A dear and sweet friend of mine, Melanie, posted an article on Facebook this week that highlighted the tragic story of a young mom who took her own life after a silent battle with PPD. I haven’t been able to stop that story from being on repeat in my mind…and in my heart. So, I’m straying from the usual mainstream topics of exercise, health and nutrition to focus on a less talked about aspect of mental health – one that I’ve experienced myself in the recent past.
Let go of the fear
First, I want to encourage any moms out there who may come across this blog to silence the fear and discomfort that comes with talking about our feelings. I’ll start – this mom stuff is tough, ladies. And, I often feel alone and lost and twisting and turning…almost like a sparrow in a hurricane. Anyone else feel me?
I’ll give you an example: after Olyvia was born – almost two years ago – I would use her nap times to cry. There was no particular trigger or event – just the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a tiny human – one that I made from scratch. I was afraid. Afraid of failing, afraid of raising a criminal, afraid of neglecting to teach her the value of what it means to be human and vulnerable. I’ll admit it – I’m still afraid. The fears have changed from worrying if she’s too cold at night to what if other kids are mean to her at preschool or -worse yet – what if she is mean to someone else? What if she is made fun of? What if she makes fun of others and fails to recognize that her job is not to judge others by the road they’re on?
So, in those moments when the fear and worry rises up to my throat, I wonder how will I honor the enormous responsibility of not just raising a child, but doing so in such a way that she learns to be humble and kind and assertive and giving and honest? Is there a lesson plan somewhere? A rule book? A compass? No. There’s not. There’s only instinct and trial and error.
I think what we often forget is that we aren’t alone in these feelings or the fear and worry and stress and joy we experience as moms. True, each of us is on our own “mom road”, but we still experience similar ups and downs – especially in the post-partum period.
All these worries and fears aside, how can we come together as women, as moms, as neighbors, as humans to help each other? I can’t be the only one that feels the need to take a few pulls of the Reddi-Whip can just to get myself together!? 🙂 All joking aside, this is my pledge and promise to be there for anyone who needs a shoulder or someone to listen.
The goal isn’t to “solve” the problem, the goal is to help make the load a little lighter for someone else. Let’s be women who lift other women up and who only want the best for each other. We can’t accomplish that if we don’t extend our hands and/or talk about our own experiences, fears, and worries. The change starts with us, right here, right now, in this moment.
For resources and information on PPD, please visit the following links.