Every mom’s journey through PPD is different and we all see our experiences in a way that helps and heals us. In my six years advocating for mothers with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I’ve met moms who call themselves “survivors,” and others who identify themselves simply as “having experienced PPD.” And while there is no right or wrong way to think about your time struggling with depression or anxiety, for the mamas who join us here at Postpartum Progress, “Warrior Mom” resonates and empowers in a way other language falls short.
In 9 short weeks, over 100 of these amazing women will come together in Boston for the inaugural Warrior Mom™ Conference, the first patient-centered conference on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. A few of the attendees recently shared why the phrase “Warrior Mom” resonates with them:
The phrase “Warrior Mom” makes me feels strong, like I have some control. I’m not a victim. I’m not “suffering” from PMADs. I’m fighting and surviving. When things get crazy and out of control, I can at least give myself a positive label that gives me the confidence to push on, even if only a minute at a time. I’m not a solo warrior. I’m part of a band of warriors in a tribe of motherhood, and that… feels a lot less lonely and hopeless than being a victim.
– Amber Swinford Dunn
I felt so weak after having my baby and falling apart. I felt like there was a war for my life and my soul that I couldn’t win. The war went on for so long and I stumbled and fell so many times. Finally, the smoke started to clear and I could see the battlefield. I could see fears and pain that I had slain. I could see friends and family standing beside me, some wounded in their own ways. I could see legions of other mamas, each fighting their own wars. The field stretched out seemingly forever. And that is when I finally realized who I am. I am a warrior. I fight for myself, for my babies, for my family. I also fight beside every other mama out there. I fight against stigma and for funding. I fight for treatment and for education. I am a warrior, forged in battle and ready to lead.
– Gra Sea
The phrase to me means I’ve made it through my own personal war and survived. Although I have scars, they have healed and keep fading as time goes on. I’m stronger for the battle I fought and I am a Warrior Mom. I now am there for other moms going through this war, to stop the stigma and help them get past the battle.
– Tara Stafford DeTore
The term Warrior Mom resonates with me because in my darkest moments I would visualize myself in an empty stadium facing my nemesis. Then slowly the stands surrounding me filled with everybody I knew was supporting me. Each seat was occupied with someone who wanted what was best for me, was encouraging me, was helping in my recovery, or reminding me that they had been there and had come out the other side. As a Warrior Mom™ in recovery, I had to do the work on my own, but that didn’t mean I was alone. During a time when I felt mostly powerless to the thoughts in my head, this moment of meditation would bring me peace and awareness that I (with my army of supporters) was powerful beyond measure.
– Kersten Larson
We had so many responses to our post that we’ll be sharing the rest next week, in Part Two! Be sure to come back for more from our amazing advocates and Warrior Moms.