postpartum depression, mental healthDear new moms:

When you go on a journey, you have a starting point. Sometimes you have a destination, sometimes you don’t. Regardless of your destination or lack thereof, there is always a starting point. A place to which you hope to eventually return. Or a place you hope to never see again. It’s there.

With a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder like postpartum depression, you find yourself on a journey. It’s not one you planned. It doesn’t involve a Concierge, a gaggle of maids to clean up after you, amazing food, or even a heated swimming pool. It’s a tough journey with lots of twists, turns, spills, and potholes. It’s messy.

There’s a starting point with this journey. There’s even a second starting point –the point at which you reach out for help– and until you reach this second starting point, the rest of your journey does not make sense. It’s as if you’re wandering aimlessly in the desert, clinging to anything remotely logical.

Your map to recovery, to finding the new you, is yours and yours alone. We all have similar experiences but when it comes down to it, we live different lives speckled with different shades of philosophy, expectations, and baggage. All of these influence which path we will take as we heal ourselves as we journey toward our destination.

There’s no set time for this journey. No set path. The preferred path, of course, is one which includes professional care from a psychiatrist, therapist, homeopath, or even just your OB or midwife, depending on the severity of your case. Some of us may need to rest a bit at a hospital. Others may slowly trudge onward, exhausted, finding ourselves diagnosed with a lifelong mental illness. However; we all start from a very similar place.

Until we admit we’re stuck in a dark hole, we won’t begin to climb out of it. Even if that hole threatens to swallow us daily, knowing we’re in it makes all the difference in the world. I know, for me, realizing what was wrong and knowing I wasn’t alone in my battle made it just a smidge easier to fight.

So today, Mother’s Day, I want you to know that you’re not alone in your fight. There are several others down there with you. There are thousands of us along the way out, too, ready to reach a hand down and lift you up.

All you have to do is get started and reach out.

~ Lauren Hale

Addicted to bacon and chocolate, Lauren Hale spends most of her time as an advocate for families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. You can find her on Twitter, at On the Air, and at her blog, My Postpartum Voice.

The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit 501c3 that raises awareness & advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider making a donation today, on Mother’s Day, to help us continue to spread the word and support the mental health of new mothers.