Adomaitis strives to raise awareness of post-partum depression in her most recent study (PDF). She surveyed Houston moms who work in and out of the home and found differing feelings of envy and jealousy as they considered a post-pregnancy ideal.
"It's an upward comparison, meaning I can't reach that ideal and it makes my self esteem go lower," she said. "If you view these images over and over you can fall into a state of depression as your hormones are changing. Are women's mental state being noted enough to say this may or not be a case of depression."
Her study found that moms who worked in the home identified more with their own mothers and a life given to their kids—the media ideal appearance out of reach—while moms who work out of the home were motivated to achieve the ideal body in order to return to their pre-pregnancy social identity.
Adomaitis is hopeful doctors, like OB-GYNs, take note.
"Rebuilding your self esteem is going to be a bigger issue and these need to be looked at for women to understand who they are, and value who they are, even if we're not all perfect," she said.
Alyssa Adomaitis is part of what's happening at the University of Houston. I'm Marisa Ramirez.
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