Casie Smiley: Every Dog Has Her Day | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental healthDear New Mama,

I had a plan and remarkably, it worked. I wanted to have two children and around two years apart. In the grand scheme of things, it seemed like a good idea. I would be back to work in less time, they would have each other as companions. Vacations, school, everything would be relatively synced.

What I didn’t envision was the four year endurance test that ensued. I didn’t realize that my newfound identity as a mother would be undermined by my complete lack of freedom. I didn’t have a doting mother waiting in the wings; my husband worked constantly at the office or at the house. It was me, me and the babies—all of the time. And frankly, I thought I’d be better at it. I wasn’t the worst, I was present. I was loving. I was relatively organized.

But I was lonely. I was still young, and I wanted all of those things that young women especially want. I wanted to be acknowledged more than anything. That was not going to happen. I went from teaching in a Middle School with a team of teachers—a demanding, but rewarding and engaging job—to being alone with a toddler and a baby every day.

We moved into the suburbs, and bought a house at the end of a dirt road. We had an acre, and behind us were sixty undeveloped acres. It was peaceful; it was beautiful; it was, in a way, a safe little prison. And I knew that I was “lucky.” I was able to be with my kids. I had a husband. I had a home. Why wasn’t it enough?

I remember the day that my husband got “fixed.” I danced as well as I could as I drove down the road. I sang out loud. I was ecstatic. I loved my kids; I love them now as teenagers even more. But I love my independence. I love sleep. I love interaction. I love owning my body and taking it out. I used to say to my husband, when he flaunted his freedoms, “Every dog has her day.”

Ladies, I’m here to tell you: My day has come. And I am flanked by two children who respect and adore me. I love them; I love my freedom; I love my two jobs; and I love my life. It gets so much better. It is harder to raise young children than any marathon or endurance run I have ever done since. I don’t know why we don’t talk about it more, and let you compare yourselves to the illusion of television, etc. That is why I am compelled to write now.

I wish I could hand out medals to you when I see you shopping with a baby at the grocery store. I remember how hard it was, and I respect every woman who endures the trials of early motherhood. It is a universal truth that a woman who has raised children must be in need of some acknowledgement. You are in the most challenging part of your life. In comparison, teens are a breeze. You will have your day, and it will be fabulous!

Hello from the Other Side,


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