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Mariko: different cultural approaches to PMADs

Mariko immigrated to Canada from Japan as an adult and married a Canadian.  Her journey through depression and anxiety began during pregnancy.  She hadn’t known about PPD/A, and felt she couldn’t reach out for help because of stigma surrounding mental health in her home country.  Her healing began with help from her husband and PPPSS.

A during the pregnancy I was always … worried about if my baby would love me.

After suffering from anxiety throughout her pregnancy, Mariko felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities of motherhood.

And I think, yeah, so thinking back whole pregnancy that I not so enjoyable I probably had a like anxieties but I didn’t know that. It’s just having a culture from different culture. We don’t really talk about pre-natal anxieties and there’s a, it’s called maternity blue but we don’t really cover whole details and I, I didn’t know. Everything is like: I didn’t know, so like why it’s here and why only me with whole, yeah questions in my mind that why I’m a crazy person? Why am I the only one? And why can’t I do well? Yeah

Being a mother is to be a natural things to be and why am I struggling with this. And why am I struggling with my partner who is supportive but I can’t really take his supports.
Because Japanese culture is, I don’t say that in like a big part in Japanese culture but the way I was brought up from my mother I think, in general, wife slash mother we have to do everything. We have to take care of baby, we have to do the house chores, we have to grocery shoppings and we have to do everything by ourselves. So that’s kind of common sense that I have to do. But I couldn’t do any of that.

I, I told two close friends, they are both Japanese and I could speak to them in Japanese, so like, you know, there was no like language barrier so I thought they would be there for me. But (slight laugh) mental health is not really for everybody, and

I opened up my situation to one friend

I said: I went to a doctor and she diagnosed me, I have a depression. And she said: why did you go to see a doctor? If you go to see a doctor they are going to diagnose you as a depressed.

And other close friend she couldn’t take it, she couldn’t take it so she laughed, because she didn’t know how to respond to the situation, right?

And I couldn’t talk to my family because I was so embarrassed about having depressions and so my, my family didn’t know until three years later.

Mariko began her healing process with support from her husband and by attending a weekly Pacific Post Partum Support Society’s group ongoing telephone support service.

If I knew, I could have be more open to the different things. But that’s because I had a certain idea about how it should be, that really affected me in a way that I’m not doing well, I’m doing wrong. That’s kind of influenced my confidence really low or it’s nothing. So recover from that point it took me really a lot of work, yeah.

I can’t remember, started talking, introduced myself: my name is Mariko, I was diagnosed with post partum depression and I’m here. So the person quickly engaged with me, with no appointment. And, yeah have a seat, tell me about your stories and of course a lot of tears through that conversations but she is so calm and peaceful and no judgmentals. And I could finish my story without being, without feeling I’m doing something wrong
That was really big turning point.

With time and regular support calls from the society, Mariko healed from postpartum depression and anxiety. 
She now uses what she learned on her journey to support struggling new parents as a PPPSS volunteer.