I have wanted kids almost as long as I can remember. When I was 12 or 13 I would take my youngest sister to the grocery store and push her around in the shopping cart and pretend she was mine. I actually thought people believed me.
In high school when we took our crying-eating-peeing dolls home to teach us how hard life would be as a teen parent, I wanted to keep mine when the week was over.
I was ready to be a mom.
What I wasn't ready for was being pregnant with twins, surviving an incredibly traumatic birth, having a child with disabilities and special needs and the PTSD and PPD that followed.
I wasn't ready for mastitis (twice), for the school I worked at to stop offering French (meaning I lost my job), for our car to die beyond repair. I wasn't ready to move back in to my mother's basement at 28 with my husband and two 10-month-olds, with my maternal grandparents also living above us.
I wasn't ready for being in constant physical pain, and then once I finally recovered being in a car accident which threw me back in the thick of pain and depression. I wasn't ready for the need to avoid bridges for fear of driving off of them (which is not easy to do here in Seattle) or lock myself in the closet with my babies for fear of throwing them out the window or down the stairs. I wasn't ready for the darkness that often comes after babies do and I didn't know how to handle it.
This year Climb Out of the Darkness falls on the day I was married six years ago and one day after my twin boys will be exactly two and a half. A year ago I was just coming to terms with my mental state, was just finally ready to publicly out my depression and really talk about my struggles. Last year was my first year participating in the Climb. To be honest, I thought by now, a whole year later, I would be able to check the "survivor" box instead of the "I'm still struggling" box, but here I am still struggling. Another year gone by and there are still days when I'm not sure I believe I will ever see light again.
They say the best way out is through, so here I am. Still climbing through the darkness hoping someday I'll climb all the way out.
I'll be climbing Rattlesnake Ridge with my boys and my husband on June 20th. We choose the longest (almost) day of the year because it offers the most light to fight our darkness. If you'd like to climb with me I would be honored. If you'd like to donate to the cause, to help raise awareness about the 1 in 7 moms (or 1 in 4 moms of low socioeconomic status) that struggle with Postpartum Depression, even better. There are an estimated 800,000 women per year who start a struggle with the darkness. You probably know a few who are struggling right now. Your donation helps shine light in the darkest places.
I'm trying to raise $913 this year, one dollar for every day these past two and half years I've struggled with PTSD and PPD since they boys were born. I'd love to make that goal with your support.
If you think you or someone you know might be struggling with Postpartum Depression of Anxiety:
This is what Postpartum Progress has to say about the climb:
Postpartum Progress’ Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, postpartum bipolar disorder, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. Climb Out is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. We currently have more than 150 teams in 44 states and 3 countries -- and it's not too late to join an existing team or start a team in your area if you'd like, or at least donate to a team in your area to show your support.
- To see a list of the teams that have already formed and how to join one of them, click here: http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/
- To see what it looks like when women from across the world who've had perinatal mood and anxiety disorders get together to raise their voices for the Climb, click here: http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/cotd-photo-gallery/
- Funds raised support the 501c3 organization Postpartum Progress (http://postpartumprogress.org). To find out the impact your donations make, click here: http://postpartumprogress.org/what-your-donation-gets/
- If you have questions, email email@example.com.
We can’t wait for Climb Out of the Darkness 2015, to be held Saturday, June 20th. Mark your calendars! #climbout