Fredericksburg Parent

May 2022

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24 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • May 2022 V In 2019, Veronica "Verdi" Jones was living the dream. She married her high school sweetheart, and the entire occasion— from the planning, right up to the big day—was documented by WE tv 's film crew for the reality show, Bridezillas. Jones was in love, a TV star, new stepmom to a bonus daugh- ter, and she found out the week after her wedding that she was expecting her very own bundle of joy who came into this world in the summer of 2020. However, despite the fairy tale she seemed to be living, Jones became one of the estimated 600,000 women who experi- ence postpartum depression every year. She has made it her mission to educate others on a topic nobody wants to talk about and to end the stigma surrounding it. When and why did you decide to write "The Part They Left Out?" JONES: Being a first-time mom and never having heard of postpartum depression, I honestly wrote my book out of frus- tration. Once I had my son, I could not figure out why I was not as excited as everyone else around me. There were no explanations for my crying spells or lashing out. While I suf- fered from PPD, I wrote in my journal almost every evening as an outlet. These journal entries are implemented through- out my book. Can you share with Fredericksburg Parent your per- sonal experience with postpartum depression? JONES: My PPD symptoms were active from the second my son was born. I did not know it at the time, but the immedi- ate disconnect and emotional rollercoaster I experienced upon giving birth would only get worse as time went on. My son, the innocent baby boy I brought into this world, was unapologetically an infant that I viewed as more of a burden than a gift. There were times I would lash out at my husband for no reason, and a few minutes later I couldn't explain why it happened. Sometimes, I would have the best day, then start to cry out of nowhere. I was finally able to overcome it. It took a lot of talking. I mean, a lot of uncomfortable conversations on how I felt. My feelings were such that are usually frowned upon. In addition to talking about it, mainly with my husband, I also had a list of positive affirmations I would repeat to myself multiple times on a daily basis. Exercise and writing were also a huge part of my recovery. Now that I am on the other side of things, I look back and it breaks my heart how much of my son's infancy I missed. My outlook on life was so clouded by postpartum depression that I couldn't be in the moment. PPD is not something you can control, but I am happy I've now become self-informed on the topic, so I know what signs to look for in the future. Former Bridezilla now a champion for postpartum depression WRITTEN BY RHIANNON ELLIS Verdi Verdi Jones: Jones: Photos taken by M&J Photography.

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