A woman’s viral TikTok video about her struggles with postpartum depression have resulted in a support group on Facebook with other moms.
Juana Witty, 28, from Glasgow, Kentucky, posted a video on TikTok last month where she reached out to her followers for help while holding her now-3-month-old baby.
“Postpartum depression is real,” Witty says in the short video. “I didn’t know I had it. But I could use some friends.”
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The video was viewed more than 3 million times and was flooded with comments from other women responding in support.
“My phone just kept going off,” Witty told Fox News. “People were commenting and telling me that they’re there for me and if I need anything to call them.”
Witty, a mother of three children aged 9, 2 and 3 months, told Fox that she didn’t really know what postpartum depression was and didn’t think she suffered from it until June.
“That’s whenever it hit me because … I found myself crying and scared,” Witty said. “I didn’t know. And my husband was at work, so I was by myself and I really needed somebody to talk to.”
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That’s when Witty decided to post the video on TikTok.
Aside from the supportive comments on the video, Witty said that actress and comedian Angelina Spicer – who speaks openly about her experiences with PPD – flew to Kentucky to talk with her about postpartum depression and help set Witty up with a therapist.
In 2018, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) announced its “redesign” of postpartum care, recommending “ongoing” postpartum care rather than a single visit with a doctor after having a child. Experts are calling this period the “fourth trimester” – where women are recovering physically, emotionally and mentally after giving birth – all while caring for a newborn.
Postpartum depression affects about one in eight women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB/GYN at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and chief medical officer of Verywell Health, told Fox News that asking for help and getting support are “paramount” to getting through obstacles related to mental and emotional health, including postpartum depression.
“Support is one of the biggest parts of how people are able to move through those moments in their life,” Shepherd said.
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Shepherd said that social media can encourage people and help them understand their own experiences more clearly.
“There are some people who can watch something like that and say, ‘I did feel like that’ or ‘I’ve felt like that in the past and maybe I, too, am depressed,’” Shepherd said. “And so that might start a light in them to recognize some signs and symptoms that they may be exhibiting and then to go ask for help.”
The internet can sometimes help people find the support they need through online groups, healthcare providers and mental healthcare providers, many of whom offer telehealth services, Shepherd said.
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Witty herself decided to start a Facebook group for other moms who are struggling with anxiety or depression, “so they don’t feel alone,” she told Fox.
The group has about 800 members and Witty said the women in the group are “awesome.”
“For anybody that feels like they’re alone or they can’t talk to people in their family, they have these people that they can vent to without judgment,” Witty said.
Witty said that some people have told her she was brave for reaching out for help, but Witty doesn’t see it that way.
“I was just doing it because I needed somebody,” she said.
If you’re unsure what you’re experiencing postpartum, chat with your doctor about seeing a therapist or reach out to the Postpartum Support International helpline at 1-800-944-4773.