#DearCinnaMoms Dec 21'

December brought with it the end of another tumultuous year and the anniversary of my letters to you in the CinnaMoms Blog. I am grateful for the opportunity, to share with you a recap of the monthly CinnaMoms support circles. However, these few words do not offer justice to the experience that is CinnaMoms.


Our year began with hope, vaccinations were around the corner, and the prospects of returning to our lives as we once knew them. Another year and many COVID variations later, we continue to limit our in-person gatherings, connect virtually and celebrate the memories of those we have lost.


With so much heartache surrounding us, we will not overlook the good and amazing things that have happened in our lives!


More people are being vaccinated, which brings a brighter light to this long tunnel We welcomed new additions into our families, little bundles of joy that bring with them such incredible happiness and a bit of stress.


Over sixty attendees came together this day; we were welcomed to the Zoom meeting, reviewed our bi-monthly announcements, and a few words from our partners. We discussed WIC's partnership with the BMBFA B'right HUB app and announced raffle winners! After all the celebrating, we began our last discussion of 2021.


“Sista, how are you doing?”


With only one gathering in December, CinnaMoms hit it out of the park and ended the year with a bang! In the grandest gathering of the year, families, peer counselors, lactation experts, and mental health professionals came together to discuss a difficult subject matter on postpartum and perinatal depression. In many circles, perinatal depression is still a taboo topic of discussion. It affects the entire family unit both direct and indirect but CinnaMoms was able to discuss the topic.




Danille, our very own CinnaMoms facilitator and lactation educator, alongside our distinguished guest: Aretha Jones-Adams, a Marriage and Family Therapist, offered their support and provided us with comfort. We took this journey together as we shared our experiences, our struggles either on camera or via the chatbox.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy


“After a baby, the world changes" –Aretha states. With pregnancies, we see “sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone as well as experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones that do not only affect the mood.” The cravings, the smells that now send us running to the restroom, or how about this new inability to tolerate spicy foods? Most noticeably are the changes to our emotions.


You are not alone

When we think about postpartum depression, do we think of "baby blues"? We tend to attribute the feelings of tiredness, irritability, or sadness to the changes that occur in the first few days after delivery and a normal part of life. Little sleep with no time to eat, do housework, adjusting to a new normal is normal, but what is "baby blues"?


After delivery, our hormones are running amok once again. They rise, fall, and then do it all over again. These feelings tend to set in 2-3 days after delivery, usually last about a week or two, and are very common. If these feelings do not go away or seem to get worse, it may be something more. Postpartum depression mostly goes unreported and brings with it many serious risks.



Image was adapted and courtesy of https://www.rachelrabinor.com/blog/postpartum/difference-postpartum-depression-baby-blues


Key Definition of Perinatal

This term refers to the time before and after delivery. Perinatal Depression encompasses both prenatal and postnatal (also known as postpartum) depression.


Duration

So how long does Postpartum Depression stick around once the baby is born? Aretha answers that it varies. In some uncommon and severe cases, up to one year. “Please pay attention to the signs and talk to your doctor.”


This section opened the floodgates of discussion!


Our attendees began sharing their experiences, the pain and mental suffering they endured alone. Often, all the attention goes to the baby that moms are not thinking about themselves.