I hear it all the time: “I thought I was the only one!” I hear it in support groups and I read it in the comments on blogs and on Facebook. I hear it over the phone and I read it via messenger. Each mother is totally and completely sure that she is alone in her illness, that she is the worst to ever have these symptoms and that it is her fault.
Approximately 950,000 mothers will suffer from a Maternal Mental Illness each year. That is almost ONE MILLION MOMS. That is more than four times the number of women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year (about 210,000).
Not only are you not alone now, you never were alone. When your world drained of color and everything turned grey, you were not alone. You were not the only mother who threw all of the knives out of the house or who wouldn’t go near the stairs or the bathtub because of the images in your head you couldn’t control. You weren’t alone when you were raging and screaming or when you broke down afterwards from the guilt and fear. You were never, ever alone.
Right now there are almost a million moms all across this country who are right there with you. They are at work, at school, driving carpool and making dinner. They are questioning and second guessing and hating themselves and wishing it could be different.
They are going to therapy and to the doctor. They are going to acupuncture and yoga and running and swimming and coloring and dancing and they are trying so hard to be kind to themselves and to heal.
They are reaching out to each other and opening up to each other and they are discovering that they are not alone. They were never, ever alone.
They are deep in the depths and they are climbing towards the light. They are in recovery and they are recovering from the recovery. They are deciding not to have children again and they are announcing pregnancies and they are leaving things up to fate.
They are learning to turn guilt into regret and let it go and they are teaching and supporting each other on that road.
None of us were ever alone. When you felt like you were in the deepest hole and could not, should not ever be rescued I was right there too. I felt that too. Every year almost a million moms will join us. None of them will ever be alone either, even when they don’t know it, because we are already here.
So, what can you do? Oh, so many things!
Tell your story, if you’re ready. Telling your story, to a friend or on a blog or in the comments section on another post – telling your story anywhere can be so powerful and freeing.
Tell a pregnant friend: Tell her that 1 in 7 new moms will develop this complication of childbirth and that if she does there is so much help available to her.
Get and give support: Find a local support group and join! Go to get help or go to give it. Go.
Join or Lead a Climb: Climb Out of the Darkness is the largest nationwide fundraiser for Maternal Mental Health and is put on by Postpartum Progress.
There are awesome women all over the country who are changing lives. I call them Warrior Moms. some call them survivors. You can find them by going to Postpartum Progress. If you’re in the Charleston, SC region you can find us at Postpartum Support Charleston.
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