#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.
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.
Mothers often keep these feelings to themselves. They do not eat nor sleep. Rarely brought up and possibly why most people do not understand it. Many even feel their struggles are not as important.
“It is okay to talk to someone.” Aretha- “You can’t just snap out of it and it is a myth that you are weak or unfit.”
It is not your fault. It is important to know that there is nothing you could have, should have done to prevent this feeling, and nothing you did that caused it. Perinatal depression can affect all of us, no matter race, education, income, or age.
Behind the scenes
The CinnaMoms team was working hard to answer all the incoming messages in the chat box, sharing resources and services directly to our attendees while offering advice and kind words of support.
Danille- “We want to make sure you a heard”
Rhonda- “Having a conversation with your partner/family about needing a break is important, not in the heat of the moment.”
Janelle- “It is important to find a therapist that is culturally competent.”
Please, do not underestimate the power of self-care.
Paternal Perinatal/Postnatal Depression
Did you know, when a mother develops postpartum depression, the partner has a 40% chance of getting it too? This occurrence is also common among men both before and after delivery. Unfortunately, most will laugh it off, and even those that know it to be true will often brush it off, thinking this does not affect them.
Behaviors to look for include:
• Anger, irritability, or aggression.
• Loss of interest in work or favorite activities.
• Working all the time
• Acting distant or withdrawing from family and friends.
• Feeling frustrated, discouraged, or cynical.
• Feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed.
“Talk about your/their feelings and listen without judgment.”
We wear masks, not the ones we use to protect others and ourselves from COVID, but the ones we wear to protect ourselves from judgment. At times, we hide our fears, and insecurities on how we seem behind a thin veil of passive conversations. Just below the surface, we shout piercing cries for help. We often suffer alone though we are not alone in our sufferings.
It is okay to feel and to talk about our feelings. Just as we live and breathe this too is part of the human experience. It is okay to love, to hurt, and especially fear, for the baby was not the only one born that day.
It does us much more harm than good to bury our feelings, especially when we may be unknowingly hurting our loved ones, and all we wanted was to keep this burden from them. Today is a new day. Our planet completes its rotation around the sun, another year ends, and a new cycle begins.
Will we embrace this new dawn with renewed life and cast off the old habits that torment us? My CinnaFamily, let us break these cycles that bring us pain and move forward with openness and hope for a better tomorrow together.
CinnaMoms is meeting every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Sign up to receive our newsletter for the latest and greatest. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for multiple chances to win prizes and stay up to date with CinnaMoms events.
Visit our partners and help rebuild that Village of Support!
WIC has Peer counselors are available for one on one personal attention and support through your pregnancy and the first 6 months post-partum.
Are you interested in a virtual community for parent clubs?
The BMBFA B’right Hub App is available on the google and apple market for download. A great way to connect with virtual parent clubs from coast to coast. Download the app to help us grow and help us connect.
Soul food for Baby Breastfeeding support for African American Families
Is holding virtual support groups for pregnant and parenting support. Visit:
Welcome baby is here: www.welcomebabysupport.org
For free pregnancy and early parenting support
Welcome Baby Interest Form: https://forms.gle/HPAn7XQn6VVx4TX39
Black infant health:
Offering supportive services and resources for pregnant moms 18 and 30 weeks of pregnancy or less.
contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 323-238-3205
A Perinatal Health Program Connecting Black Families With Black Doulas
The Frontline Doula Hotline is live!
If you are pregnant or postpartum and want to speak to a doula, schedule a call now!