They call us broken.
When we are at our lowest point, drowning in depression or anxiety, consumed by OCD or paralyzed by psychosis, they write us off. The news show us the ‘crazy mom’ who kills her kids, or herself, or both. Sometimes they show us a celebrity who talks about her own trip through the darkness and people praise her courage. Rarely, very rarely, do we see ourselves.
The mom with the Etsy shop, the single mother running a business, the mom in the mini-van in the school drop off lane, the mom on welfare struggling to make ends meet, the mom coming home exhausted after her second shift of the day. They don’t think we can be all of those things and still be sick. They don’t see how we fight.
They don’t see that some of the best mothers that they know are struggling and fighting, waging war against their own brains every single day. They don’t see the battles we win.
It’s 3 am and I can’t sleep so I’m on Facebook when a notification pops up. Someone has posted in one of the online support groups. I start to write her back, to make sure that she knows that she isn’t alone in the dark of the night. By the time I hit ‘send’ I’m the fifth commenter on the post.
My friends got to attend a seminar on maternal mental illness and the legal system. They want to learn more, to be able to help the mothers who have fallen through the cracks and have hurt themselves or their children. They are dedicated to every mother.
Another friend has started a support group and website for women of color who are suffering from a mental illness. She knows that we are more likely to suffer and less likely to get help. She is fighting to be the person she needed and I am inspired by here every day.
I am part of a group of women who are Ambassadors for the cause. We are spreading awareness and reaching out to help other mamas across this country. We’ve invaded Canada and the UK too. We aren’t stopping. We will not stop.
In ten days I’ll bring my daughter into this world. So many things about that sentence terrify me. One of them used to be, ” What will happen if I get sick again?” I have to tell you that I’m not scared anymore. I may get sick again. It may be horrible. But I will not be alone. I no longer walk alone. I am a warrior mom and they will fight for me.
I got a package in the mail today. Some of my fellow survivors had an online baby shower and sent me some really lovely gifts. Pretty things for my baby, things to remind me how strong I am, things to remind me I’m not alone. And this letter. This letter sums it all up for me. These women are why I am no longer afraid, no longer alone.
To my dearest Warrior Mom,
The baby shower held for you, was inspired by you. Your strength. Your ability to fight through the darkness, come out on top and still have the courage to have another little one. I am in complete awe and amazement of what you are doing. You have created life! And you are a fighter. A Warrior. My friend. My sister. My heart. I love you so very much that typing these words brings a tear to my eye from the joy you bring me.
We fellow warrior moms would like to say congratulations to you and your family. Know we are always here for you. Please enjoy the gifts for you and your little one!
How can I be scared now? What have I to fear? Do you know how it feels to have a battalion at your back? I do. My baby girl and I are held, supported, loved by women with the greatest strength and the fiercest hearts. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for fighting every day for your health, the health of your families, and the health of mothers everywhere. Thank you for inspiring me and supporting me. Thank you for being at my back and allowing me the great honor to guard yours.
Fight on, mamas!