You just gave birth. You did it. No matter how that baby entered this world, you were amazing.
Your mind is probably racing. This baby with soft, wrinkly skin, 10 fingers and 10 toes, and a grin that can break and then heal your heart all at once is yours.
Your heart races.
Your tears flow.
Your stretch marks are still there.
Your body aches.
Your heart aches.
And then it’s weeks later and you wonder when you’ll stop crying every day. You wonder when this heaviness, this sadness in your heart will go away. When the panic attacks will stop. When the terrible nightmares will quit playing on repeat in your head all. day. long. When this guilt will stop eating away your heart. When you’ll stop feeling like a failure because you couldn’t breastfeed, you couldn’t give birth the way you wanted, because you’re not able to be the mom you dreamed of being. When the regret will stop yelling in your head. When the shame will end.
No matter how hard you try, it won’t stop. Won’t go away. Won’t end.
And then you realize you can’t do it on your own. You make that call with hands shaking and heart breaking and ask for help. It’s a brave and courageous decision. You get on a treatment plan to help bring you back. To smile and laugh again. It takes time, but it’s working. It’s working. It’s finally working.
Those stretch marks? Your battle scars.
Those tears? Your battle cry.
And that smile on your face? No longer a lie.
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/.