My first Mother’s Day was one of desperation. I was desperate to appear and feel normal. To want to soak in the whole day bathed in the glow of motherhood. The pictures I have from that day are bittersweet – I can see the depression and anxiety in my eyes.
Last year, I was honored to write for the Postpartum Progress Mother’s Day Rally for Mental Health. I wrote my post while not yet knowing I was 4 weeks pregnant. By the time Mother’s Day arrived and the post was published, my antenatal depression was in full swing and everything I had written – all that truth – vanished behind depression’s ugly curtain.
This year, I am now a mother to two girls. Two amazing, breathtaking girls.
I have had rough patches since No2′s birth. She’s suffered from a milk protein intolerance for four months, making even survival a lofty goal at times. I’ve battled anxiety’s ugly demons often. But all along I have adored her. If you’ve never suffered from a postpartum mood disorder, that may sound strange. But it’s all I ever wanted with No1 – to love her more than I feared her.
And this Mother’s Day, I have it.
I’m honored to be participating in the Postpartum Progress Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health. The fact that I’m even in a place where I can participate is amazing to me – because 2 years ago, I thought I’d never be myself again…never be happy again. And yet here I am, being challenged daily by my willful toddler, still working through my anxiety, but happy. Joyful. Grateful. Myself.
If you haven’t already, please click on over to the rally. There will be a new letter every hour, with messages of hope for moms everywhere. I know for many of the writers, sharing their story hasn’t been easy, and your support (and comments!) will mean the world.
If you’re visiting from Postpartum Progress, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here. I just starting writing a few months ago to shake the last bit of shame out of my mind, to share what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder; to show that you can survive PPD, get saddled with a life-long mental health diagnosis, and still thrive as a parent…and a person. It’s a work in progress, but putting my truth out there for (potentially) everyone to read has so far been a great experience and I look forward to seeing where blogging takes me.
More About the Rally
Why I Write About Mental Health
On Explaining Anxiety to Friends and Family
Living with Mood Swings
How Therapy Changed My Life
Fear of Passing Anxiety on to My Daughter
Learned Helplessness…and Learned Happiness
I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. One filled with love and joy.
I’ve been asked to participate in something life-changing. Over a year ago, when I was still digging myself out of the hole PPD left in my life, I stumbled across Katherine Stone’s blog, Postpartum Progress. Katherine started Postpartum Progress after surviving Postpartum OCD with her first child. It is now the most widely-read blog on postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and Katherine’s full-time job. While the blog’s endless resources are amazing, it’s Katherine who is really changing lives. She’s managed to create a safe place for women touched by postpartum mental health issues to connect – a community of understanding and support. Women who are currently battling for their mental health turn there for help. Survivors turn there for a sense of belonging. And new moms read it to gain perspective on what life as a mother can be…and what it doesn’t have to be. Her website was instrumental in helping me really heal. She was the one who showed me how not alone I really was. She contributed to my HOPE.
For the third year in a row, she is holding a Mother’s Day Rally. Each hour on Sunday, May 8th, she will post a different letter from survivors and experts, honoring mothers everywhere and advocating for mothers’ emotional heath. I am honored to be participating and so grateful for the opportunity to reach out to other moms – to give back to the community that gave me so much.
I hope you will join me on Mother’s Day over at Postpartum Progress. Stand with me as I use my truth to combat stigma and shame. Come celebrate and honor mothers everywhere by spreading awareness and understanding of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. It’s the best Mother’s Day gift I can think of.