Bhutila Karpoche

Politician uses baby to make a powerful statement in Toronto

MPP Bhutila Karpoche already made history by becoming the first person of Tibetan heritage to be elected to public office in North America, and now she's done it again by making a powerful statement about maternal mental health at Queens Park. 

Karpoche, the member of provincial parliament for Parkdale—High Park in Toronto, brought her newborn baby to Queens Park this morning. 

While holding the adorable infant, Karpoche made a powerful speech about what it's like for mothers postpartum.

"I rise today, as a mother of a newborn, to discuss a topic that is all too often overlooked: maternal mental health," she said to the room of politicians.

"The physical recovery of childbirth is already difficult, but the process of postpartum mental health recovery is equally harrowing."

Karpoche then went on to list the well-known struggles of new motherhood, including sleepless nights and the exhausting day-to-day of newborn care.

But she also emphasized that being a new mother is so much more than that. 

"Somewhere right now, a mother is feeling a deep sense of failure as someone admonishes her for feeding her baby from a bottle. What they don’t know is that she already wept at the checkout line when she bought formula for her hungry baby after struggling, and failing, too breastfeed," she said. 

"Somewhere right now, a mother is desperately trying to keep up with the mental load of her household, ensuring the safety and wellness of her family, remembering birthdays, school events, dentist appointments, helping aging family members, maybe while working a full-time job."

In her speech, Karpoche spoke about the judgment a mother often faces when trying to make the right choices for her child. 

She spoke about the fact that many new moms are so focused on caring for their baby, they often neglect and ignore their own health. 

"Maternal mental health cannot be a luxury," she said. 

Many are praising the Toronto-based MPP for speaking up on an important topic that tends to go ignored. 

Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, shared her support for Karpoche online. 

Many Toronto residents are also posting their thoughts about Karboche's speech on Twitter, saying maternal mental health should be a top priority. 

Some have also mentioned the fact that new mothers belonging to a marginalized group often struggle with these issues to an even greater extent. 

According to a StatsCan study on maternal mental health released just five months ago, 23 per cent of mothers who recently gave birth reported feelings consistent with either postpartum depression or an anxiety disorder.

"To all mothers out there, I want to say: I know you’re doing your best," Karpoche said at the end of her speech.

"Remind yourself what your child or children already know - you’re the best mama in the whole world."

Lead photo by

Andrea Horwath

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