An advocate for Postpartum Depression . Her name is Nana-Afrakomah Manu but everyone knows her as Nana. Nana is a first generation Ghanaian-American. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts but raised in East Orange ,NJ. In July of 2018 she started a non-profit organization called Postpartum AndMe. Her focus was to bring awareness and education about this form of depression to the urban communities. Postpartum And me aims to educate as well as provide tools and coping mechanisms to expecting and current mothers and fathers who suffer from postpartum depression . Outside of being a social advocate and full time mother, Nana works as a Juvenile Detention Officer in Newark. She makes it a point to still finds time to share her story and bring awareness to the communities throughout NJ. From awareness events, pamper showers, feeding shelters , clothing drives, back to school giveaways and etc.
Her go to phrase “ R U Ok?” given expectant parents reassurance that someone cares! Nana’s daughter, Ashanti Tamia Martin who is NOW her pride and Joy was the inspiration for Postpartum AndMe. Unfortunately that’s wasn’t always the case . During and after her pregnancy , Nana did not feel a connection with Ashanti until she was almost 2. Because of this Nana plans to continue to shed awareness and help mothers and fathers around her community and eventually around the world, so they know they are not alone, and it does get better.
When I first found out I was pregnant I had mixed emotions... continuously questioning myself, should I keep my baby or should I get an abortion? I stressed about what my family would say since I wasn't getting married... For those who don’t know me I’m African, in our culture you must at least do the traditional wedding to even think about having a baby or you’ll be looked down on and you’ll always hear it... I also stressed about the fact my boyfriend was 5years younger than me. I was 26 and he was 21 at the time... Surprisingly he wanted the baby without a doubt... I basically stressed about what society (my community) thought about me ...the only thing I didn’t stress about was the fact that I had a great career that supports me well, financially! As time progressed and my belly grew I began to slip into postpartum depression especially finding out at 5 months pregnant my boyfriend was cheating on me...boy oh boy did I change, I wasn’t myself anymore I stayed in the house 24/7... I’d rather sleep my sadness away, I started to think to myself...”damn I messed my life up !” I kept saying why didn’t I just wait to have this baby.... I would say to myself “why did I keep this stupid baby?” smh ... I never got up to do anything except go to doctors visits or to work ... no one knew but, there were days I cried on my break at work questioning how stupid I was for having a baby right now... there were days that I use to cry myself to sleep, just to go to sleep, to wake up, to cry myself to sleep! I was really depressed and no one knew and I didn’t tell anyone.... fast forward to February 18, 2016, the birth of my beautiful daughter. This was supposed to be one of the greatest days of my life I felt like I still made a huge mistake... I use to say to my self what are these moms talking about, I know I gotta care for my baby but I don’t really love her. And that was just it I did motherly duties for my daughter and I didn’t love her at all. I use to wake up in the middle of the night while she and her father were sleep just to go sit on the toilet and sometimes the bathroom floor and cry for hours...
I was going crazy between the hormones & the crying newborn....no one knew...Now here it is I’m surrounded by people with children and they probably went through postpartum depression NO ONE cared to ask the ONE most important question! ARE YOU OK? Did I seek help?YES! The therapist tried to put me on Mood medication but I denied it for my own personal beliefs... I still went to talk to the therapist Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and for ME the one thing that helped the most was prayer... I DID NOT LIKE MY DAUGHTER UNTIL SHE WAS FOUR MONTHS OLD, I cared for her as a mother and made sure she was well taken care of and not in “harms” way but I felt as though my love for her on how a new mom should love their child was not there... I’m sharing this with everyone because I want everyone to know you are not alone and the majority of “US” go through it ... and it’s ok to talk about it ... it helps and by sharing it you may help someone else ... I AM NOT EMBARRASSED ABOUT ANYTHING I’VE EVER WENT THROUGH... I know me speaking out will at least help one person and I’m ok with that .... so share your story to help others or even share to help yourself... WE ARE GONNA GET THROUGH THIS AND GROW THROUGH THIS ......x_____POSTPARTUM AND ME.