Dear New Mama,
Is there anything more jump-off-the-train-track of your life than having a baby? There wasn’t for me. When my first baby was born, my life was switch-tracked at 100 mph. If I had known there was a junction up ahead, I could have braced myself. Had there been a warning whistle of high speeds and neck-breaking turns, I could have pulled my buckle tighter.
But there was nothing—only me, in a runaway car with a new babe in my arms that I had to keep safe while having nothing to hang on to.
The question came up today on a Facebook page: What would you tell your pre-baby self? At first, the thoughts flew at me: sleep, eat, get exercise, reach out, ask for help, seek help. All of these things are IMPORTANT but all of these things can’t happen unless you first, CHERISH YOURSELF.
Here are 7 reasons why you are worth fighting for
1) Realize that YOU are the best mama for your new baby, especially on the days your mind tells you you’re not.
2) See the little victories in your life: a baby’s smile, a call from a friend, getting outside for a walk, a shower. These are huge feats when you’re mired in the darkness of postpartum depression or anxiety.
3) Your tears are nothing to feel shame over. Your tears are nothing to feel shame over. Repeat this as often as necessary.
4) What you see on social media—the perfect lives with the perfect postpartum experiences—they’re not real. What is real is YOU, and your love for your baby. It’s there, there’s a lot there in with you, too, but your love is THERE.
5) You reading this right now is why you are a warrior mama. You are searching for answers, you are looking for ways to get better, you are reaching out and this is what a warrior mama does.
6) Fighting for yourself is not for the weak. What this means, is that you don’t yet recognize the fighter you are: You might be so scared you’ll never be who you were before your baby, but by being on this site, you are digging your way back. You’re here, you’re part of postpartum progress now and that means you have support and community: One of the best predictors of PPD and anxiety recovery!
7) You matter, you count, you are worthy and you are not a failure. Cherish yourself, new mama: Look at the beauty of you, your tender heart, your love for your baby, your desire to be the best mama you can be for your child. Do you see how amazing you are? Look at you fight, Warrior Mama.
20 years ago, I was a PPD and anxiety warrior mama. At the time, I had no idea the strong fighter that I was back then. I see it now, and I want you to know that one day you will see just how brave and courageous you are, too.
I believe this.
I love you,
The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.