Sam Vargas and her young son in their home bathroom.
Vargas and her son in their home bathroom. Vargas assists son in using the restroom. “I was this little new mom with this little human being that was just so needy. That’s what babies are though they constantly need you, and that doesn’t hit you until you have a baby and you realize ‘Wow this thing is attached to me forever,’” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Pregnancy, the postpartum period and parenting presents a variety of challenges for new mothers and their partners. Last May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in eight women experience postpartum depression. Some states see postpartum depression as high as one in five women. As social media evolves and the popularity of influencer families grow, the perception of motherhood has shifted.

Luci Moran 01 - The nature of motherhood
Sam Vargas in her home bathroom. Vargas gazes at herself in the bathroom mirror. “A lot of the times before pregnancy you don’t realize how many things can go wrong. I just remember feeling scared that something would go wrong. Everything is so uncertain with pregnancy. Even if I did have support, it still felt like no one understood,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 02 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her son in their home bathroom. Vargas assists son in using the restroom. “I was this little new mom with this little human being that was just so needy. That’s what babies are though they constantly need you, and that doesn’t hit you until you have a baby and you realize ‘Wow this thing is attached to me forever,’” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 03 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her two children in their home living room. Vargas and her son play with toys. “You don’t know if your baby is suffering because babies can’t communicate, all they can do is cry. My baby would cry, then I would cry and then my other child would cry and we would all just cry together,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 05 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her children in their home kitchen. Vargas looks in her fridge with her children close by. “After birth you get a six-week appointment check-up where the doctor will check your body to make sure everything is okay and that is the only appointment you get. I feel like there should be appointments three days after birth, a week after, two weeks after and so on. I think it’s modest to just be like ‘I’m okay, everything’s good,’ when in reality there are deeper issues going on that feel awkward to bring up in that 6-week appointment,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 06 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her daughter in their home kitchen. Vargas makes lunch for her children while carrying her daughter. “After you have your baby the hospital will give you a doctor that will tell you, “you can call me if you need anything at all, here’s my number,” and that’s pretty much all you get. I remember with my second child, for a moment I felt like I needed help but I never reached out. It felt like a phone call just wasn’t enough,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 07 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her children in their home kitchen. Vargas helps bring a spoonful of food into her son’s mouth. “Everyone’s symptoms after pregnancy are extremely different. Yeah, there’s that phase of “baby blues”’ and I just hate that term because it gets so looked over. I know baby blues happen, but there’s a difference in baby blues between a mom who has all the resources and support available and a mom who is already struggling. I’m already poor, I’m already a minority and so this added layer felt so sick. The baby blues turned into this much bigger monster,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 08 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her daughter in their home living room. Vargas breastfeeds her daughter. “Influencers will portray the beauty of pregnancy but they don’t share the struggle of it. Especially for moms that are BIPOC. I followed an influencer that portrayed pregnancy as ‘beautiful’ and ‘easy’ and I just compared myself and wondered why mine was so much harder,” Vargas said. Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications
Luci Moran 09 - The nature of motherhood
Vargas and her daughter in Vargas’ bedroom. Vargas holds her daughter after a diaper change. “We need to make sure that moms are okay. Mom’s have the future in their arms.” Photo by Luci Moran / College of Journalism and Mass Communications