Since becoming a mom, Mother’s Day sends shivers up, down and around my spine. This will be my third — time flies.
Prior to motherhood, when I was much younger, I really didn’t think much of the day. Yes, I understood that my mom was a rock star… I mean she kept us all alive, so she must have been doing something right. But the gifts and cards I handed over in exchange were empty. As I got older and slowly considered motherhood for myself, Mother’s Day became a holiday for the elite. Brunch al fresco, bouquets, cards made by messy little hands and sweet dresses on Sunday morning.
I’ll admit, I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the cool club and motherhood seemed to be a club I could joined pretty easily. I mean, all I needed to be accepted were: snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails or sugar and spice and everything nice.
Greg, my husband and I, combined those magical ingredients into a lovely petite cauldron. After nine months of trying different combinations we found the perfect recipe and our baby was brewing.
Pregnancy was rough to say the least. I took Unisom — yes a sleeping pill, every-single-day leading up to the grand finale, to combat all day sickness. Can you imagine what that did to an already exhausted pregnant woman? This would surely would earn me a special badge for my super-mama cloak that I’d wear over my sweet pastel mother’s day dress. I reminded myself all-the-time, that pregnancy would not last forever — at least that’s what they said, and as soon as I held my sweet baby boy all would be right in the world — all the vomit and near vomits would have all been worth it!
Turns out, they lie by omission and ignorance.
The cold early morning of January 11, 2013, my due date, I stumbled to the bathroom. My leg was asleep again, that giant mass was the only thing that was getting any sleep. Upon returning to bed I was greeted with a POP! My water broke! I wasn’t ready for that, especially not on my due date, and my kid was still breech! We weren’t going to get to use our large inflated kiddy pool at all.
But, I would be invited to Mother’s Day!
I delivered a sweet beautiful perfect baby boy at 12:03pm. I’ll never forget those sweet gurgles as they pulled him from my tummy. Shortly after I saw him, the cutest bloodiest little vampire… the Cullen’s had nothing on him!
I was ecstatic from minute one, so much so that I didn’t need sleep! I was indeed a super mom. Honestly the abyss of time following those early days are a bit of a blur. Filled with tears, bloody nipples, and thoughts that are hard to speak.
Motherhood? Mothers Day? You can have it. I’d much prefer to celebrate from the other side of the fence.
The daily surge of tears and lack of sleep became too much, the thought of death was entirely peaceful. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.
On my first Mother’s Day I can’t tell you what we did, or were we lived. We moved five times in three years trying to escape the pain. Postpartum Depression has that kind of power. I have that kind of husband!
My second Mother’s Day, I still can’t recall where we lived, but I felt like a fraud. I had no right to that day. I made every attempt to be happy and really be thankful that I could even celebrate as a mom. I was living my dream, I had no reason to be anything but on top of the world. Sadly, none of that mattered the pain was still there and still very real.
I got help, attended a support group, was introduced to Postpartum Progress, was prescribed antidepressants at a dose that made me hallucinate. But at the correct dose I found myself again. Raivon, as a mom.
It’s funny, or not… I heard of Postpartum Depression before having my son and I can honestly say I had genuine empathy for women as they shared their stories. But I also had confidence that their story would never become mine.
It was my story, it is my story, and will forever be.
While I was in the middle of my hell I judged myself as Raivon. That wasnt fair. I was not Raivon the mom, friend, daughter, sister …person. Would you be you if you were drowning in despair unsure of your future? Probably not. But we all do it — judge ourselves, especially when we aren’t ourselves.
This Mother’s Day, technically my third but symbolically my first — I look at motherhood with a compassion I hadn’t before. Beneath the veneer of perfection, brunches and Sunday morning bests — I see her. The woman that makes mothers day, mothers day. She wasn’t created for mother’s day — but it, for her. To celebrate not only her beauty and power, but to acknowledge the pain, messiness, and sacrifice that must come with being a mom.
Don your cloak and fully enjoy Mother’s Day. Come as you are — it’s yours, it’s mine!
Raivon Lee is a stay-at-home-mommy blogger of one, she became a Proud Warrior Mama after kicking Postpartum Depression’s booty in 2014. She’s been told that she is a Maternal Mental Health advocate & loves to share her story with whoever will listen and even with those who won’t. Most recently she has stumbled upon a passion for writing and aspires to become published one day soon. She fully thanks God for allowing her pain and suffering to have not been in vain. You can find her at VainMommy.com
The 7th 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.