1 in 7 moms deals with postpartum depression or another perinatal mood disorder.

That's a lot of women who are facing a serious situation, many of them in silence and without help, because there's a stigma attached to this type of illness.

Now, these women want to show us the faces of everyday moms with the condition.

Seven real women, all of whom survived or are currently being treated for PPD or other perinatal mood disorders such as postpartum anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, opened up about their experiences in a video so that we can keep talking about the fairly common condition. (You can scroll to the end to watch it — it's worth your two minutes.)


Photo collage created from video by Jill Williams Krause of Baby Rabies.

Here are some of the very real and honest feelings they shared:

"Just the sounds of crying, it really started to get to me."

"And my stomach always felt like when you miss a step when you're going down the stairs and your stomach jumps. That's how I felt all the time."

"I really wanted to act out this anger on inanimate objects around my husband. And it was such a weird feeling."

"I found myself just getting fixated on certain things, extreme worry about his health."

"I felt like I could finally ... I would be able to rest if I would die."







What is postpartum depression, anyway?

Some women experience "baby blues" after giving birth. Those last for a few days or a few weeks tops and pass. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms include the following: mood swings, sadness, anxiety, crying, irritability, trouble sleeping, and decreased concentration.

Postpartum depression is something else. It is one of the most common perinatal mood disorders, which can occur during or up to one year after pregnancy.


Photo by Thinkstock.

Mayo Clinic notes that "postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms of PPD are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks." They list the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

(For a list and explanations in "plain mama English," you can visit Postpartum Progress.)

Without treatment, PPD can last months — or longer — and interfere with your ability to bond with your baby (which can cause problems for your child later in life) and even turn into a chronic depressive disorder that extends well beyond your postpartum months.

I spoke to Jill Williams Krause of Baby Rabies, the woman behind this video, to learn more about barriers to seeking help.

"I experienced postpartum anxiety and OCD, which are two diagnoses I didn't even know existed until I read about them on Postpartum Progress," she shared. "I read it when my second was about 8 months old and, for the very first time, realized that I wasn't a 'bad' mom. I was sick."


Photo courtesy of Jill Williams Krause of Baby Rabies.

Why aren't more moms getting help? Well, for one, some "simply don't understand that it's not just feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts," Jill said. "They breeze through the six-week checkup not realizing that the obsessions, the visions, the panic are all things that they can get help for. Also, many moms are told they will get better with time."

Additionally, Jill says some moms "worry if they express that it's anything worse than a lack of sleep, they will lose their children."

Another barrier to reaching out for help is the way we've been presented with extreme stories of PPD in the media. "In many cases, their only exposure to a mom who has dealt with this is via a horrific news story. They don't want to be associated with that," Jill explained. Think: Cases where women tried to kill their babies (or actually succeeded).

But those cases are few and far between. We really need to focus on all the moms who are fighting this alone and silently — who can get better with help.

Because getting help matters so much.

Photo by Jill Williams Krause of Baby Rabies.

Here's what the women had to say about their lives after treatment.

"I started feeling like myself again, and I could tell that for six months, I had felt like a completely different person."

"I mean, it was really a moment where I felt like I'm kind of me again."

"I was doing things with the kids more. I wasn't over-analyzing every bad thing that could happen. And I wasn't crying as much."

"You will get better. You will feel better. You feel right now like you're going to feel like this for the rest of your life, but it does get better."





Watch these women talk about their experiences.

"The seven women in this video are each in various stages of recovery from various perinatal mood and anxiety disorders," Jill explained.

"We want women who are struggling to see this and hopefully see themselves, their struggle in another mom who is healing or who has come through the other side. We want them to see the photos of loving moms with happy babies and know that 'good' moms deal with this stuff. That they are good moms, too."

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Your weekly roundup of internet sunshine.

Hey everyone! Hope you're staying safe and healthy, and if you're not, at least you know you're not alone. I mean, omicron? Phew. Pandemics certainly know how to keep us on our toes.

If you need a respite or distraction from all that, we've got you covered. If immersing yourself in cute animal videos and feel-good stories of human awesomeness is wrong, who wants to be right? Nobody, that's who.

We all need a break from the less pleasant parts of life, and cheering ourselves up with simple, happy things is a tried and true way to push those endorphins and lift our mood for a bit.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

The scarf, a simple accessory that some find an essential fashion piece. Both fashionable and function with the warmth they provide, scarves can be a valuable gift for any occasion or person. Here, we've selected our best selling scarves from our store. At Upworthy Market, when you purchase a product, you directly support the artisans who craft their own products, so with every purchase, you're doing good. These scarves are not only unique, but they are hand-made by local artisans and all under $30.

1. Fair Trade Woven Dark Gray Alpaca Blend Scarf

Celinda Jaco selects a cozy blend of Andean alpaca for this handsome men's scarf. Classic in style, it features fine stripes of white and black woven through the dark grey textile. Hand-tied fringe completes a distinguished design.

cdn11.bigcommerce.com

Keep Reading Show less

"What Do You Know About The Female Body?" from Jimmy Kimmel

When Jimmy Kimmel takes to the street, you know you’re in for a good laugh at just how little we actually know about, well, seemingly anything. That goes for anatomy too. In this case, female anatomy.

In a segment called “What Do You Know About The Female Body?” men try—and hilariously fail—to answer even the most basic questions, like “does a female have one uterus, or two?” much to the amazement of some of their female partners.

Here are some of the very best bits of nonwisdom:

Keep Reading Show less