Ever since Bindi Irwin gave birth to baby girl Grace Warrior in March, she and her husband, Chandler Powell, have shared numerous joyous moments from their first few months of new parenthood. There have been Instagram posts of the cutest baby photos and gushing captions about Grace being the “happiest little light.” The duo, who are both conservationists and live at the Australia Zoo, even chronicled their journey to becoming parents on Crikey! It’s a Baby!, a special that streamed on Discovery+ in April. But now Irwin has announced she is taking a break from social media with an Instagram post that reminds us that what is portrayed on social media may not be the whole story.
“Hi guys, Just a note to say thank you for your support,” Irwin wrote alongside a black-and-white photo of the new mom holding her baby daughter. “I’m taking a break from social media and most of my work in the public eye for a month to be with my beautiful daughter and my wonderful family. I feel tremendously grateful to share our life and conservation work with you but I need some time to focus on the happiness that is my family (both human and animal). You can keep up with our adventures by following my family and Australia Zoo on social media.”
“Recently, I’ve had many people reaching out to share their own stories of working hard to protect their mental health,” she continued. “Thank you for sharing and speaking your truth. To my friends who are dealing with depression, anxiety and other battles every day – I see you. These issues are very real and deserve to be discussed and addressed. Surround yourself with the light of people who genuinely care about you and will support you during the good times and the hard times.”
While Irwin doesn’t specify whether she is struggling with postpartum depression, adapting to life as a first-time parent — especially in the public eye — is a challenge. New moms and dads can feel like they are supposed to be on top of the world, but the lack of sleep, massive changes to their lives, and hormonal fluctuations can send them on a roller coaster of emotions whether they’re actually diagnosed with PPD or not.
There are also a host of other perinatal mood disorders that can affect new moms. According to Postpartum Support International, 15 to 20 percent of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety while pregnant or during the postpartum period. Women with a history of mental illness, addiction, and/or trauma are particularly at risk.
Of course, Irwin publicly lost her father, “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, in 2006 after he was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Irwin was just 8 years old at the time of the tragic accident. In the Discovery+ special, she mourned the fact that her father would never get to meet his grandchild.
“Out of everyone in the world, he would’ve loved her the most. He would’ve loved her so much,” she said tearfully. “I think in a way, he is still with us. His heart and soul lives on in all of us and so he’s never really gone.”
Irwin’s announcement that she is taking a break from social media for her mental health came just hours after she posted a sweet Father’s Day tribute on Facebook in which she honored her dad as well as her husband and father-in-law.
We’re so glad Irwin is taking the time she needs for her mental health and to focus on her family and new baby. It’s a powerful message to all new moms to reach out for help if they need it.
“Remember there are helplines available,” Irwin concluded in her Instagram post. “Mental health deserves more understanding and support instead of being dismissed or patronised. You are absolutely worthy of love and kindness.”
If you or someone you know needs postpartum mental health support, call the Postpartum Support International helpline at 1-800-944-4773.
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