postpartum depressionI stood at the podium and looked out at the crowd and had such an overwhelming feeling of pride. I’m so proud to be a mom who had postpartum depression.

It’s a strange thing to think, probably, but I felt certain of it. I’m not ashamed. Really. I can look inside myself and search every corner of my soul and my psyche and I’m not ashamed at all. I’m not embarrassed. Disappointed in some ways, yes, because I would have preferred to have a happy time with my beautiful boy when he was born. No doubt about that. Postpartum depression is not what I would have chosen, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Yet, it chose me. It wormed its way into my brain and stayed for a nasty while and I did my best to fight it off, often in ways that weren’t very pretty, but I did chase it away eventually. Me, plus the medication and the therapy and my family.

Postpartum depression chose me and gave me a different path to my life and now I get to know all of you. The vast majority of my readers and many of my dear friends are women who’ve been through some form of postpartum depression, so I get to know what PPD moms are like and I’m here to tell you they’re wonderful. I’m surrounded by PPD on all sides because of the work that I do and out in the world people might think that means I’m inundated with crazy, or with weak or undesirable. They couldn’t be more wrong.

I don’t think the world would be so judgmental, so quick to dismiss or make fun of or blow off or question, if they knew people like Morra Arons-Mele, who founded We Are Woman Online and the Mission List. Or Stephanie Stearns DulliJill Williams Krause of Babyrabies. Morgan Shanahan, who writes the blog The 818 and is a fellow Babble Voice and BlogHer’s entertainment editor. Advocates like Lauren Hale, who created the #PPDchat on Twitter or Amber Koter-Puline, who runs the Warrior Mom Book Club, and Adrienne Griffen who created Postpartum Support Virginia. Catherine Connors, the editor-in-chief of Babble. Becky Harks, founder of Band Back TogetherHeather KingCasey MullinsEmily EllingKristen HowertonAllison McDonaldJenni Chiu, Erin Margolin, Sharon DeVellis and Alexandra Rosas. Rita Arens, author and senior editor at BlogHer. Miranda Wicker and Kate Sluiter and Beth Ann Ballance and Addye and Susan and Esther and Robin and Kimberly and Yael and Alena and Jenna and Mirjam and Yuz and Jaime and Jen and Cristi and Andrea and Lindsay. Heather Armstrong and Molly Wizenberg and Andrea Scher and Kathleen Schmidt. These women, and so many more I can’t list all of you, are stunning human beings. If you knew them you’d know there are so many moms just like you, who’ve gone through exactly what you have, who struggled so mightily with pregnancy and new motherhood.

If you were lucky enough to be surrounded by all of these people in one room, all of whom have struggled with postpartum depression or anxiety or PTSD or psychosis or antenatal depression, you’d could see how outrageously special and wonderful women with PPD are. You would see that you’re not the awful person you think you are right now.

Go look at all of them. Look closely. They are you and you are they. It’s no wonder that I’m proud.