I am participating in this event to help raise more awareness and less stigma associated with perinatal mood disorders and mental health.
I don't usually share a lot on social media about my personal life but I figured I should do so now for this wonderful event. I had my beautiful baby girl at the end of December and instead of the joyous and lovely experience I was envisioning, almost immediately I was hit with postpartum depression and anxiety.
I have never felt as close to despair and lost as I did the first few months after giving birth. I was constantly surrounded by people who loved and cared about me yet I felt so alone, helpless and empty. What was supposed to be some of the most memorable and special first months of my baby's life turned into a living nightmare, one in which I found no reprieve from for even my dreams were terrible nightmares that continued to haunt me during the day.
For me the depression and anxiety manifested itself in my belief that no matter what I did and what decision I made I was a horrible mother who was so incompetent that somehow I'd made my baby sick and no one could figure out how to make her better and it was all my fault. Try living with the conviction that you have somehow killed your own child and it will drive you insane, it nearly did for me. The mind can do great and terrible things to you, and no matter how much it didn't make sense and was completely baseless, I couldn't convince myself that it was not true.
We took my little love to so many doctors appointments and so many family friends who all said the same things, "she's perfect. Couldn't be healthier. You're a good mother."
That last statement always got me the worst because I was so sure I was the worlds worst mother and I beat myself up every day about it. My dear sweet family tried to help me the best they could but it got to a point where my husband said to me," I just don't know how to help you anymore."
I am lucky enough to be living in the town with the only medical facility in the country specifically for perinatal mood disorders. I was hospitalized and though I didn't want to be there at first and was convinced I didn't deserve to be in this nice place with all these amazing nurses and doctors ( as I said I was convinced I deserved to be in jail for my utter lack of basic mothering skills) it was the best decision and I started getting better almost immediately. I honestly believe it was a combination of the help they gave and I was praying and meditating intensely the whole time. I'm a firm believer in the amazing power for prayer and this experience confirmed my faith in so many ways.
I don't think I will ever be able to fully convey the utter joy and extesy I got in realizing for myself that my baby girl was fine. Not only fine, she was thriving and I could finally see my baby for who she really was and not the imagined ill baby of my nightmares. I remember this one moment in the hospital during visiting hours when she was crying and we had already given her the bottle ( one of my biggest anxieties was about breastfeeding and I had had numerous panic attacks while trying to breastfeed her) and my mom gave her back to me and just instinctively I put her to my breast and nursed her. Her little arm came around my ribs and she started stroking me and I didn't feel panicky or anxious all I felt was blissful joy.
Its been 3 and a half months since I've been home and I haven't had a single panic attack and have been exclusively nursing my little girl the whole time. I still have some tough days but then again so does everyone. For the most part I'm happier than I've ever been being a mom to my girl.
I am sharing to bring more awareness and to remind people that everyone is on a journey, sometimes the road takes an unexpected turn but everything happens for a reason and in the end makes us stronger and more compassionate people.
I have chosen to do a solo climb in my area with family and close friends. If you'd like to join us you are more than welcome! I will be hiking on a local trail in Durham, private message me for more info.
"Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness for pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The Climb is the primary funder of all of Postpartum Progress’ work. Funds raised provide:
Free educational materials distributed upon request to obstetrician, therapy, psychiatry, support groups and pediatrician offices upon request
The development of tools like the New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health.
Programs like the award-winning blog, which had more than 2.6 million pageviews in 2015, and private support forum for struggling moms, which supports more than 5,000 mothers around the world
The annual Warrior Mom Conference which prepares survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to become peer advocates for struggling moms in their own communities and raise awareness
Advocacy for better support, less stigma and increased services for perinatal mood and anxie
Thank you for supporting my Climb!