Two and a half years ago, I believed I was a failure. That I was worthless. That I was nothing. I would never be a good mother to my son. I would never be a good wife to my husband. I would never be a good friend to my friends. I would never love myself again.
These are the lies I told myself because of postpartum depression and anxiety.
Two and a half years later, I see those thoughts for what they were–intrusive, painful, harmful, irrational, and completely untrue.
Two and a half years later, I see myself as a good mother, a good wife, a good friend.
I’m not a failure. I’m not worthless. I am somebody.
In America alone nearly one million women every year still have those thoughts, or worse. Nearly one million women every year are diagnosed with postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders.
And these are just the women who are diagnosed.
Countless other women will never seek help for their postpartum depression.
Some of these women will not seek treatment because they don’t know what postpartum depression is. They don’t know there’s a name for the thoughts and feelings they’re having. Others won’t seek treatment because they don’t believe that this can happen to them. They believe that these thoughts and feelings are the result of some personal shortcoming. And others won’t seek treatment because they don’t have access to treatment.
The results of untreated postpartum depression on both mothers and babies are vast and profound and range from a lifetime of chronic depression to suicide for the mother and lack of attachment and stunted cognitive development for the children of these mothers.
Today, more women will become mothers than on any other day of the year. (Thank you, New Years’ Eve.)
Many of these mothers will need help to overcome a debilitating perinatal mood disorder.
Today, we’re starting strong.
- develop a compelling national awareness campaign for postpartum depression
- create & distribute new and improved patient education materials for distribution by hospitals (the kind new moms won’t throw away!!)
- translate their “plain mama English” information and support into Spanish and other languages
Perinatal mood disorders affect more women annually than cancer and stroke and because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, no one talks about it. People–mothers–don’t understand the prevalence of postpartum depression.
Help us talk about this. Help us spread the word. Use the Facebook Like button to share this with your friends. Tweet this link and use the hashtag #StartStrong. Make a donation through Network for Good through the button below. Help us change lives.
Help us help other women. Help us Start Strong so we can stay strong.
When you donate through Network for Good, you can donate in honor or memory of someone who has suffered from postpartum depression. I can think of no greater tribute to Warrior Moms everywhere than to help them help others.