I work with moms.
Moms with depression. Moms with anxiety. Moms with OCD. Moms with PTSD. Moms with psychosis. Bi-polar moms. Autistic moms. Single moms. Young moms. Older moms. Latinx moms. Black moms. Asian moms. White moms. Straight moms. Lesbian moms. Trans moms. Femme moms. Queer moms. Bi-sexual moms. Asexual moms. There are so many more kinds of moms – but these are the ones I know. These are the ones who have touched my life.
What kind of mom am I? I’m one of the 38% of black mothers who exhibit symptoms of maternal mental illness. I’m a work at home mom with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I’m cis and straight, black and unmarried. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse. I’ve breastfed, bottle fed, and pumped. I’ve co-slept, crib slept and I’ve cried it out. I’ve had pre-eclampsia, an emergency c-section, and a planned c-section. I’ve been battling maternal mental illness for just over four years now and there still isn’t much about motherhood that I can be sure of. But some things I know all the way through my body and into my soul.
None of us deserve this.
None of us deserve to die from this.
All of us need more help.
We need to be seen and heard.
We need to be screened, diagnosed, treated and supported.
We need each other.
We need you.
This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week in the US and in the UK. This is the week we step further into the light and we speak louder than before. This is the week we stand up for ourselves, for our children, for our families. So how can you help me? How can you help all my amazing mamas?
You can write to your representatives and ask that they fully fund The 21st Century Cures Act.
You can tell the expectant parents in your life about the risk factors for maternal mental illnesses.
You can ask new parents how they’re really doing. Ask them if they know the symptoms and if they know how to get help.
You can reach out for help if you’re struggling.
You can ask your obstetrician and pediatrician if they are screening every mom, every time they see her.
You can check out the National Coalition For Maternal Mental Health’s amazing TOOLKIT with a ton of resources.
There are so many things you can do, and so many families who need your help. If you’re reading this and you work with an organization that helps moms please leave their information in the comments. Together we can help lead mamas out of the dark and into the light. Help us #ConnectTheDots.
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