Aimee Song Details Postpartum Depression And Anxiety For 'Matrescence'
The new mom and fashion influencer discusses the mental load of new motherhood.
Anthropologists have a word for the often-radical shift into motherhood: “matrescence.” This chapter of intense change is one — as many new moms can attest — of physical and emotional transformation, and can also be, quite truthfully, very hard.
In a new interview series, made in partnership with Perelel, fashion influencer and new mom Aimee Song — who welcomed son Teo Felix with partner Jacopo Moschin in February — sits down with reproductive psychiatrist and Perelel founding advisor Sarah Oreck to pull back the curtain on the realities of the postpartum experience.
Each video explores the nuances of the fourth trimester that moms, moms-to-be, and women hoping to be on the path to motherhood can relate to. Song and Oreck honestly discuss societal pressures on women and comparison culture, hormonal and body changes, self-identity after motherhood, and how to care for your mental health as a new mom.
Below, Scary Mommy chats with Song about topics in Episode 2 of Matrescence, titled “Depression, Anxiety & Ambivalence.”
Scary Mommy: Depression and anxiety are so, so real postpartum. What was your experience, and what is your continued experience, with postpartum hormones?
Aimee Song: I’ve always suffered from some sort of anxiety, so when I was going through postpartum, it was definitely heightened. There were certain tools that were instrumental in helping me, like going back to therapy, meditation, working out, and journaling.
SM: How hard is it to feel like, even though you have a partner, you’re alone in a lot of the lack of sleep/feeding/caregiving? Women definitely take on more — physically and emotionally.
AS: I don’t think a lot of new moms anticipate the sense of loneliness we experience. I found breastfeeding in particular to be isolating. With feeds every hour or two, it means you really can’t be away from your child too long — and you’re constantly sleep deprived. I remember feeling more alone in the middle of the night, compared to daytime, especially if my partner was sleeping while I was up feeding Teo. Even though my partner did everything he could to lessen my burden (whether it was massaging me while I pump, washing my pump parts) if I woke up in the middle of the night every two hours, I needed him to suffer with me!
SM: What are the benefits of using social media as a new mom? And what are the negatives?
AS: There are many positives of using social media as a new mom — you’re able to connect, share experiences and learn. I’ve found it to be one of the best sources of community and education, and I’m really trying to be as transparent about my experience as possible since I know oftentimes what you see on social media makes motherhood look way easier than it actually is.
Matrescence can be really lonely, so I would definitely encourage parents to join a community where you can get real with each other and talk about the not so pretty side of motherhood — beyond the Instagram highlight real. Perelel for example has their Village by Perelel community — an incredible resource for connection that I've found so helpful and really enjoyed. Community amongst moms can really decrease this feeling of guilt when we confront the real experience of parenthood together.
Social media can also play into the mom guilt factor when you start comparing yourself to others. We always want to share the best version of ourselves and best image of our lives outwardly, but on the receiving end, it can feel like ‘oh, this person has it down so much better than me,’ or ‘oh, why didn’t I think of that, and will my child be behind because I didn’t do this?’ You can really get into a negative thought spiral when you start comparing yourself and your choices to others, which is why I try to share my real and raw experiences with my followers. I think if my videos can relate to even one person and make them feel less alone in their experience, I’m proud to help create that community and transparency.
SM: As you grow into your new role as mother, what’s something you hope to accomplish — not for your baby but for yourself.
AS: To be a better mom and boss.
Watch another episode of Matrescence this week on Scary Mommy.
Quotes have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.