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Postpartum Depression in the South Asian Community; Lifting the Voice of Nima Bhakta

Sirens. Beaming Ambulances raced down the streets. On July 24, 2020, Southern California was awakened by the loud silences of South Asian mental health. This month we honor Nima Bhakta, a beautiful human who passed away while battling with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mental illness that involves rapid changes in hormone levels and affects behavioral and physical health.

Feeling hopeless, empty or chronically depressed after childbirth can be indicators of PPD. The period after delivery is a particularly vulnerable time for many women. Having a child is an exciting and joyous experience. However, for women with PPD and for Nima, being a mother meant extreme sadness, indifference, and feeling unconnected to her own child.

PPD can involve many of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling restless, moody, or anxious

  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, guilty or overwhelmed

  • Crying frequently or isolating yourself

  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

  • Not feeling connected to the baby

  • Having no energy or motivation

  • Changes in appetite, sleep, and/or energy

  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions

  • Withdrawing from friends and family

  • Thoughts of suicide with or without a plan

“I didn’t want you to see how different I became after Keshav...and I don’t know how I could have changed so dramatically…”

Over 50% of women suffering from PPD remain undiagnosed and feel trapped. 1 out of 5 respond to their suffering with suicide. Nima felt she was fighting the PPD battle alone - against herself, against her family, against her community. Many women of color feel alone through this process and became