Post Natal Depression (PND) is a mental illness which has had a lot of stigma attached to it within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups (BAME). For many sufferers, the road to recovery is steep and riddled with generational notions of what it is and what not to do about it.
Simone Riley (Miss Diva from Legacy 90.1 FM) spoke to TNT News about how the illness needs more light shone onto it especially within the black community. “It is not to be mistaken for baby blues; it’s much more than that. It is to do with your thoughts and what you are feeling after you have had a child”, she said.
“For me, I had suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t get out bed. I lost my appetite. I found it hard to sleep and I couldn’t connect with my daughter”, she explained.
A radio presenter and mother of one from Manchester, Miss Diva is of Caribbean descent is fully aware of the stigma attached to the illness within the black community. Having given birth to her daughter 6 years ago, she said she was “putting on a front every time I did my show [on radio]. I have always been brought up ‘not to chat your business’ – to be strong and resilient and just get on with it”.
But Miss Diva was definitely not feeling strong or resilient and recognised she needed help after having a traumatic pregnancy and an emergency c-section birth.
It was not until one International Women’s Day when she decided to utilise her Doctor’s Hour segment to raise awareness about her own experience. “Since I told my story, many people got in touch with me and thanked me for talking about it”, she said. Although Miss Diva felt it would be a good idea to share her story, she did not expect the impact it had on many other women who suffered in silence.
It took her 3 years to get over her PND. Help came in the form of counsellors and speaking to her mother, who also had PND with all her children. For 8 weeks, Miss Diva had counselling via the NHS.
A crucial result of her experience, she learnt that after giving birth, women should also focus on loving themselves, going for walks, and realising that although the main focus is looking after the baby, part of the mother’s time should be spent on herself.
“Happy child is happy mum; once the mum is happy, the child is going to be happy”, she said of her motto for anyone going through PND.