I fangirl for Tracee Ellis Ross. Hard.
And I’ve loved Blackish for the last few years. On the show, she plays Rainbow Johnson, an upper middle-class mother of 4 (now 5! Hey baby Devonte!) children. She’s a doctor, and married to a devoted husband, in a large home where her in-laws also stay.
Throughout her character’s pregnancy, I thought that Bo seems a lot like many of my clients: ambitious, brilliant, excellent mothers, who have a LOT on their plates.
Everything on Blackish, down to the decision of how to talk about the pregnancy at work, and debates over baby names and co-ed showers, felt familiar and on point.
Because of all of that, I was downright giddy when I saw previews for this week’s episode, described as Rainbow Johnson struggling with her mood after the new baby has arrived.
So, what did I think?
Let’s start with the bad news: My biggest disappointment is with calling the condition “postpartum.”
Postpartum is a time period. Everyone is postpartum once they have had a baby. This is not a condition to be concerned about, it’s just a phase of life.
Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are not something that women just have to suffer through. Postpartum depression can be treated.
Thankfully, despite the problematic language, the show does seem to make a distinction.
Which brings me to all of the things that I loved:
The postpartum depression symptoms that were shown were perfection.
Crying in the grocery store? Sending the baby to the party with Zoey after obsessing over the temperature of his milk? Guilt over forgetting to babyproof, and absent-mindedly sending a steak knife and sunscreen in her daughter’s lunch? All classic.
I was so impressed with how seriously Andre took this.
While Ruby (the incomparable Jennifer Lewis) dismissed Bo’s reactions as a part of motherhood, Dre knew that things could be better.
Who knew I’d be rooting for a couple taking a Cosmo quiz together?
And speaking of Ruby, THAT SCENE IN THE KITCHEN. If Tracee Ellis Ross didn’t act her fabulous ass off, I don’t know who did.
Ruby overstepping with formula is just the sort of unhelpful help that a loved one with “good intentions” would give. And Bow letting her have it had me standing up cheering.
I won’t completely spoil the moment with a play by play, but you should watch. It is a masterclass in boundaries.
There are so many tough things about modern parenting. We have put entirely too much pressure on new parents, and mothers in particular, to do everything the “right” way (which changes depending on who you’re talking to).
But giving parents the power to decide what’s best for their families? That’s getting it right.
And showing a family coming together to support a woman through postpartum depression, while battling stigma around taking therapy and medication?
Blackish hit this out of the park.
The only thing that would have made it better? If Rainbow had hired a postpartum doula.