This past Sunday, Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that “raises awareness and advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth,” held their 7th annual Mother’s Day Rally for mental health. In years past the rally has featured letters written by mother’s (or “warrior mama’s”) to mother’s but this year was a bit different: this years rally featured narrative essays written by survivors and one of my own essays, Fahrenheit, was featured amongst this amazing group. To say it is an honor would be an understatement. Not only was I able to contribute to such an amazing event but I was able to say that I truly am a survivor and a “warrior mama.”
Here is an excerpt:
Little things were easy enough. I could turn on the television — the voices would break up the maddening silence and drown out the tears (Amelia’s and mine) — go to the bathroom, and get the mail, but that was it. Life was going on around me.
I took to walking everyday, regardless of the weather. Amelia was shielded from the summer sun by overlapping canopies — one from her infant carrier and the other from the stroller itself — but I was always exposed to the elements. They say sunlight can have a positive effect on depression, but I don’t remember it helping. In fact, I don’t remember much about those days aside from a strange sunburn which only affected the back of my neck and tops of my shoulders, iced coffee, and how disgusting Foodtown, our local grocery store, was. (It was cleaner than most Brooklyn bodegas but still left a lot to be desired.) While I always stopped at the coffee shop for a reason, why I stopped at Foodtown was less obvious. I convinced myself it was for the cool, crisp air but I know there was more to it than that. I was hoping to be seen, hoping someone would give me advice I could actually use. I was hoping someone would see I needed help, and I was trying, in vain, to stay away from our house, and from myself.