Once again this year, I’m co-leading the Climb Out of the Darkness here in Colorado Springs. The issue of maternal mental health is an important and personal one to me and as we start to raise awareness around the event on June 18th, I’m sharing my blog post from last year. As always, by sharing my story, I hope to not only raise awareness but let others know they are not alone. Please join us this year – either by walking with us or by donating! To register or donate, please visit our Crowdrise page.
It’s been almost three years. The first year full of fight and fear. The second full of awakening and appreciation. The third giving me the drive to share my story and shout it from the mountain tops. I’ve done a lot of growing in those three years. I finally feel like a woman. Ready to take on the journey of myself and what I’m all about. I’m not sure I would have had that if it wasn’t for my miscarriage and my subsequent fight with postpartum anxiety and And when you question, “Why don’t I feel normal?” or “What is wrong with me?”, know that there is a large community of women who have been through it before and are there to lend an ear..
In today’s world, we are supposed to move on. We are supposed to be thankful for the blessings we already have. Of course I am thankful. How could I not be thankful for the amazing little being I get to spend every day with? Thankful for the man that has stuck with me through my struggle and the most difficult time of our marriage. I’m thankful for family, who even though they may not have understood, were there for me. Friends who told me to be pissed, to cry, to be ok with not understanding – and then – to use it.
Use it? Yes, use it. Postpartum depression and anxiety can bring out a side of you that you don’t want to face, a part of you that you never even knew was there. It’s scary and liberating at the same time. It took me a long time to get to this part of healing. To be able to say, “I’m bigger than you!”
I’m bigger than you but I know you are there and I know how to deal with you. Anxiety is a strange thing. Once it’s there, it’s always there, just under the surface. A few years in, I feel its presence and sometimes I welcome it. Because it taught me I’m a fighter. I always knew I was but how does one “really” know until faced with adversity?
I don’t like to boast. I don’t like pity. But you better believe I’m going to use my struggle. Use it to show other women that they are strong. To show families that you can make it through. To know they aren’t alone. That it’s an obstacle and not an ending.
For me, coping with my miscarriage and PPA/PPD has come through sharing my story hoping it may help others or assist in eliminating the stigma that is attached to postpartum conditions. It’s come from throwing my struggle and passion into learning more about maternal mental illnesses and more about how I can help other women through my work as a postpartum doula. It’s come from sharing resources and spreading awareness about everything from postpartum baby blues to severe cases of postpartum anxiety. And when someone questions themselves and asks, “Why don’t I feel normal?” or “What is wrong with me?”, they can know that there is a large community of women out there who have been through it before and are there to lend an ear.
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to lead a team of Warrior Moms in Louisville, KY during the first Climb Out of the Darkness event benefiting Postpartum Progress, Inc. I’m doing the same here in our new home this year.
2016 — And this year, I’m co-leading the Climb Out again her in Colorado Springs! Please visit our Crowdrise page to either register for the Climb or to donate!