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“I am the perfect mother for my family.”
That’s just one of the 44 phrases found in a unique deck of cards, known as Mama Mantras, Jessi Wagner developed earlier this year to help moms get through the “baby blues.”
Wagner, 30, a Gateway High School graduate who now lives in Murrysville, suffered those blues, otherwise known as postpartum depression or anxiety, shortly after she gave birth to her son, Logan, around a year ago. She said when she opened up about it with other moms, she began to learn how common it is and how much it’s ignored.
“It’s very normal to have sadness – you’re losing part of who you are,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5% of mothers in Pennsylvania experienced postpartum depressive symptoms in 2016 and 2017, the latest data available from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.
So with support from the Postpartum Depression Project, Wagner came up with 44 different mantras during her daily meditations.
“I would take notes on my phone,” she said. Wagner found a locally-owned illustrator and printer and began selling the decks for $25 on Etsy in May. The decks are also available to purchase at different storefronts in Murrysville, North Versailles and Uniontown.
Wagner said a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Postpartum Depression Project.
So far, the feedback has been overwhelming, Wagner said.
“I’ve gotten such a good response. It’s humbling,” she said, adding mothers have now started reaching out to her, opening up a dialog that didn’t exist for them before.
Danielle Bonura, 33, of Plum said she also experienced depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder shortly after her son, Will, was born 18 months ago. She said Mama Mantras helped.
“It’s a little dose of affirmation, it just gives that affirmation that women need during the day. If I’m struggling, exactly what I need for that day … so it’s much more than a deck of cards,” Bonura said.
Bonura was first runner-up for Mrs. Pittsburgh International, a statewide pageant. Her campaign platform, which she said will continue through 2021’s competition, is maternal mental health.
“When I was going through it, I didn’t realize there was a stigma around it. I wanted to use my voice to bring awareness,” she said.
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