It was a year and a half ago, but I remember looking in the mirror. Tears streamed down my face. My hair was a mess. My clothes were a mess – I think my nursing tank was on backwards. My eyes spoke volumes. I was tired. I was stressed. I was anxious. I was scared. I was disappointed and distraught.
“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be”, I thought. “What is wrong with me?”
Day after day, the sadness and the fear grew. The face in the mirror grew more weary. The mom behind it fell deeper.
I can’t seem to get out of this.
After I began to get help, the reflection slowly changed. Yet, I could not shake the feeling of disappointment.
Who is this person? Where did I go?
For many women, this is #realmotherhood. It was my reality for quite some time. I struggled daily with the impact from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I couldn’t function. I could not sleep. I worried about my son constantly, yet I never felt like I truly bonded with him.
I sought treatment and help. It took time and effort, but I recovered. I had a great support system, but it wasn’t easy.
Today is the last day of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. My story is common. I wasn’t alone, and neither are the women who suffer now. This screenshot from The Blue Dot Project illustrates just how common the issue is:
My journey was difficult, but it has shaped who I am today. I am proud to be a mother. I am happy to share what I’ve been through. I am fulfilled through helping others and hearing about their experiences.
Today, the reflection in my mirror is different. It’s now of a mom who understands. I accept that my story wasn’t a storybook classic. I understand that my experience does not reflect who I am as a mother or a person. I wasn’t well then, but I am now. There’s #noshame in my experience.
There are days where I look run down and tired. However, there are more days when I’m happy. There are amazing days when I’m joined by my smiling son. It’s all reflective of who I am and how far I’ve come. That is all #realmotherhood.