My child is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me; the greatest gift and blessing of my life. That being said, the postpartum period I experienced was easily the greatest challenge I have ever faced. I have no words for the way that this period impacted my mental health and wellbeing. The closest ones I can think of are: overwhelming, anxious, depressive, scary, isolating….and none of these can even begin to cover it. I was convinced I would somehow seriously hurt or even kill my baby. I was too anxious to even look at her or try to feed her-although I had dreamed of these moments for so long. My thoughts told me that I would never be the mother I wanted to become-that my baby was better off without me. Isolation became my only strategy for trying to cope. If no one could see my struggle, than maybe I could somehow convince the world I was a “good mom”who wasn’t thinking the horrifying things that I was. I was absolutely convicted-with every fiber of my being-that I was alone, that no one could possibly understand, that there was no way out and no way to find support in this struggle.
I am happy to tell you that I was wrong.
A dear friend noticed my struggles with isolation and ultimately ended up helping me connect to a group of moms who shared similar experiences. I will never forget the first time I met these women. Their open and honest sharing broke through my wall of isolation and loneliness. Receiving support from peers who could relate to what I was experiencing and truly understand was vital to my healing. The words “me too” have never meant so much to me as they did during that time. The women I met inspired me. They were struggling as I was, but I could see that it didn’t make them bad moms….in fact, it made them brave ones. And I was able to continue bravely through that time and get the help I needed because of them. To those who may be struggling today, please be reminded: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are worthy of receiving hope and healing.
To search for additional support groups and resources near you, search here.