Connect the dots: Maternal Mental Health Day 2017

Did you know today is World Maternal Mental Health Day? Did you know 1 in 7 women suffer from a maternal mental health complication? Do you know at least 7 mamas? In my playgroup alone, there are 20 of us.That means at least 2 of us have had some experiences with mental health. I know of my own story. I remember when I visited a mama holding her third newborn, she shared her postpartum depression during her second baby. 

We're here, silently, patiently, willing, praying that this thick and heavy fog of emotions suddenly just lift up and dissipate. Some of us barely holding on to our realities. Some of us bravely asking for help. 

I wrote this post exactly 1 year ago today. I can hear myself crying. I can feel my wounds being cut open and this deluge of heaviness threatening to drown me. What I thought was just mere sadness turned out to be more consuming than I realized. I hid in closets. I stopped answering texts and pushed away my husband, my own daughter, my family and friends. I didn't want anything to do with my son. I wanted to keep driving along the interstate and not care to ever drive back. I pulled over on the sides of roads during my work commute just to bawl and pray for my sanity to return. I haven't driven by there in a long time. 

I am crying as I type this. Preeclampsia does SUCK. And for all the emotions I have against Preeclampsia and premature babies and NICU. I was not prepared for the lack of emotions I had during my postpartum depression. I wanted to cry. I needed a release. I hated the numbness. I hated the lack of empathy when my babies cried. I let him cry a lot longer than necessary. I didn't care about work. I just knew that I needed to be outside away from home.....and talk to these mamas at WIC. But they didn't need my apathy, my coldness. 

It took me a while to realize that perhaps I wasn't as fine as I kept claiming. I wasn't in control. And when I released this void out into the world, I got angry. 

I lashed out. 

I lashed out to my husband.My daughter. My son.

..........

...

.

And it's those memories that stay with me.

So.....as today is World Maternal Mental Health Day, I implore you as friends and families to really look at the new mamas around you. Do they seem stressed out? Do they need help? Are they taking care of themselves? Mamas are a beast, y'all. We think and believe that we must do it all. Mama, if you know something is off just a little with you.....please take a moment and practice some self care. Do not feel guilty about asking for help. Do not feel shame about not having it all together - none of us have it together! Ask ask ask for help. Keep asking. Keep praying and asking. And don't stop until you find the help that you need. 

~ You are all in my thoughts and prayers today. Keep fighting, mama. ~ 

POSTED MAY 3, 2016
I didn't think I would be here again and have to face this nightmare I prayed I'd have strength to push through.

My tears have come and haven't stopped flowing. I try to be positive but each moment of grief and doubt and fear come over me like waves and instead of swimming with the current, I find myself being pulled under and being swept away.......

basically, I've hit my bottom.

It's not pretty. But I need an outlet and this is all I know.

I know to keep praying.

I know to keep talking and keep writing and to not shut the world out even though I spent the better half of yesterday under the covers.

I know that I don't like to lie and try to live as honestly as I can and being positive every time is a lie. In between my "best of today Facebook posts," I'm just a mess of a mom who just wants her baby home.

I need to pen this simply because this is what Preeclampsia does. It robs you of the simple thigs that most women take for granted.

Yes, I am so thankful that my baby is ALIVE. But, he's got a while to grow and time can only tell what becomes of preemmies.

Yes, I am so thankful that I am ALIVE. But my fight is just beginning. My blood pressure hasn't leveled off to "normal" yet and I find myself - a woman who barely took her prenatals and baby aspirin - taking 3 pills every 6 hours.

But this isn't about me. This is about Preeclampsia.

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. 

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation (www.preeclampsia.org), Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms. 

My symptoms the second time around was a lot different than with my first. With my first, the protein in my urine kept increasing. I gained six pounds in a week and was swelling everywhere. I wish I knew what my blood pressure readings were but during my surgery, the doctor had told me that my placenta was detaching. I was in the hospital for three days before performing the cesearian.

​Because of what I knew about Preeclampsia, the second time around, I knew a blood pressure reading of 152/102 wasn't normal. I had a headache that stayed with me the whole day. I threw up bile and my vision was blurry. In a span of just a few hours, I was admitted, put on magnesium sulfate to decrease the blood pressure that topped 189/100. Before I could mentally prepare myself for the next few hours/days, I was told I was "cleared" for the 7:30 am surgery.

Preeclampsia can attack that fast.

Preeclampsia is still attacking me.

I know and have faith that I will overcome this war. I've fought the same battle before and I've seen what God can do to a battered soul - especially the soul of a Mother.

I'm trying, as always to take it one day at a time and stop my controlling little self from making up future scenarios that may not happen.

I'm trying but it's a little difficult. As a mom, you have to have enough strength for the little souls you're in charge with.

...... this second time around, I'm not sure I have enough strength left to fight.


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