Jordin Sparks has been on top the world these days. The 29-year-old “No Air” singer just celebrated another wedding anniversary (their second) with her husband, Dana Isaiah, and she’s loving being a mom to their 14-month-old son, Dana Isaiah Thomas, Jr. otherwise known as DJ.
Like any new mom, alongside some of her happiest moments, Sparks says she has sometimes struggled to find peace.
“Right after he was born, my anxiety went through the roof. Like I was scared to leave the house. Like the whole thing was just like so overwhelming,” Sparks told theGrio in an interview in New York City.
Sparks says the feeling was crippling because all she could concentrate on was doing the best for her child, but ended up fearing anything and everything that got in the way of making that a reality. The struggle is actually quite common, and doctors have coined the condition postpartum anxiety, which is similar to postpartum depression, a serious disorder which can affect moms after birth.
According to The Postpartum Stress Center, approximately 14 to 15 percent of women who are diagnosed as postpartum suffer from anxiety.
Sparks says she didn’t want her anxiety to keep her from doing the things she loved or bonding with her son.
“Instead of letting it take over, it was more like O.K., let me just use this to propel me forward… I’m scared of this, that means I just have to go to the house today. I got to go. And that’s kind of how I looked at everything my whole life,” Sparks told theGrio.
“You have to overcome things to get to the best part of things right?”
The best parts of life are certainly manifesting for the Grammy-nominated singer who says her love with her husband is stronger than ever. Although she admits that the two “moved fast” when they first got together, she doesn’t regret it at all.
“Rushing is relative because it happened really quickly for us. We just knew,” Sparks revealed to theGrio.
“My husband is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me because if I didn’t meet him, I wouldn’t have D.J, right. He has just been so supportive and so incredibly strong.”
On the career front, Sparks was recently casted in a new comedy sitcom for Freeform called Besties.
In it, she plays “an ambitious overachiever from a hard-working, conservative African-American family, who learns that her birth mother is actually white,” according to Deadline.
She is also working on new music, which will be released soon, but a preview of her recording sessions shows her being a full-on, millennial mom in the studio with her son DJ.
“I know millennials are working multiple jobs. We’re doing all different things. We have entrepreneurship and we’re trying to balance school, we’re trying to work. We’re trying to live in this crazy housing economy; it’s just insane,” says Sparks.
“At the end of the day, when you become a mom or maybe you’re a nanny, as long as there’s a child that you love, it just becomes different. The child is the focus.”
In that vein, the singer has formally teamed up with Kalahari Waterparks, to advocate for children everywhere, providing free swimming lessons in communities that need support.
In the U.S. a whopping 64 percent of African-American children have little to no swimming ability. It’s a legitimate issue especially during the summer as many families visit pools and beaches.
“It’s important for kids to be safe around water as much as it is for them to have fun,” she says.
Sparks also encourages other millennial moms to find their tribe, carve out fun time for community play dates, and remember there’s value in maintaining your social life.
“Find other moms who you love and can talk to because it can feel very isolating in the very beginning because your life shifts so much,” said Sparks. “You may be like, ‘Oh, I can’t go tonight…but please keep inviting me!'”