Social media can be a minefield for moms because of all the pressure to present a "pretty" and happy picture of motherhood. But increasingly, moms like Kathy DiVincenzo are using social media to get real about the not-so-pretty, not-so-happy challenges many moms face.
For her and so many other moms dealing with some form of mental illness, the experience of motherhood has been both blissfully happy and painfully hard. In two photos she shared in honor of May being Postpartum Depression Awareness Month, she wanted to show both sides:
"As someone with diagnosed postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD I feel like it's time to show you what that can really look like, not just the side of me that's 'Facebook worthy,'" she wrote in the post, which went massively viral.
She explains that both pics "represent my life depending on the day," but she only ever shares one of these realities on social media (clue: it's the 2nd pic).
Of the first pic, showing a messier depiction of motherhood that many moms can probably relate to, she explains:
I work twice as hard to hide this reality from you because I'm afraid to make you uncomfortable. I'm afraid you'll think I'm weak, crazy, a terrible mother, or the other million things my mind convinces me of and I know I'm not alone in those thoughts.
We need to stop assuming that the postpartum period is always euphoric, because for 1 in 7 it's not.
She encouraged other women who have dealt with postpartum depression to share their stories. Many did.
The post has also been flooded with thousands of hearts and "thank you's" and supportive words.
Whether you're dealing with postpartum depression or any form of depression or mental illness, or simply having a shitty diaper-filled day, you might think you're alone.
But you're not.
DiVincenzo ended her post with this awesome pep talk for moms that also applies to anyone dealing with any form of mental illness:
In case no one has told you, you're doing an amazing job. You are loved and you are worthy. You're not alone. Information to local and national support will be in the comment section. I know how unbelievably hard it is to reach out, but I promise you it is worth it. YOU'RE worth it.
So go find a mom in your life, and ask her "how are you? No, how are you really?" And then listen.