Just over 4 years ago I was at the lowest point in my life, convinced that it was no longer worth living. Today, thanks to Postpartum Progress and a support system that includes other survivors as my closest friends & tribe, my husband, and various mental healthcare professionals over the years, I'm back, healthy and recovered. If I hadn't found Postpartum Progress I would've lost my life and would've never received treatment for bipolar disorder which developed after the peak of my postpartum depression and anxiety.
I'm back, advocating for other moms, hoping that being so honest with my struggles will encourage them to seek help and let them know they may be hurting, but they are still incredible mothers and women, and they are not alone.
I'm back. It took awhile. There are days when my struggles with bipolar disorder are difficult to endure and fight through, but I do. I show up. I work hard at advocating for myself, and ensuring that my doctors and I are informed on my treatment options and latest research. I have an arsenal of self-care weapons at my disposal. I make my COMPLETE health a priority, and I'm a better woman, mother, and wife for it. I'm no longer clinging to survival and listening to the call of suicide. Instead I've found my way back to myself, and back out into a world where I can continue to pursue passions and embody desires that fulfill me as a writer and artist.
I'm back...and at 7 months postpartum with Austin, I'm much healthier than I was after I had Alex-even with bouts of postpartum anxiety. I can honestly say that I'm actually enjoying motherhood for the first time since Brennan made me a mother 7 years ago. Even on the hard days, I'm able to show up for myself and my children and that? That is the empowerment I want other moms to have. That is why I join Katherine Stone and Postpartum Progress in advocating for maternal mental health. Her tireless advocacy over the past decade is what gave me my life back, and I take every opportunity I can to pay that forward.
It's time we expand the conversation and policies that guide women's health. It's not enough to just care for a woman's body during pregnancy. Her mental well-being is the most critical piece of her overall health. We need to care for a mother's mental well-being during pregnancy and beyond, as this is when they are most vulnerable to mental illness.
I'm back. And showing stigma no mercy. I won't let it take any more prisoners, not while I still have breath in my body.
We've raised just over $100k in the last 60 days. There's still time to help us ensure Postpartum Progress' programs can reach moms on every socioeconomic level. We can ensure we reach the 1 in 7 who will develop a postpartum mood disorder and let them know hope lives. We can show them the way back out into the world.
Join a climb in your area: [embed]http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/[/embed]
Make a donation to a team in your area: [embed]https://www.crowdrise.com/COTD2014[/embed]
Buy a piece of art and proceeds from your purchase will benefit Team Austin's Climb Out of the Darkness: [embed]https://www.etsy.com/shop/abstractionsByaddyeB[/embed]