Jamina Bone has always been good with kids. She loved babysitting and being a nanny so much, she decided to get a degree in special education to continue to work with kids. When she had her first baby, she took to motherhood quickly.
But after giving birth to her second daughter, the US-based mum said that, more often than not, she felt more hopeless than happy. Sure, she was dealing with the death of her mother-in-law, but her pain felt specific to taking care of her new daughter.
“With my second child I would cringe when she cried, it took too long for my milk to come in, and I just didn’t want to be there,” she said. “I often felt my baby took me away from my first daughter. I envisioned myself sinking into my bed and disappearing so that nobody could need me.”
After months of feeling “exhausted and irritable” and yelling “out of rage,” Bone talked to her midwife, who suggested she may have postpartum depression (PPD).
“What makes me angry is that I made excuse after excuse for why I was struggling,” she said. “I got knocked down. Like receiving physical and occupational therapy after an injury, I had to relearn everything. I can see this now, but back then I felt like a failure. I felt ungrateful, selfish, and definitely not good enough.”
In the thick of her depression, Bone said drawing helped her feel more like herself. Now, through a series she calls “Still A Good Mum,” Bone said she hopes her artwork can inspire other new moms to hang in there, especially if they’re dealing with PPD.
“When I was going through PPD, I felt isolated, embarrassed and didn’t want to bring anyone down, so I never talked about it,” she said. “Drawing was a way for me to talk about it.”
As many as 50% to 75% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” after delivery, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Up to 15% of these women will develop a more severe and longer-lasting depression ― postpartum depression ― after delivery.
In her series, Bone explores how much of a struggle it is for new mums with PPD to balance their expectations of motherhood with its reality.
In other drawings, Bone chides other mums and women who judge:
“All these drawings came from reminding myself and my community that we are doing our best and that means something,” said Bone, who also recently collaborated with writer Blake Nolan for a baby board book titled “I Love My Happy Mama.”
Bone said she hopes her work serves as a reminder that motherhood ― in all its glory and in all its hardships ― isn’t something you have to go it alone.
“Reach out to other mamas who get it ― feel free to message me! ― and know you are not alone,” she said. “If you’re struggling with PPD, know that you are enough, and you will find yourself again.”
Scroll down for more of Bone’s “Still a Good Mum” series and visit her site for more of her drawings.