The REALities Of Postpartum Depression | Crooked Media
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August 05, 2022
The REALities Of Postpartum Depression

In This Episode

One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the  year after giving birth. Co-host, Meg Scoop shares her journey with postpartum depression and the importance of moms’ mental health after giving birth.

Let’s keep the conversation going! Follow us @imanistateofmind on Instagram and Email us at AskDrImani@crooked.com

Looking for more resources on postpartum depression? Check out www.postpartumdepression.org

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome to Imani State of Mind. If you’re looking for a podcast to help get your mind right, laugh with some girlfriends and learn something new, then you are in the right place. I’m your host, Doctor Imani. And I truly believe taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your bodies. So let’s take a moment to release everything that last month tried to do to knock us down, because July tried it, but we made it to a new month with new opportunities. Before we get the show started, I want to do a mini check in on my girl and my favorite cohost Meg. Meg what’s up with you?

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m doing good girl. I’m on the other side of COVID. Praise the lord. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Praise the lord.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Um so you know, baby’s doing good. Kid’s doing good, man’s doing good. So my skin’s glowing. Okay. I don’t have no adult acne right now. I’m happy.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Your skin is glowing. Like you look super nice. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Thank you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You look really– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Thank you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I know you look really nice today. Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Thank you. You do too. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Thank you. I don’t know why. Because. Well, remember how I was like, I didn’t. I haven’t gotten COVID yet and blah blah blah and y’all out here licking people’s faces and coughing in each other’s mouths and da da da da. And guess who got Covid? Me. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, I got COVID. [sigh]

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s oh. You know what, don’t be mad about it, because I was just reading somewhere that the original COVID for every like one person who got it, they transmitted it to like 2 to 3 people. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Listen. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And then this new variant, every one infection like you infected 18 other people. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: This let me tell you something. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: [laughing] It’s crazy. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like I like I feel like I got. Like. I feel like mentally like I’m off. I don’t know if like that’s what you experienced afterwards. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But like be like, I so I isolated. My boyfriend’s in the house and my son’s in the house. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And I was like, okay, Imani, like you a doctor, you used to work in a lab. Like, you know, how to quarantine. You know how to, like, you know, do this scientifical. You know, scientifical shit, like you can, like like you like no one in this house is going to get COVID except for me. And I did it. But the isolation like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Super fucked me up. Like it really. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s tough. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like I feel off, you know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I went for a walk today for the first time in like, I guess like ten days. And that was really nice. I was like, oh my god. Like, the air’s on my skin and like, Oh my God, look at those butterflies. But like, I’m still kind of like. Ehh.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wait, you didn’t even go outside like to sit? During your quarantine? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I did. I did. But like, I was so weak. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like I was so weak, I didn’t have an appetite. So I was, like, dizzy. And I almost fainted one time, and it– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was just like. And I really like I hate being sick, like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I just I hate–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Same. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Being sick. So I was like, I’ve done everything. I did everything I was supposed to do. I’m still the only person I feel like in the store with a mask on. Like, I’m just like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Nope, I’m like, get away from me. Like, I’m not trying to get that, but I got it and I’m grateful. Listen, everybody out here who is like, I’m tired of wearing masks and da da da and blah, blah, blah, I’m like, listen, like whatever COVID was about in 2020, like when that shit first came out, when that shit first dropped, when COVID first dropped [laughing] um and then people was dying in a hospital because they literally were like drowning. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: In their own, like, like mucus, like in their lungs. Like, it didn’t bother me. It didn’t affect my chest, but, like, my head was awful. This, like, this was I mean, I never, ever, ever, ever want to feel that way again. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. I’m just happy that I’m better. I’m happy that, you know, my skin looks nice today. I don’t know why. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I was going to say. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Probably because I haven’t eaten. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You do not look like. Girl. You don’t look like a Covid patient. You look good. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Well, thank you. I’m like, I lost some weight. I’m like, oooh okay. I mean, now here’s the thing. I like I love to eat. I’m I’m not somebody who doesn’t not eat, but like, I’ve just been eating like bagels, like, left and right because I’m just I’m like I just like I just have to like I got to get my weight up something. I just I feel so, like, off, but in any case, enough about me. Enough about me. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: There’s going to be a brain fog. I was going to tell you, because I still have the brain fog from when I had it a few weeks ago. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I notice like sometimes when I’m because I’m usually like really quick witted. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And like lately I haven’t, like the last word of my sentence. I’d be like, What is that word? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like it takes it just, it’s a little. It’s from COVID. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But hopefully it goes away because I can’t be doing this. Okay. I don’t like that feeling. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, I was just mad, worried. I was like, what if I get long COVID and what like it was for somebody who’s prone to worrying, like being alone and sick and like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Uh huh. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Finally today, legit, I was like, you can’t, like. Like, I would just, you know, be in my news app looking at stories and I’m like, you can’t read nothing else about COVID. Like, that’s it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Because it just, it makes me it like, brings me down like it just makes me– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Feel like I’m back at where I was. So everybody out there whose dealing with COVID right now, whether you got it or a loved one’s got it like I am so sorry this BA.5 or whatever. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Omarion variant um is not to be played with like. Listen, I am sorry. I hope everybody out there is staying safe and please wear your mask because then you know, we wouldn’t get sick. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And stuff. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So anyway, enough about me, but not but never enough about you. Um, that being said. So listen, last month it was all about the REALationships we have in our life. Like what are the people in our lives really saying about how we value or upkeep our mental health? I hope you really took a deep look into your own relationships to get your answers. This month we are still going to keep it real, but we are evaluating the substance or the state of things as they actually exist. What’s your reality? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Now we’ve been there where we create these fantasies in our head of how we think certain situations should go instead of trying to face the facts of how they really are. This month we’re facing the facts, so we learned how to deal, cope, and grow with the situations we’re faced with. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So without any further ado, let’s get to the show. [music break] We want to kick the show off by hearing from you. What’s on your mind? It’s time for Ask Dr. Imani anything. Meg, who does our letter come from today? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Today’s letters from Alex. And here is what she had to say. Dear Dr. Imani, I am pregnant with my second child, and unlike my first, I am not excited about being pregnant this time around. I feel so guilty just saying this out loud. For my first child, I did the baby announcement, gender reveal and big lavish shower. My pregnancy was as smooth as it could be and my son slept through the night on most nights starting out. So I have no reason to dread this pregnancy. It’s been a dream of mine to be a mother, so I’m confused why I’m dreading being a mom for the second time. Most days I find myself crying that I’m pregnant. I get anxiety thinking about having this second child. I have no energy or desire to get the nursery together and have no interest on knowing the baby’s sex. I basically have no interest in anything baby related at all. Both my son and my husband are excited for our new addition. So most days I pretend I’m excited too. But to be honest, I feel no connection with my baby bump and can’t wait to push this baby out to give to my husband. Could these feelings be signs I will have postpartum depression once the baby’s here? Is this abnormal to not have a connection with my baby yet? How can I get out of this funk and get excited for my new baby blessing? Please help. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Yeah. I mean, legit. I mean, okay. So I usually talk a lot. But, Meg, I know that, like, we talked before, and you said that you’ve had that you’ve experienced postpartum depression. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: All I’m going to say I’m just going to say real quick, because, Meg, I kind of want you to like lead this one, um is that I had pre partum depression and so I was really depressed during my pregnancy. And then as soon like literally as soon as I pushed my son out of my body, I was like, yay, it’s over. Like, I just really did not enjoy being pregnant. Um. But Meg, I know that you dealt with postpartum depression, so um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Is there anything that like is there anything that Alex said that kind of resonated with you? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, yeah, for sure. This whole thing. But I was going to say, I mean, this is this is how she feels before she has a baby. So she might have, she might have the same situation as you with the pre partum depression and then may feel different once the baby’s out. But, you know, I remember when I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t really have too much pre partum depression, definitely postpartum. Um. You know, one of the things she says that she felt no connection with her baby bump, I felt a connection with my baby bump. But I didn’t feel a connection with my baby when he came out. And I felt bad about that because I felt like, you know, on TV, women push the baby out and they’re crying and they’re like, oh, I love you– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh my god. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –So much. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: My baby. I look, I pushed him out and was like, oh, my gosh, hey, like, what’s up, dude? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like you was in my stomach this whole time. Like, welcome to the world. You know, it was like I was more in awe of my son then like, super in love with him because it was like, I mean, the truth is, I don’t know this man. He don’t know me either, right? Yes. He was in my body. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right, right, right, right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: This baby. You know what I’m saying? But it was like it’s like we got to get to know each other. This is a new life for both of us. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And so I think we need to give mom some grace, because I don’t think all moms feel like that from the very beginning. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know. It was a little bit different with my daughter. But for my my first child, my son, it was just kind of like, you know, I was so terrified of like, can I keep him alive? You know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like, is he breathing? Is he getting the best nutrition? Is he? I was so terrified of everything that I just, you know, I think I drove myself kind of crazy. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Um trying to be perfect for him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And. You know, it was really it was tough. It was tough. But I will say that now I am, you know, on the other side of it, I can tell you that I you know, if you have to ask, do you think you’re going to have postpartum depression, you’ll probably have it because you probably know some of the signs, you know. Um. And so if you do, there’s no shame in getting help, because I will tell you, I probably had postpartum depression way longer than I should have, because I saw the signs and I didn’t get help, I was just like, dang, this is postpartum depression and just left it like that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s like. [laughing] 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I mean, I, there’s something that you said that really like hit me, which is, you know, I mean, yes, in every society and pretty much every culture, it’s well, oh you know, you’re going to be a mom like, oh my God, this is the best thing that ever happened. And I mean, as far as like, that’s what we’re we’re told and that’s what we’re taught, like what we should be emulating in terms of like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh my God this is going to be the best thing. And like, you know, this so magical and like, oh my God, I’m totally in love with this baby. I mean, listen, I’ll be completely [laughter] I’ll be completely honest. Like when I when I was pregnant, I hated it. And this is from somebody who I didn’t have a difficult pregnancy like it like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –I watched all the law and all the law orders that ever were made. [laughter] Um, but I was also, like, mad, depressed. And the reason why I was really depressed is because as crazy as this sounds now, I felt like a failure. Like, I felt like, okay, I was like, Imani, you are a full fledged doctor. I was in residency. Um. There was I mean, of course, when I was pregnant, there were like a bunch of other like female residents at the time who were also pregnant. And like, all of them were married. I wasn’t married. I didn’t really know my son’s father very well. And I just felt like I was a big failure. Like I felt like, wow, like you did all this so that you could, like, basically be a single mom. Noth– not that it’s, again, nothing against single moms. That’s not what I’m saying. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: What I’m saying is I felt like I was still very much victim to, okay, so you’re going to do all your schooling, you’re going to find the perfect dude, you’re going to get married, you’re going to have a kid. And obviously that’s not what happened. And and adding on top of that, the fact that I had been depressed for years, years, I’d been depressed definitely since college. And so now I was what 30. So I’ve been dep– I was depressed. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wait. Were you getting treatment for this? Or you knew you were [?]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was I was just depressed. When I was pregnant I still had to be on call at the hospital, like I had to work overnights. Like it was still I mean, it was it was really rough. And on top of that, like I said, I really didn’t, like I’m somebody who at that point thrived on planning. Like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m a doctor, I’m a do this is what I’m going to do today. I made a list. I made little checkboxes, you know, like everything was great. And then here I am, you know, basically pregnant by some dude I ain’t really even know like that, you know what I mean? And so I tried– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –To I tried to view it, you know, lots of different ways. But for me, it I just felt like a really big failure. But then once I had my son, I was like, oh my God. Like, you look at your face, we got the same face. Oh, my God. I didn’t think like my son’s father’s Puerto Rican. He’s more fair skinned. And I was like, oh, my God. Like I made a clone, you know what I’m saying. [laughter] Like I just felt I was just like oh, my God. Like this. Like, I was like, my son has my face and he’s and he’s so like, he’s so light skinned. Like, I was like, I can’t believe, I was just like, genetics is wild. And then, like, the human body is crazy. I was just I was just so in awe of that. Now, I was terrified. Like, it sounds like you were, too, after you had your son, your first child. Because I’m going to tell you right now, when I when I [laughing] when I pushed my son out, I gave birth at home. And so I had like two midwives and like a doula and my mom was there. Um. And so I was just like, Oooh, okay, you know, I’m gonna go take a shower. So they kept, like, knocking on the door like, Yo, you need to come outside, you need to bond with your son. And I was like, Yeah, I’m a bond with my son. But I was like, can I just, like, wash my ass real quick? Like, I just had, like, a whole baby, like, calm down. So I was like, y’all relax. Like, I’m. We we gon bond. Like, trust me. Like, I’m going to be there for, like, the rest of his life, okay? Like, everybody calm down. But I. But, like, this was the funniest part to me, so. So, like, I push my son out, and then, you know, they hand me this. This baby. I’m an only child. I don’t have siblings. I don’t know how to hold a child at this point like a baby. And, you know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Ohhh. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: They arms I mean, arms. They necks all over the place. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And they were like, okay, here you go. And I was like, okay, what? [laughing] I was like, What? I was like, I don’t know what you trying to do. I’m like, You probably should put him on a bed or something because I’m not really there yet to be trying to, like, hold this, like, fragile new earthling, you know what I mean? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Not. I’m not there yet. [laughing]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So. Yeah. I was like I was like, I don’t know. Like, you might need to. I was like, why don’t you lay him down for a second? And then, you know, like, we can practice this. And they were like, Imani, no. Like, you have to do this. And I was like, I don’t know how to do any of this. So it was–  

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s so funny. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Is. I say I say all that to say that it, having a baby is very overwhelming. I mean. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: What let’s not even talk about the physicality of it, right? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s just it’s one thing like when I gave birth to my son, I was like, okay, so or I’m sorry. When I was pregnant, I was like, okay, so I’m a have him and then it’s going to be over, but it’s not over. It’d be one thing if like it’s kind of like you do a triathlon and then you get to like go chill afterwards. But when you have a baby, like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That’s when it starts up. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Even though you just went through this incredibly like physical, like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Body altering. Because your pelvis, like your pelvic bones, like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Shift open. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Come apart, right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: They come apart and then it and then you there’s the hormones, there’s– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mmm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –All the other things that you’re dealing with. And then it’s like, oh, here’s, here’s this brand new, like, sack of like flesh sack. They can’t communicate with you. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup, and–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: The eyes don’t open. They sleep all the time. Like it, I was just like, this is the craziest shit. Like, I don’t even un– I was like, I don’t even understand why people have more than one child. Like, this is crazy. So anyway, Alex, to, to, to your letter, okay, let’s, let’s go back to your letter. You are naturally overwhelmed. You have a child. You have a child already. You’re pregnant. Um. Just so you’re just so you’re aware. Like if you’re not really into, like having another baby shower, I think that’s okay. Because do a– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Lot of people have baby showers for their second baby? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Some do, some don’t. It just depends. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, like most people already–

 

MegScoop Thomas: I mean, I did, but like at the stuff that I put on the registry, it was like diapers. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But the first one, it was like, I need this, this, this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: [?] a million more things, but you don’t really need it. So, I mean, I think it just depends, you know, but I don’t think she should feel bad about that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But I do think she should talk to her doctor about like, you know, her feelings because like you said, she might have pre partum depression. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it may go away. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Exactly.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Or it may not. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. I would. I mean if I had to do it again, I definitely would have opted to take an antidepressant when I was pregnant. And there are a number of antidepressants that you can take when you’re pregnant. There are a number of antidepressants you can take even if you uh choose to breastfeed your baby um afterwards. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I wish for for certain. That I would have opted to get mental health help when I was pregnant and also afterwards, because I still I mean, I felt better, but I was still depressed. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Which meant that I was still making like really dumb decisions, not about my son, but just about my life in general, like choosing to try and have a relationship with my son’s father, who I really didn’t know. And surprise, it didn’t work out because I was like, I don’t even know who you are. And and at the end of the day, I really don’t even like you as a person. So, [laughter] you know, like, it’s just like I was just making like wild decisions. Bad decisions. But Alex, you’re like, I understand the pain that you’re feeling. Like you definitely sound depressed. I really just think, like Megan said, you need to, like, talk to your doctor. Like, you really need to talk to your doctor. You need to get to a better place so that you can realize kind of like how where me and Megan are now that none of this is your fault. This is very overwhelming. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, we just talked about, like me and Megan just talked about, like how devastating mentally COVID can be. And that did not involve pushing of a baby out of our body. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: This was just because we didn’t feel good. Like, physically, you’re dealing with hormones, you’re dealing with, you know, just like I don’t even know what it would be like to be pregnant and pick up another child like physically. [sigh] Right.

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s not fun. Okay? It’s not fun. You’ll be wanting to give them both away. I’m just saying. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly right. And so I’m just like Alex. Like girl. Like it is. It is. Okay. Like you have done nothing wrong. If you’re not excited about your baby right now, that is okay. Like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You’re going to be okay. Your new baby’s going to be okay. I just think that you should, you know, you’re going to go through these feelings and having pangs of guilt. But I think the most important thing is that you just talk to your doctor and tell your doctor how you’re feeling. Because I know a couple people who also had pre partum depression, and once they got the help they needed, it really, really, really made a difference for them. So um and I’ve had I’ve had patients who were pregnant um and were depressed and I’ve had patients who are not pregnant. They had had their baby and they were depressed and, you know, just a little bit of medication in these people’s cases really made a huge difference. So, you know, I wish you the best. This is the way that you’re feeling has an end point. You just need to talk to your doctor and you need to just like get the help that you need. So.

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I would also say, I would add one more point. Give yourself grace. It is okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You don’t have to be a woman who is so excited to have a baby. Embrace how you feel. Because trust me, there are a lot of women who feel the same way. They just are too afraid to say it. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So just understand. It’s okay. You don’t have to be interested in having a baby at all. But I would suggest you find a therapist or, uh you know, a psychiatrist, somebody you can talk to about your feelings before the baby’s born. Because it’ll make things easier once the baby is born. To have that person to kind of be honest with and tell your feelings too. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I mean, actually, I just thought about, this is random, but there’s a um there is a I guess I don’t know if I would use the word tribal, but there’s kind of like a society in in China and they are kind of they’re very much off the grid. And so in in this particular culture, it’s matriarchal. But also like women have babies, but like literally as soon as those babies can kind of like walk, they give they they quote unquote, “give those babies” to all the like all the kids in the village raise themselves. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know what I’m saying? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So it’s kind of like like we have this expectation in our society where it’s like, oh, you know, like you’re a terrible mom if you not all up in your baby face, if you not, you know, always trying to like, you know, create like, you know, Instagram moments and and knitting socks and all this other stuff that ain’t nobody got time for, like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: If you really think about it, when I, when I was thinking about this, this this society they like, the women basically are like, okay, I did what I had to do, okay? Like I did what I had to do. I brought a life into this world. And you know what? Like, I’m like, y’all little kids can go raise each other, and I’m a go do what I have to do, which is adult things. And I, you know, I bring that up because, Alex, you are being overwhelmed with a lot. And I think a lot of also what you’re being overwhelmed with is just societal expectations. And. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. And like, you know, like Megan said, like, give yourself some grace. Like stop being so hard on yourself. It’s going to be okay. There is an end point, but you just have to like find a doctor and do the work and. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And you’ll feel a lot better soon and honestly, if you have the time to. You know, give us an update on how you’ve been doing after you had your baby. Please let us know, because– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: We’re both moms and we’ve both been there. And it does get better. It does get better. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes it does. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But you just have to, you just have to go through the motions and do the work. So I wish you the best. I know Megan wishes you the best, too. And.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. Yes. Definitely. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. And let us know how you’re doing. So, Alex, thank you so much for submitting your question. And I really hope that we were able to help you. Today’s question is a great segue into our deep dive topic for this week. Today, we’re going to be talking about the realities of postpartum depression. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, one in eight new mothers will be affected by postpartum depression, but the risk is significantly higher for new mothers of color. Then to add to that, while Black women are more likely to have postpartum depression, they are less likely to receive help. Meg and I have so much we want to say about this topic and we’re going to dive right in after we take this quick break. 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome back. I’m eager to be getting into this topic of postpartum depression, which is a condition in which a new parent may experience constant feelings of sadness, emptiness, low energy, anxiety, irritability and poor sleep or appetite. I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with my own mom and she mentioned to me that she believed she had postpartum depression. It made me realize that she’s a regular person like me, but it also made me think how many other women may be or think they are going through something like postpartum depression who don’t have someone to have the conversation with. Some researchers have suggested as many as 50% of women with postpartum depression or PPD do not report it. I’m hoping our conversation today will help normalize having conversations centered around PPD, especially with my fellow Black women. I know, Meg, that you mentioned on the show a few times before about your own personal experience with postpartum depression. Can you tell us a little bit more about your story? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. You know, when I had my son, I, you know, like I said earlier, I wanted to be so perfect. And I think that I set myself up for failure because I wanted him to have the best of everything. I wanted to be the best mom, you know? But I didn’t feel those touchy feely things that you’re supposed to, quote unquote, “supposed to feel” when the baby comes. So I already felt like a failure when he was born. Like, why don’t I? Why didn’t I cry when he was born? Like, why what’s wrong with me? You know? And then from there, it was hard. I realized that a lot of times postpartum depression also has to do with you not feeling supported in some way. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like, for example, I lived halfway across the country, away from family. I didn’t have a lot of help. I didn’t have a big village. So, you know, when you’re dealing with all the raging hormone, you know, the hormones are levels are trying to figure out where they’re supposed to be in your body, dealing with the crying baby, lack of sleep, nipples hurting. You know, you’re dealing with all this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like ow. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And then I don’t have. [laughing] Right. And then.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like, you just reminded me. I’m like, clutching my chest. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl, I’m saying this as my boobs hurt right now. Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I did it again. Oh lord. You know, all of this stuff. And then I didn’t have anybody to talk to because I felt like if I talked about it, then that would be me being a failure. And every time, you know, after you have your baby, you got to go to the doctor for doctor’s visits, for the baby and for yourself. And they always have a questionnaire that’s like, Mom, this is for you. How do you feel? Have you thought about harming yourself in the last seven days? Have you thought about harming the baby? You know and everything. You know, have you cried? Have you, like, been able to see the happy side of things like all these questions? I was being like, Yeah, I’m happy. Yeah, I cried. Just lying because I felt like if I put the truth on there that they were going to think I was a bad mom. CPS was gonna get called. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, like all this stuff. But the truth is, it’s really just a questionnaire for mom to see where you’re at because they want you to be better and feel better. You know, I could have, if I had answered those questions truthfully, my doctor would have been like, okay, well, maybe we need to start considering some kind of medication for you. You know, I had one of my, one of my really good friends. We were going through postpartum depression around the same time. And she was like, Oh, I’m getting some meds. Okay. And she. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: She works in the hospital setting. She and she was happy. And I just looked at her and I was like, oh, my gosh, I should probably do that. And I just– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –didn’t do it because, again, I felt like I would be a failure. You know, even though I thought it was fine for my friend to do it, for me to do it, I was like, No, I’ll be a failure if I do that. So, you know, there’s there’s no shame in it. And this time around, I was ready. I had a therapist. I told my therapist like, hey, I had postpartum depression before. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Watch me. You know, as we have our sessions, if, you know, you know. And so, you know, she’s been very instrumental in helping me just kind of make sure I check in with myself, check in with her that I don’t have postpartum depression this time around. And this time I’m like, look, Meg. Which which which uh prescription do you want? Go research yourself. So when you talk to your doctor, if you need this, you can be like, I have looked at these lists of medications. Do you recommend any of these for me? Like. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Just be more proactive with it this time because there’s no shame in it because at the end of the day, your kids need a happy and healthy mom. Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it doesn’t it doesn’t matter if it means you have to get on medication to be that kind of mother for them. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s important that they have that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. No, that’s like the first thing that you said really reminds in me of myself as far as having prepartum depression, as far as like not having the support. Now, keep in mind, like I, I literally live a mile away from my parents and I pretty much always have since I’ve been in L.A. Um. But I do have a tendency to isolate when I am depressed. And so my mom, you know, my mom was here like she was definitely around. She would definitely, like, try to like get me out the house and like do stuff. But I was just I don’t know. I like, I just like when I want to isolate, I just dig in and I’m just like, on the couch and I’m just like, no, I got I got to see what Detective Stabler is, you know, is up to on Law Order, you know what I’m saying. This week, like, I really, you know, I can’t fuck with y’all right now. Like, this is real. This is real, like, serious. I got to solve these crimes. But with my mother, my mother and her mom, my grandmother have had had because my grandmother passed away, had a really. [pause] I would say I think contentious is a is an appropriate word. They had a really contentious relationship. And when my mother got married to my biological father, my grandmother was very much against it and very much let my mother know, basically, like, you know, you married this man and you like you’re a failure. Now, my grandmother had her own issues. She was very, very wrong about that. But when my mother got pregnant a couple of months after my parents got married, my mom was, my mother’s from New York City. And at this point in time, she was living in upstate New York. And so she really did feel alone a lot. And even though my dad was there, my dad was working and my mom had to stop going to journalism school because the nausea and the morning sickness. But she felt very much alone and because she didn’t have a lot of support, you know, after she had me, it was, to hear my mother tell it. I was born in December at the end of December. So if you can imagine how upstate New York is at the end of December, it’s basically–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Canada. And it’s just blizzard conditions and it’s dark and, you know, there’s not a lot of daylight. And so that didn’t help as well. Eventually, my grandmother did come to help out with me, which from what my mom told me was definitely, you know, helpful and a relief. But at the same time, I think not having support and like we talked about, like societal expectations of, you know, oh, like you’re mom now like this is this is, you know, like I can only imagine in the seventies, like, let’s not even talk about right now. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I can even imagine, I can’t imagine how in the seventies it was just like like it was, it was pushed on to women like, well, okay, so you in your early twenties, you got to get married, which to me is like, that’s just crazy. Like when I was in my early twenties–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was out here um like really like feeling myself. But you got to get married and then, you know, like being a mother is like the most fulfilling, you know, role you’ll ever have in your life. When to a lot of women like what they choose as their profession may be very fulfilling. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. And I think that’s what, that’s something that was hard for me because I had you know, I had my son at 33. So I had been in my profession. Well, I’d been a career woman for at least 13 years. So it was– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –Just kind of like, I’m doing well. I love what I do, now I have to switch gears and care about somebody when I’ve been caring about myself for so long, you know, it’s– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s just a harder transition that I think people don’t put enough emphasis on. So you feel like bad because it is hard for you, but that’s the truth. It is hard. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s um I think, you know, one of the things that was also. Kind of difficult for me too was seeing like my son’s father like he want he wanted to participate but I mean, listen, like we all know and it’s not even if you don’t have a child um or or you’ve ever had a baby, it’s not a far reach to to know that, like when babies are very small, they want their mom. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like they want they mom. That’s it. Not to say that, like, the dad doesn’t help or doesn’t play a role or can’t bond with the child. But like when those babies wake up in the middle of the night, like they are like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I want my mom, get out of my face. You with this, you know, man, man, energy, like get out of here. I don’t even want to hear it. [laughter] And so, I mean, that’s if you’re in a heterosexual relationship. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m laughing cause that’s how my daughter is right now. I’m like, this is her every day, she be looking at my fiancee, her father, like, [imitates sound of baby crying] like who are you? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right, right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl that is your dad.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: She like [?]. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: [?] see him every day of your life he holds you every day, stop acting like that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: She like [?]. Like I can’t feed off of him. Like, what’s like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Your purpose, right? So it’s it just like at every turn as a mom, you just feel a societally, you feel like a failure. Personally–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –You feel like a failure because you may not be like, oh, my God. Like, all my dreams came true when, you know, my dream was to be a doctor. Like, I honestly– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Like and I’ve said this to my son, this is going to sound terrible. But I was like, listen, I really didn’t want kids. And like I said, now you are the best child someone who didn’t want kids could have ever gotten because he’s just so, like, sweet and easy and, like, just agreeable and just, like, super awesome. But, like, ah listen, I know how I was as a kid, and I was like, please God, I do not want to deal with a small version of me like that. Like I was just a mess for, you know, I mean, for for a lot of reasons. I had, you know, a lot like trauma and loss and stuff in my life as a young kid. But I was like, please, I don’t want to deal with me. Like, I can’t like I can’t even deal with me as an adult. I don’t want to deal with a smaller version of me. But as mothers, at every turn, we’re kind of being told that, you know, or even, Oh, oh this is my favorite. Like, I remember being pregnant and it was kind of when it started like, like a this, this fascination with women who have babies and snap back super quickly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, I remember like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: [indistinct]. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, like, I remember, like, you know, being at the grocery store and like, looking at tabloids and it was like, so-and-so had a baby, like, three days ago, and she’s. Oh, oh it was it was this chick. It was some model who was like in a Victoria’s Secret show. And this chick. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: This this listen this bitch had a baby, like, literally, like five days or some shit before the runway show, and this bitch was out here. I mean, just like, I mean, every ab. Every ab– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –That you and I was like, okay, I’m like, this is sick. Like, like, even if. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like girl, even if you could snap back, I mean, congratulations. I guess, like, if that’s if that was your goal. But I’m like, this is not cool. Like, that’s really– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Not it’s first of all, it’s unusual. Second of all, we don’t need to glorify this. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And having a baby like yeah, like your body should look dilapidated because there was like a little person inside of it. And now there’s, like, this, you know, like, it takes a while for it to snap back. Now, listen, when I did snap back, I was like, oh, my God, the human body is amazing. But at the same time. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was still in awe like, holy shit. Like, I had a baby, like, five months ago, and here I am at a party. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like what? Like, look at look at nature. I was like, this is crazy, but, like, legit. There’s just there’s there’s way, way too many uh pressures that are placed on women who want to have a baby. And then once they do have a baby, it’s like there’s so many there’s so many points where they’re being told that, like, you’re not doing it good enough. You’re not, you know, you’re not you don’t have your pre-baby body or PBB back, you know? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. You know. Are you breastfeeding? Oh. Oh, don’t even get me started about like. Oh, are you are you formula feeding like some women– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Just can’t lac– like they just don’t lactate that way. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s hard. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s hard. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s hard. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s hard. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I mean, it took me I had so many issues even with this. The first one I was like, look I’m gonna just pump and so that in you know after he started getting bigger he’s used more formula and I just stopped pumping at six months but this one I was like okay let me try to breastfeed. I had to get this, this baby had a tongue tie, a lip tie. I had to get that corrected, my nipples was falling off. Okay. It was hurting so bad. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: [laughing] Oh girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It took it took like six weeks of consistent feeding. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Wow. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like, from my breasts, plus two different lactation consultants to finally breastfeed correctly. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s a lot. That’s a lot. And if if I couldn’t have done that the first time around, mentally, I could not I didn’t have that in me to do because it’s hard, you know, and I didn’t realize it was going to be that hard because people just make it seem like you just breastfeed. Yeah, breast is best. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s hard. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It is hard. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s not fun. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No it’s not. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And every day I be looking like, is there a way we can end this and you still get the benefits of my breast milk? Cause I am tired. [laughing]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Well, yeah, and that’s. That’s the other thing. Now, listen, I wish I wish that we would have been pregnant at the same time because I could have. I had so much breast milk, saved. Like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh my gosh. I love it. See!

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, I was just like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s beautiful. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, my God. I just felt like a cow. I was. And I didn’t know that breast tissue extends like it’s it starts, like, below your shoulders. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s it’s not just like where we, you know, considerly fit, like where we consider, like, breasts to be like it– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like it hurt my neck and my, like, shoulders so much. But but that being said, we just as a society just put so much pressure on women, period. Then you have a baby, and then all of a sudden it’s like, oh, please. And don’t even like try to, like, you know, go to a mommy and me class because then all these other chicks are like, Oh, I did this and I did that. And da da da and people are comparing and contrasting and it just like it drove me crazy. It just drove me crazy. I was just like, you know what I do what I do, y’all do you, like I don’t even want to talk about it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And then I think also, you know, culturally speaking, when it comes to, you know, Black women. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know, we because of slavery, we were unfortunately, oftentimes like white women, white mother’s wet nurses. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And so and because of this oversexed over sexualization of our bodies, we have oftentimes been thought of as, you know, being more fertile when sometimes that’s not the case. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: There are women like I have like one of my best friends. She had IVF because after a while, like, she she was trying to have she was trying to get pregnant and it just wasn’t working. And that’s what worked for her. But, you know, there’s also a lot of guilt that surrounds that. You know, I think when it comes to Black women, we have unfortunately internalized a lot of what, you know, whiteness and white supremacy have told us even about our own bodies. And so. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: We are a little bit reticent to talk about our struggles as far as like maybe even getting pregnant or being happy being pregnant or being happy with a child like we, you know, or or just, you know, anything postpartum. It’s like, well, you know, you should be happy. Like this is a blessing. And da da da and it’s like, yeah, it is a blessing. But you know what else is a blessing? Rain. And you know what also cannot be a blessing, a hurricane. So like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Having a baby is like it’s like it’s like a hurricane that you like you thought you could prepare for, but, like, then you realize there’s no umbrella that’s going to be able to, like, give you like, any type of respite from all the stuff that you’re dealing with. You know, I just I just think that, you know, we as a society need to make maternity leave a lot longer. In California. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Absolutely. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, in California, men can get paternity leave, I believe, now for up to three months, which is so important. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. That’s good.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That is so important. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s beautiful. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It is because I was terrified of being alone with my son when he was small because I was like, I don’t know, I have no idea what I’m doing. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I have no idea what I’m doing. Even though, like, I’m with him day in, day out, I’m like, what happens if he starts crying and then he. He can’t. He doesn’t stop crying. Like like to this day, I can’t. Like, I just have this thing about, like, hearing babies cry. It just. It makes me feel so, like, helpless. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oooh, don’t come over here girl, because I be letting her cry. She cry a lot. My baby. [laughter] She’s a cry baby so I just be like, well, you okay, you’re breathing. You’re good. Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’ll let you cry for a little bit.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That’s true. It’s like you are breathing, so it’s fine. [laughter] Girl you so funny. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I can hear you breathing. You’re crying. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. You’re fine, you’re fine.

 

MegScoop Thomas: But I wanted to ask you this. What are some, I know we’ve been talking about postpartum depression. What are some symptoms I guess people should watch out for? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um, you know, like honestly, the symptoms of postpartum depression are very similar to what we consider to be the symptoms of depression. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. You know, if you obviously feel sad, if you feel depressed, if you’re having issues with your sleep, either sleeping too too much or sleeping too little, um changes in appetite, changes in your energy. Are you fatigued all the time? Also, if you are having feelings of guilt and shame, if you are losing an interest and if you’re losing interest in like your usual activities, like if you know that you take a walk like twice a day because like that’s what you like to do and then you start to isolate more. Anxiety can definitely be a symptom of of depression and postpartum. Excuse me. Yeah, postpartum depression. And also, if you obviously start to have serious thoughts of wanting to not be here, meaning, oh, life would be so much better, or my loved ones would be so much happier if I wasn’t here, which is also just known as, you know, potentially having suicidal ideation. Um. When postpartum depression can get really, really bad, which is also similar to depression. Sometimes when people get depressed, they may start to experience another type of um psychiatric symptom, which is psychosis, and that can include having delusions, um having hallucinations. And that can be very, very serious uh because there have been cases where women have uh murdered their own children because they may have heard a voice that told them like, oh, the voice told me that, you know, if I kill myself and I kill my kids, let’s say um that um that everything will be better. My kids will be happier um because I’m just a horrible mother. I’m kind of making some of this up. But some of this is also stuff that uh patients have told me um when I’ve treated them in the past. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. So postpartum depression can look a lot like regular, [laugh] almost said regular degular, but regular depression. Um. And it’s just something that you really have to watch out for. Like Meg said, I would just really be very, very honest when you do go um on your on your checkups, um because I wasn’t. I will freely admit it was like, how are you? Are you crying? Like, how are you doing? Like, I’m fine. I’m fine. I just I just don’t leave the house all day and I just, you know, like, think about– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –How much of a failure I am. I’m great. How are you? So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, yeah, those are those are basically the symptoms of um postpartum depression. Um. You know, I just I just I just really, really would like for anybody out there who’s listening, who is dealing with postpartum depression, just to know that it’s not your fault. And please don’t feel like you can’t say anything like please, please, please. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Don’t feel like you can’t, you know, open your mouth and express how you’re feeling. I know that, like when I’m depressed, I don’t even want to, like, talk or acknowledge how I feel because it’s that too can just be so overwhelming. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But it’s important that you get those feelings out. And so that’s why it’s important that, you know, if you if someone is listening and you may have, you know, a loved one who you think might be going through postpartum depression, um you know, like talk to them like, you know, even even if it’s like via text or just just, you know, get them to to just express themselves so that they can hear themselves sometimes that’s helpful. Like, oh, my God. Like, maybe I really am depressed. Like, I never even really said these things out loud or wrote them out. Um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And also just, you know, just I just if there’s if there’s one wish I had with everybody who had postpartum depression, it would just be like just like like Megan said earlier, like, just just give yourself some grace. Like, you are not perfect and that is okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And there is help out there for everybody. There’s, there’s help out there for you. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. And you can. And one thing I didn’t know, I mean, you can talk to your, you know, obviously your OBGYN can help you with this. Um. So for that six week checkup that mommies have, like, that’s great. Like, they’re wanting to hear that from you. They’re very like they know that this is going on. They know it’s a big thing that more women have postpartum depression than will actually tell them. So during that six weeks checkup, talk to them about it. You can talk to them about it before, you know, a lot of doctors have portals now, send that. [laugh]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Send the question over to them and say, hey, I think I’m having some symptoms of postpartum depression. I need to talk to someone like they understand what’s going on. You can also talk to your child’s pediatrician, which I didn’t know that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: They can point you in the right direction of where you need to go because they’re also asking those questions. And I didn’t know that. So that’s that’s good to know because you see you probably see your child’s pediatrician before you see your own OBGYN. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: For your own checkup. So. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. Yes, you do. Um. And also, as a as a physician, we are trained to screen for these things because prenatal and postpartum depression affect up to 20% of women in the United States, and that’s one out of five. So we definitely–

 

MegScoop Thomas: And that’s probably more. That’s only the ones that we know about, not the ones who will  actually tell us. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. Exactly. So we we are trained to screen for these, you know, for for depression and for pre partum and postpartum. So if you need the help, it’s out there. Please don’t feel ashamed. Like if anything, you know, you don’t have to do this by yourself and you shouldn’t be doing it by yourself because that’s why psychiatrists exists and physicians exist and pediatricians know to ask and and your obgyn knows to screen for that. So I hope that anybody out there who’s dealing with um any type of depression, but especially pre partum postpartum depression, I hope that, you know, this was helpful and I hope that you’re able to find the help and relief that you need. So, Meg, thank you so much for your thoughts. Thank you so much for all your honesty. Um. I know that I’m oftentimes very open about my struggles and I just really want to say thank you for being so open and honest about your your struggles with depression and and postpartum depression. This has been an awesome conversation. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I want to switch gears and lighten things up with my favorite segment, Pop Culture Diagnosis. [music break] Pop culture diagnosis is a segment where we take a person or character from a TV show or movie and assess their mental state or, as we say in the medical field, figure out what the hell is going on with them. Meg, can you give listeners a quick synopsis of the wildly successful movie Encanto and who in particular you wanted to diagnose today? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, now. Encanto has blown up since its streaming premiere on Disney. And I’m going to tell you, it is like my son always, and mind you he’s only three. [laugh] So he has seen like bits and pieces of the movie because he doesn’t have a full attention span. But the one thing he knows is that song, they don’t talk about. Bruno No. And like, I will hear random kids singing that before I really knew what it was. I was like, Who is Bruno? Like. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What are you talking about? And it’s from the movie Encanto and Encanto, uh the award winning movie Encanto, I will say, because it is that great. Um. It centers on the Madrigals who are a family, who have these, everybody in the family has some kind of like magical power. Encanto is the place where they live in the mountains of Colombia. And it’s just a really like beautiful story. But the thing about it is this this is probably one of the main, one of the first Disney movies that I’ve seen that I really thought about like there’s a lot of intergenerational trauma within this movie and you know, like a lot of Disney movies have it, but this one shows like how what happened to the grandmother affected her kids, which affected their kids. And, you know, the person that we’re going to talk about is the highly ostracized uncle, which is Bruno, and he’s uh the main character, Maribel’s uncle. He, basically his magical gift was to see the future. And he, you know, spoiler alert, so fast forward if you don’t want to hear. But he basically tells, you know, he sees what’s going to happen with his family and because he doesn’t want Mirabel, people to look down on her because it’s kind of going to come from her, he decides that he’d rather just kind of like live in isolation. Nobody knows where he is, you know? He kind of just goes into hiding and conceals himself because he just doesn’t want that burden to be on her. Because when he tells his vision, people seem to think that he’s conjuring up like an evil future. And he’s like, No, that’s really what’s going to happen. So we’re going to talk about Bruno today. We are talking about Bruno, I just had to do that. We’re gonna talk about Bruno today. So um what do you think about this movie and Bruno in particular Imani? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I it’s it’s funny, like um when it comes to Disney movies, I mean, you know, we all love Disney movies, but Disney movies in particular, like always get me like so emotional. Like, I don’t know, like um there was that that little short Bao about the mom. Did did you see that one like it was? It was. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It was uh before Incredibles Two, which is like, I cried in The Incredibles. Like, I’m just I’m just like that person. Um. But like but like, me and my son were like, in the movie theater, like, bawling, at like Bao. Um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Aw. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I saw Red Panda recently. Like, I was just like, Oh, my God, I totally understand this. Um. And I never saw Encanto. And especially because my son’s a little older, he’s like, you know, obviously he’s, you know, he’s 15. He’s like, I’m not watching that. But when I saw Encanto and when I saw the like the, the musical number, like, we don’t talk about Bruno. Like, it made me so sad. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like it made me so sad. I was just like, oh, my God. I can’t, like, poor Bruno like. It just. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like any time. Any time there’s, you know, anyone who’s really, like really like I know anyone who’s really, really mentally ill. It just it just really like my heart goes out to them, which, you know, explains a lot about why I chose psychiatry as a career. But I was just like, Oh my God, this makes me so sad. Part of it, too, I think, is because um I have I have a cousin, um one of my cousins in my family. He he is he has issues with psychosis. And he well, you know, he hears voices, he has delusions, um and he doesn’t take medication. And that’s his right. He’s an adult. He doesn’t have to I mean, the rest of my family wishes that he would, but it just kind of reminded me of my cousin who pretty much isolates to himself because he has voices that he can talk to and he’s, you know, completely, like, happy with that. And, you know, and to to our best efforts as far as my family, like, he’s just like, no, this is where I want to be and like, this is my right, which it is. But but that being said, when I saw Bruno in kind of like the state that he was in. Like he’s in the dark and. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know, he’s he’s like he loves his family so much, but like, he it’s like he doesn’t want to, like, bother them. Like he wants to help them from afar. It just really, really made me sad. Um. But I also loved how Encanto was able to really tackle like such such a such heavy topics. Like first of all, you mentioned intergenerational trauma, which is a very real thing. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And uh there is a doctor named Rachel Yehuda and she has done studies of the offspring, the children, and I believe also the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and was able to show how there actually are, I believe, genetic changes um to DNA um in that that are passed down. So even though, for example, someone could have gone through trauma in their life, their DNA would get passed down to their um to their offspring and then their offspring would, you know, have children. But like the like there there are genetic changes that occur that make these that make the offspring more likely to be very anxious or depressed, for example. So I really liked how, you know, Encanto obviously didn’t get into all of that, but it did get into the fact that like his his mother had suffered a lot of trauma and that kind of ended up fracturing the family and how it can be really difficult if you are a survivor of trauma or a victim of trauma, how it can be really difficult for you to kind of empathize or recognize, rather, when you have kids who are also dealing with trauma and when and maybe may or maybe you do recognize that there’s trauma there, but that you just don’t know, like how to deal with it. And I just really loved how this story was able to tell it and and how it how it basically just unfolded. And it’s. And it’s for kids, right? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Which is which is the wildest thing. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. Because, you know, when I watched it too, it wasn’t like some of these themes didn’t stick out until I, like, sat down and thought about it. But it’s good that they put this in the movie because it’s a good talking point for a lot of families because, you know, you think about it, these kids are usually watching Disney movies with their parents. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Or with family. So it’s it’s good that it’s in there because, you know, Mirabel has you know, she deals with being like the glue to her family. There’s always that person in the family, right? Then you have her sister, Isabel, who’s dealing with, like, perfection, like she’s expected to be perfect. So but on the inside, she’s like, I’m not perfect. And then you have the other sister, Luisa, who’s like, expected to be super strong in every way. She’s like, there’s times that I’m not strong, you know? And so there’s always there’s always that person in your family. So I’m glad that this this movie kind of tackles all of those things. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Because when I think about the Disney shows, not Disney shows but Disney movies of my youth, it was like they weren’t really weren’t making any, it was like Cinderella, Snow White. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know, and it was basically like, oh my God, I have to be cute so I can find a man. And then like all my answers. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. I’ll find my–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like all my prayers will be. Yeah, [laughter] if I find Prince Charming, which is like, huh. Like, this is stupid. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right, right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. So I’m I was really, really impressed um that Disney was able to really tackle this on. When it comes to Bruno. You know, my my first thought as far as diagnosis is like my first thought was, okay, this is somebody who may have schizophrenia. Some of the things that he some of the things that like like his visions, which could also, you know, be I mean, I think it can be kind of analogous to hallucinations in especially in terms of like him being able to foresee the future, you know, that may have to do with like hallucinations or delusions. Um. But I just love the fact that at the end he he wasn’t ostracized. And when he reunites with his mom, like his mom was just so happy to see him and it wasn’t like, oh, my God, like, you’re crazy or what’s wrong with you? Or, you know, why are you living, you know, in the house and, you know, trying to patch things up with spackle? And I mean, it was just like this movie was just so dope like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I don’t know, that part of it that he was a little crazy for, like bro you live in the walls. Like, you know, that part. I was like, Bruno, you even need to just leave. Like, don’t live in the walls. That’s creepy. Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It it I mean. Yes, yes, it was def– [laughing]. It was definitely creepy. I mean having a whole bunch of rat friends was creepy, too, um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But but, I mean, I just I just. I even love the fact that, like, you know, like Bruno’s outfits were kind of, like, dark, you know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Because he lived, like, he was in hiding. Um But I just. I really just loved the inclusiveness of this movie. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. I loved, you know, again, this song where everybody’s basically saying, like, oh, we don’t we don’t talk about him. Like, we don’t talk about him because, you know, like, it’s it’s just too painful. But it it did something about this movie reminded me of this um. There was a story that was written by um. It was in The Washington Post, and it was by this guy named Dick Russell. And this guy, uh Dick Russell has a son who’s an adult and um his son is schizophrenic. And one of the things that I remember in training when I was a psychiatry resident learning about is that when it comes so when it comes to people who have a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia, let’s say. Worldwide schizophrenics actually fare better in societies that are not very westernized because they’re not ostracized. Like they’re like their delusions, their hallucinations are more so seen as a gift. And so this man, Dick Russell, had has a son and his son was on medications and and gained all this weight and and, you know, was at risk for diabetes or did develop diabetes because of it was a side effect of the medications. But that being said, he took his son to Western Africa and was able to have his son spend time with a shaman there. And how this particular shaman basically taught him to kind of lean into his symptoms as as we would say, in in in western medicine, which made him feel validated and he didn’t feel like ostracized from society. And he actually, um you know, did really well during his time over there. And so. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Well that’s awesome. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s yeah, right. Like it’s it’s really cool. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Well, something that’s also interesting when it comes to say psychotic disorders is that the more westernized the society and I’m I’m very much oversimplifying, but the more Westernized a society gets, the more like the likelihood increases that people who have psychotic disorders um experience paranoia. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, like, if, you know, like, think of the 24 hour news cycle and it’s like, you know, shootings and, like, robberies, and this happened and that happened. It’s like when your when when you live in a society where that is oftentimes reported, let’s say. I think and this is me just kind of postulating, I think that it tends to manifest itself in people who have psychotic disorders as having their delusions and hallucinations be more scary to them. Whereas if you’re in a– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That makes sense. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, whereas if you’re in a society that isn’t very westernized, it’s, you know, and you’re also being like applauded by, by the people in your society. Like, Oh my God, like you hallucinate. Like, that’s so cool. Like, tell me about my future. Tell me about this. You know, it doesn’t lead to it doesn’t lead to the person feeling, you know, negative or even experiencing like more, I would say more of the negative type symptoms of schizophrenia. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I just thought so I just thought that that was really interesting. And I thought that, um you know, again, Encanto did a really good job of just embracing their relative who it, you know, is definitely of them and comes from and comes from them. But just, you know, his gift is a little bit different. So I just really I really, really like that. And I thought this was a really like awesome movie so good job Disney on you know presenting this to little kids and also their their parents or their, you know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Whoever took them to the movies that day. [laughing] So that’s it for pop culture diagnosis. We’re going to have another fun character to analyze next week. If you have suggestions for fictional characters out there that you want me to diagnose. Hit me up on Twitter at @doctor_ Imani or email the show at Hello@ImaniStateofmind.com. Thank you so much for listening to Imani State Of Mind. Thank you to Meg for co-hosting as always. We’ll be back for an all new episode next week. And let’s keep the conversation going. Follow the show on Instagram at @ImaniStateofMind. And again, email us at Hello@ImaniStateofMind.com. [music break] This is a Crooked Media production. Our executive producer is Sandy Girard. Our producer is Leslie Martin. Music from Vasilis Fotopoulos. Edited by Veronica Simonetti. And special thanks to Brandon Williams, Gabi Leverette, Mellani Johnson and Matt DeGroott for promotional support.