magazine of her depression. “I think people need to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying… because I wanted to be perfect for her.”
I love how she says ‘We need to talk more about it”. That’s is true. We need to scream at the top of our lungs until everyone understands what Postpartum Depression is. It is up to us women to fight this stigma.