This is for everyone out there who is a survivor of postpartum depression or anxiety, or antenatal depression or anxiety, is having another baby and is perhaps a little worried about what is to come. (This is also for everyone still thinking about having another one) …
To the survivor mamas who are currently pregnant:
I want you to do something for me. Go grab your child. You know, the other one, not the one in your belly.
The one you already delivered. The one you diapered, fed and clothed.
The one you bathe. The one you care for when he is sick. The one whose Cheerios you’ve picked up off of the floor. The one you sing or read to.
The one who can walk now, or talk, or say her ABCs, or sleep in a big-girl bed, or count to three. The one who can use a spoon or cup, who can stack two blocks, or dance, or clap. The one who giggles. The one who makes this whole world better.
You did that.
Yes, other people helped, but you did that. Despite having had antenatal depression or anxiety, or postpartum depression or anxiety, you did that.
Now look into your child’s gorgeous face. Think of how she smiles at you sometimes. How he laughs at you. How she kisses you, perhaps with slobbery kisses. Think of a scribbled drawing that’s been made for you or a word you’ve been trying to teach that comes out funny but comes out nonetheless.
Think of HOW MUCH this child loves you and needs you and wants you. And HOW MUCH you love this child. Despite all that happened.
This will be you, again. Even if you are afraid that postpartum depression or anxiety or OCD will come back. Even if it does come back. This time you will know what can happen. This time you will know what to do. This time you have us, all the other people who have been there too, to support you. This time, if it does hurt all over again, you know you will make it. And this time, as last time, you will still be loved.
No matter how you get there, the beautiful story you have with the child that’s already here will be repeated again, because you are a good and loving mom.