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Mariko and Kasimir: feeling isolated as an immigrant

After an anxious pregnancy, Mariko developed depression after her daughter’s birth.  A recent immigrant from Japan, language difficulties and cultural differences contributed to her feelings of isolation.  Her Canadian husband, Kasimir, supported her, but wasn’t really sure how to help.  However, he what was most important for Mariko: he listened. After a long time, Mariko reached out for help and began to heal.   As a result of their journey through PPD/A, they learned a great deal about themselves, each other, and their relationship.  They now feel stronger and wiser.


After an anxious pregnancy, Mariko became depressed once her baby arrived.

K:  At the time, it didn’t feel like we were going through it together.  It kind of felt a bit of a, a bit isolated I guess in the sense that I didn’t really know how to, to help and not sure who to go to, to get help or even if needed to get help. I thought maybe it just might work itself out

M:   And our relationship didn’t look great because I had so much complaints, so much disappointment and confusions that probably caused him to be so lonely. Because I wasn’t really going to him to ask for help.

M:  yeah big part of what I think the cultural backgrounds: mental issues, depression equal crazy. And then crazy equals hospitalized. Like whole that image of being depressed was just like shocking. And I was, yeah, I was embarrassed.

K: after some time we figured but how to, to get through a major struggle. I’m sure that I don’t, still don’t understand everything that Mariko went through.   And that, I guess that’s all right because she got through it but at the time I wasn’t sure what was going on in her mind and what she might be, you know, what sort of darkness she was battling at the time. And if I could have known that or, or understood that better then maybe I could have been more supportive and more helpful.

Mariko began going to a psychologist, and did not feel like she could ask Kasimir to go with her.

K:  and I thought maybe this is not my, well, you know, I’ll leave it to the professional because this can be something between Mariko and the, the doctor. So I did, I didn’t, I made a point of not being there for those meetings thinking that I would have nothing to offer, maybe. Or, or I don’t know maybe, maybe I was thinking that that was too much and that she didn’t need that. So I don’t think I helped by, by having that sort of attitude about that.

And then when she came back from those sessions she was kind of devastated because it sounded like it was a very judgmental experience

And that, that, I don’t there was nothing sort of positive that came out of that except that that sort of jump started, I think, the process of her seeking out other alternatives to see that, to talk to people and find people who could help her and, and support her rather than just having negative things to say

 K:   So, so if everyone just assumes that the stigma is too much to bear then they’ll never tell anybody they went through it and maybe just be carrying that baggage with them for years or decades and

M:  Mhm, mhm. Yeah that’s the biggest failure to go through: the stigma in the person who is having the depressions also the partner probably could be embarrassed the fact that. that’s what I was worried, like: our family might be embarrassed by the fact I’m depressed

K:   I think that maybe I was, I was the person who was more worried about the stigma actually because maybe that’s one thing for, for, I don’t know, for men to some degree

 After many months of suffering and isolating herself, Mariko reached out for help:

M: But just thinking back I really feel that he really supported me, even when he says that he didn’t know what to do. And but he did take me to the office, otherwise I didn’t go, I never did because I was so embarrassed and scared and everything like that. So he did make a big permanent action, and introduce me to the Society. And here I am that I’m proud of talking about myself, I had a post partum depression, right? So he did that excellent support

K:  I was just trying to figure it out, as I went along. I was probably, in the beginning, I wasn’t thinking that I, there was a lot for me to do and this was just something that she was going to get through and it was just going to go away. So maybe later on, when she started to seek out more support and through the sessions at the Society, she started to get help that way

Then I think, then maybe I felt like or I started to be, to get a better sense of how I could offer support. And I think she came home from those sessions and shared with me what happened there and then I started to get some ideas about what, what my role might be

M:   I think I talked earlier that I didn’t have anyone else but the Society. But now I realize that I was still talking to him. But that’s because he didn’t really say anything, he was a listener. And really good one. And he didn’t really give me back any of his emotional feedback, that was, I think that was really big support, that I didn’t even realize that.