An Ohio woman’s intimate photo shoot unveils a reality not many moms are willing to discuss.
Kathy DiVincenzo, a new mom and doula, has postpartum depression.
"This isn’t just a messy playroom, or my daughter’s messy room behind me,” DiVincenzo told InsideEdition.com. "This is a mental, physical, emotional anguish that goes alongside the mental, just normal motherhood struggles."
She said she was venting to photographer friend Danielle Fantis about her exasperation over new moms who appear to be in perfect shape on social media, when they decided to put together a photo series that would depict what many new moms experience, but hate to discuss.
“Moms, in general I think, we’re just constantly competitive,” she explained. “[It] was powerful for me saying, ‘Right now, I’m not okay.’ And I shouldn’t be afraid to share that.”
DiVincenzo, mother to a 4-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son, said the negative feedback to the photo shoot only proves her point.
“This is why we don’t speak out," she said. "Because people may think we’re whining, or this is what motherhood looks like. Not only should this be the happiest time of your life, but you definitely shouldn’t have a mental illness. Both of those things tied together [becomes] this overwhelming pressure.”
For her, postpartum depression started as anxiety and OCD after she gave birth to her son.
“[I was] hyper aware of everything that could possibly harm my son,” she said. “Other things like, just not enjoying things that I used to enjoy, or the normal signs of depression. It was consuming me. If I didn’t have an almost 4-year-old, I would literally be in bed all day.”
DiVincenzo, who continues to battle postpartum depression, said she wanted to share the photos to help address the stigma surrounding the mental illness, and let other women know they are not alone.
“This is something all moms go through,” she said.