After Jamina Bone gave birth to her second child, she was hit with strong postpartum depression, also known as PPD.
"It went from a very educational approach where I was constantly looking up the 'best' way to handle every aspect to being unable to move," Bone told Bored Panda. "I used to plan activities, limit screen time, and make every opportunity a learning moment. I was a Special Educator before having kids so this was everything I wanted and felt equipped to do it all. When PPD hit, it was like wading through mud or even quicksand and still being expected to do all the things."
She felt broken, unworthy of being a mom for her perfect little beings, and selfish for wanting to get away. "I kept the negative thoughts in my head and often imagined terrifying things from hurting myself to the death of my baby. Being isolated the first several months and lack of sleep were definite factors that played into depression but also not dealing with the sudden death of my mother in law to cancer when I was pregnant. I didn’t realize these were risk factors." The woman didn't realize she was depressed. She just thought she was failing.
Over time, however, Bone has managed to get out of the rut. Now, the mom-of-two is encouraging "imPERFECT moms" to ditch social norms and embrace their true badass selves. One of the ways she's doing it is illustrating everyday situations. Through her pictures, Bone reminds people that a woman can have doubts and still be a good mom. She can feel disappointed and still be a good mom. Most importantly, she can be herself, forget the pseudoperfect happy-go-lucky mentality and still be a good mom.
"We moms are bombarded with the 'proper' ways to parent from Google to Pinterest and perfection-blasted on social media," Bone said. "We share baby milestones with our friends and loved ones, but forget to discuss the difficulties of parenthood. Well, let's be real, motherhood. The mother is expected to give 100% of her body, most of her time, and the majority of her mental energy planning for the what-ifs and all the needs. Community is lost, support is seen as weakness, and if you're depressed, you're seen as ungrateful and selfish."
Bone thinks we are a society that lifts the 'selfless' behavior of mothers up on pedestals while condemning the ones who are crying for help. We don't realize that we confuse selfless with self-hate or self-contempt. "My mother was selfless, but I would also say she hated her body, felt unlovable, and rattled with guilt for not seeing abuses that happened to her children," Bone explained. "She used so many opportunities to punish herself from not dating, not taking care of her body, to even shaming herself in front of us."
So, like most adults with children of their own, Bone finds herself trying to correct the wrongs. "Many of us built our adult foundation upon trauma without realizing the need for internal healing. Weirdly enough, depression was my unwanted 'gift' that forced me and my family to sort through every aspect in our lives that wasn't working in our favor. We set boundaries, went to therapy, talked to our doctors, and closed the door on every external expectation for our family."
The down-to-earth mom describes her parenting as 'good enough' and says she is still a work in progress. "I am healing myself and trying to break the cycles of abuse and neglect my husband and I collectively had in our childhoods. I zone in on my own set of values of what I am good at. My kids feel safe and held and seen and heard, and as long as I am moving forward in my own parenting journey, I am good enough," Bone explained, adding that she and her husband communicate more now than ever which also helps share the burdens and joys of parenting.
Bone said that one of the most important steps towards overcoming the overwhelming feeling of guilt is celebrating your victories. "I developed a simple online quiz to help mamas find what they are good at. This quiz leads you to know the values that are most important to you so you can learn to turn off the feeling of guilt when you see a Karen posting her gluten-free, no-sugar-added snacks with her home-cooked meals cut out in cute shapes that her kids never complain about after having organized homeschool activities, teaching writing to her 1-year-old because it's never too soon to learn writing." Knowing that Karen has different strengths and values than you is key.
"I'm also creating a mental health makeover for exhausted mamas coming out soon! I am really proud of this one and even received input from a psychologist specializing in maternal mental health to be sure I was helping and not hindering growth. To sit in the lies fake mom guilt leads us to believe, we often become friends with those voices and we don't know who we are without them. We begin to believe the lies over the truth and over time we forget who we are or who we are becoming. Knowing where to start in order to move past these limited beliefs can be debilitating." This makeover, called "Enough" essentially takes mamas through 5 weeks of progress and habit building based around healthier thoughts, taking control of triggers, and finding a balance that is doable.