Fierce

Latinas Are Opening Up About Their Experiences With Dealing With Postpartum Depression And It’s The Most Important Thing

When it comes to having a baby, there’s no doubt that parents will experience a wide range of emotions. From pride and joy to fear and excitement, having a baby, whether it’s for the first or the ninth time, will undoubtedly trigger all kinds of feelings you haven’t felt before. For many, giving birth can also produce a feeling that others would not anticipate: depression. 

According to the  Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression can occur not only in women but in new fathers as well and it is defined by mood swings, anxiety, sadness, crying and feelings of overwhelm. Many new parents will also experience irritability, reduced concentration, appetite problems and trouble sleeping. But the truth about postpartum depression is that it isn’t just unique to the feelings, in fact, the mood disorder can cause quite a bit of shame and isolation. After all, having a baby should be marked by a period of joy and happiness. But in reality, this isn’t always the case. Despite the fact that many expect new parents to be nothing but elated and a little bit starved for sleep around this time, in reality, PPD is not only very real but also perfectly normal to experience. In fact, according to Postpartum Depression Statistics, “approximately 70% to 80% of women will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.”

To get a better understanding of these feelings of depression and how Latinas deal with it in their own circumstances, FIERCE reached out to Latinas for their experiences in dealing with depression after they gave birth and how they learned to deal.

When it comes to PPD, you might feel too ashamed to reach out but there’s no one that will help you quite like your community.

Of course, like anyone dealing with depression, there is often a sense of shame tied to your sadness that will likely prevent you from reaching out at first. After all, when it comes to mental health (particularly in the Latino community) the world has a lot to learn and a lot of coming around to do.

“I am so so thankful for the conversations starting to happen! When I got diagnosed with PPD even though I had resources available to me like therapy and doctors it wasn’t until I found my community of other moms in similar situations that I felt not alone. Community is everything!” – twistedforsugar

Opening up to family can start the healing process.

No doubt about it, reaching out to your amigas, BFFs, and mommy groups will likely help you find the kind of support and love you need to climb the mountain of depression you might be experiencing. But it’s also important to remember that sometimes receiving comfort from your family can be way more helpful than you might have expected. After all, you know who else has likely either dealt with PPD or experienced it first hand for themselves long before you did? Your mama and your papa.

“I was the first to be open about my partum depression in my family. (Prior to that my family didn’t believe it existed). But, now we get to talk about it and it’s so healing!” – karlasturtz

Take a vacation and remember that even though your kids might see you as Wonder Woman, you’re also a real woman with real concerns that should be taken care of.

Yes, mama, you deserve as much attention and love as your newborn too. Don’t worry about reshaping your post-birth body right now. Jump into your favorite bathing suit, head off to your favorite ski sights and do you girl.

“Swear this made me cringe on how I did it twice and big freaken S/O to all those mommas that did it with 5+ kids!! Y’all need a damn holiday named after you wonder women!” – yes.its_still.me11

Just remember, yes you have a baby now so things are different, but you’re still deserving of love, light and a whole lot of patience and self- love.

You know how on flights, attendants always tell you to put your mask on first before you put on someone else’s? PPD kind of works that way too. Of course, you never want to neglect your little one but be sure to be kind to yourself just as you are to your newborn. 

“Yea i was definitely NOT prepared for my stomach to be big, and saggy for the first few months after” – thebitchyhippie559

Above all, get professional help.

Self-treatment is never really the most effective or safest way to go. If you think that you have postpartum depression, be sure to reach out to a support group. Postpartumdepression.org has a ton of resources for you here.

Puerto Ricans Are The Most Sedentary Americans, CDC Reports

Culture

Puerto Ricans Are The Most Sedentary Americans, CDC Reports

Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report reveals that nearly half of Puerto Ricans get no exercise beyond walking to and from their cars and around the house. That’s more than three times the national average. The study concluded that the most significant factor in differences in the prevalence of physical inactivity was when controlled by race or ethnicity. Latinos were found to be the most sedentary (31.7 percent), marginally followed by non-Hispanic blacks (30.3 percent) with non-Hispanic whites having the lowest rate of physical inactivity at 23.4 percent. Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they responded “no” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?” Every single state or territory found that more than 15 percent of adults were physically inactive.

The lack of physical activity leads to health problems that cost Americans $117 billion annually. The CDC is cautioning Americans, especially Americans of color, that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to 1 in 10 early deaths.

It’s unclear why Latinos and Black Americans are so singularly sedentary.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

Some think that the cause is regional in nature. Americans concentrated in cities and urban areas are more likely to get exercise simply because of the proximity to exercise facilities and pedestrian commutes. The map above illustrates the inactivity levels of each state and territory for every American of every race and ethnicity. The South is significantly more sedentary than the North and the West regardless of one’s race or ethnicity. 

That said, when you look at the same states and factor for Latinidad, the statistics significantly worsen.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

When race or ethnicity isn’t a factor, Oregon appears as one of the most active states in the country. When you look only at the Latinos living in Oregon, it becomes one of the worst in the country. That means that non-Hispanic white people either have more access to those gym memberships or faraway hiking trails or incorporate it into their culture more than Latinos living in the same area. 

It’s easy to assume the socio-economic factors at play here — that minorities are so disenfranchised that they simply don’t have the time or energy to exercise after their long or labor-intensive workdays. Latinas have the highest lifetime risk for diabetes across all demographic groups, according to non-profit Salud America! A small research study at the Fair Haven Community Health Center found that fear of injury and lack of energy were the most common barriers for Latina women. This is when the cultural trope of Latina moms being afraid for you to go too close to the freezer or you’ll catch pneumonia becomes pathological.

According to the CDC, Hispanic adults are 50 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes and liver diseases than non-Hispanic white adults. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle have been linked to diabetes meaning that the map of inactivity is bad news for Hispanics. A more sedentary lifestyle has a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes and worsening the effects if someone already has the disease.

Meanwhile, when you look at just non-Hispanic white Americans, the map brightens up just as significantly.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

“Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health,” said Ruth Petersen, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers,” she added in a media statement. The CDC has found that engaging in such physical activity could prevent 1 in 8 cases of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. 

The CDC is working to get more Americans to engage in physical activity for 25 minutes a day by 2027. In order to do this, the Surgeon General has called on cities to consider walkability as part of their city planning process. “Individuals and families are encouraged to build physical activity into their day by going for a brisk walk or a hike, walking the dog, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, parking further away in the parking lot, walking or cycling to run errands, and getting off the bus one stop early and walking the rest of the way,” the federal agency said in a statement.

The study’s data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing state-based, telephone interview survey conducted by CDC and state health departments. The maps used combined data from 2015 through 2018.

READ: Food, Culture, And Physical Activities Are All Factors In Latinos Being Most Likely To Develop Diabetes

A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

Things That Matter

A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

@ValericaCollazo / Twitter

There is sad news out of Vieques, Puerto Rico where a young teenage girl has passed away after suffering flu-like symptoms. Jaideliz Moreno Ventura, 13, died on Sunday after her condition worsened she began convulsing. Now, her family is pointing the blame on the island’s inadequate medical facilities. 

Vieques, a Caribbean island off of Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, hasn’t had a working hospital in over two years. That’s because its old primary hospital, Family Health Center Susana Centeno, was closed due to damage from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island more than two years ago.

What started out as just flu-like symptoms turned into a tragedy within the span of three days. 

It all started last Friday when Jaideliz told family members that she was experiencing flu-like symptoms. According to local media, her uncle, Carlos “Prieto” Ventura, said that she had “a fever, a sore throat, and a headache.” She was then taken to a hospital in Puerto Rico for a checkup and to be tested for influenza. While the results of the test came back negative and she returned back home to Vieques, things got worse over the weekend. 

By Sunday, Jaideliz’s symptoms only got worse as she began to have spasms and severe head pain. After the family took notice of her increasingly worse conditions, she was taken to the only health facility on the island, the Center for Diagnostics and Treatment, which was due to Hurricane Maria destroying its old hospital. According to NBC News, the clinic lacked proper medical equipment to help Jaideliz. Her cousin, José Ventura, told the news outlet that the facility didn’t have a working mechanical ventilator for oxygen, only an older manual air pump. 

By 11:30 a.m. local time Jaideliz was pronounced dead as she was being transported to Puerto Rico on an air ambulance. 

For those living on Vieques, receiving medical attention isn’t easy. Many have to take a boat to receive medical attention in Puerto Rico where trip times vary from 30 minutes to multiple hours. 

There is growing anger and blame about the teen’s death with many people pointing blame at the inadequate assistance that Puerto Rico and nearby islands have received since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. The situation in Vieques is a perfect example of that as residents lack nearby health services and aid. 

“If we had more resources, she would be with us right now,” her cousin told NBC News. “They have forgotten about us.”

Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, says that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the death of Jaideliz and which circumstances could have caused this tragedy. Back in December, Democratic lawmakers requested an investigation into why FEMA hadn’t done anything to help rebuild Vieques’ only hospital. But lawmakers alerted FEMA about this issue in May but there was never any response. 

“In Puerto Rico, we talk a lot about how we are treated as second class citizens, but the people of Vieques and Culebra [another island off the coast of Puerto Rico] are being treated as third-class citizens,” Edgardo Román Espada, president of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association, told NBC News last May. 

Jaideliz’s family is using this tragedy as a wakeup call for health officials to do something about the deteriorating situation on the island. They are hoping for more medical supplies and equipment so this situation doesn’t happen again.

On Wednesday, a vigil was held in the girl’s honor as her family called for help. They say that they “don’t want Jai’s death to be in vain” and made the plea for more medical assistance. Her mother says the island needs to “have a dignified hospital, with medical equipment and supplies —so that no other mother will have to go through what I am dealing with now.” 

“Up to a point, the people feel abandoned, that politicians come and go, and there are no bonds of affection and our feelings are obvious. We live this problem and that is why our pain here. All this adds more regret and anguish to our people,” her uncle told local media. “This is what you live every moment on our island. We need more sensitivity. ”

This tragedy followed what has already been a tough start of the year for Puerto Rico as a 6.4 magnitude quake shook the island back on Jan.7, killing at least one person, destroying homes and leaving most utility customers in the dark. There has been an estimated $110 million in damages caused by the quake. 

READ: This Photographer Took Hundreds of Stunning Photos of the Most Endangered Indigenous Tribes Across the World