I am at home with a three-day old baby. He is small and beautiful and so very wanted.
I am in awe, but I look at him and wonder what this next year will bring to our family, because now I know.
I know it won’t always be easy.
I know sometimes it will be really, really hard.
Just below the surface there is a small amount of anxiety. A nagging what if?
I will admit to being scared. To, perhaps, a small amount of paranoia. To the worry that as much as I know now, as much as I’m so much better prepared and informed, I may not be able to avoid it.
But I will admit to hope.
Postpartum depression hit me by surprise last time. I didn’t expect it. Didn’t recognize it. Didn’t get help soon enough. And I never, ever want to experience something like that again.
Nor do I wish that upon any other mother – whether she’s a first-time, second-time, or sixth-time mom. Whether she gave birth or adopted. Whether she’s okay but her partner isn’t.
So today, on my son’s third day of life, I’m supporting Strong Start Day.
I found Postpartum Progress when I really needed it, and the information on that site (and Katherine’s response to my grateful email) was one of the things that led me down the right path towards recovery. That community has been important to me in the time since, as I worked through a really rough time last year and throughout this last pregnancy. I know I will be back there reading (and writing) in the days and weeks and months to come as I navigate my way through new motherhood a second time.
But not every woman can do that. Some don’t have Internet access. Some won’t know it’s there. Some just won’t think it’s relevant to them, as I wouldn’t have in the early days of my struggle. So the goal this year is for Postpartum Progress Inc. — the non-profit that supports the site and postpartum depression awareness (and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth) — to take all that great online information and turn it into material women can get from their clinicians and health care providers when they need it.
And they will need it. Someone you know will need it. Does need it.
Please help if you can. Donate if you can. If you can’t then please share the message. We do this one day a year – today only – and it matters.
It really, really matters.