What happened after I finally told people I had postpartum depression.

Don't ignore it. It's serious.

It’s been almost six weeks since the birth of our daughter and I’m slowly beginning to come out of the fog .

 The shock of birth and subsequent demands of caring for a newborn are starting to wear off, and I have a little more mental capacity to think beyond the next breastfeeding. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while now, and I’m finally able to say it:

I have postpartum depression and have been struggling with it for a while.

While there are articles about postpartum depression where the mother is so depressed she is detached from the child or has suicidal thoughts, those are not the only symptoms of depression. I suffer from a form of PPD that doesn’t manifest itself in wanting to kill myself or harm my child. Nonetheless, it is depression and it is serious.


I thought I was just shellshocked from giving birth. I thought I was struggling to adjust from the sleep deprivation, the getting used to breastfeeding (holy moly, it hurts!), the routine of caring for the baby, etc. I thought it was the aftermath of all the events that had happened around the baby’s birth — from our dog being sick with cancer and having to put her down, to firing the first nanny, to finding a replacement nanny, who was amazing but kept me in a state of constant worry because she could leave at any moment due to her next engagement.

These may have been contributing factors to my current state, but I was already at high risk of PPD after suffering anxiety and depression during my pregnancy.

I’m supposed to be checking in with my health care providers, but I keep lying to them and telling them I’m fine. My psychiatrist’s answer is to keep pushing meds on me, and I’m determined to try to not go the medication route as much as possible while breastfeeding. My ob-gyn, while being well-intentioned, thinks the solution is to just lecture the heck out of me every time I see her about how I need to let things go and make my husband take on more responsibilities. I stopped seeing a therapist after a few sessions because she didn’t quite understand me. I don’t want to burden my husband with this because he’s got a lot to deal with at work. I can’t talk about this with friends because it will make them uncomfortable after a while. So, who do you talk to when you are struggling with PPD?

It’s such a taboo subject, especially in Asian culture; it almost seems shameful. Even as I write this, I am worried and scared of the reception I will receive — from the people who don’t understand why I would even have PPD (it’s not a choice), to people who say “Don’t worry you’ll get over it soon” or “It’s natural to feel a little down, you’re not depressed,” the folks who exclaim “You’re so strong I would never imagine you having anything like this,” and the well-meaning folks who will want to constantly ping me to ask if I’m OK.

Having PPD is not a choice. I didn’t ask to have these feelings or have my mind work this way. Every day I struggle between feeling helpless and hating myself for being in this state.

I’m severely behind on work and scared to even open up my email or check Slack. I turn down invitations from friends to meet up, and I haven’t stepped foot outside in weeks apart from doctor’s appointments. I forced myself to go to a social function soon after giving birth, then quickly went back home to my self-imposed solitude. Last weekend, I forced myself to get up and go to the farmer’s market for produce.

Slowly, I am fighting to gain a foothold on this downward spiral of apathy, depression, and helplessness. I crave human companionship and understanding, yet I shun it and push it away because it’s too overbearing and too much for me. I want help from others, yet I’m loathe to take it when offered. It’s not because I don’t appreciate it; it’s because I don’t know how to quite deal with it. In the past, I’ve been so burned from seeking help and not getting what I need that I’m scared to ask.

If you read this, and you see me, please don’t pity me or smother me with well-intentioned but overbearing advice or words of comfort. A simple, quick, silent hug will mean the world to me — to remind me I am not alone.

I will start my blog. I will plow through the backlog of work. I will go outside for walks with the baby. I will breathe. I will live again. I will win.

Family

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

Culture

Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wikipedia

Women in country music are fighting to be heard. Literally. A study found that between 2000 and 2018, the amount of country songs on the radio by women had fallen by 66%. In 2018, just 11.3% of country songs on the radio were by women. The statistics don't exist in a vacuum. There are misogynistic attitudes behind them. Anyone remember the time radio consultant Keith Hill compared country radio stations to a salad, saying male artists are the lettuce and women are "the tomatoes of our salad"...? Air play of female country artists fell from 19% of songs on the radio to 10.4% of songs on the radio in the three years after he said that.

Not everyone thinks that women are tomatoes. This year's CMA Awards celebrated women, and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles saw the opportunity to bring awareness to this issue and "inspire conversation about country music's need to play more women artists on radio and play listings," as Nettles put it on her Instagram. She did it in a uniquely feminine way – by making a fashion statement that also made a statement-statement.

Keep Reading Show less
popular