I love semi-colons.
True, not everyone uses them right. Sometimes I don’t even use them properly. I just like them; they’re the prettiest punctuation. It’s really powerful punctuation, too. As an editor, I appreciate powerful punctuation. The semi-colon is used when an author could have ended a sentence but chose not to.
April 16th (tomorrow!) each year is celebrated as Project Semi-Colon Day. The project was started in 2013 by a daughter who wanted to honor her farther whom she lost to suicide. The semi-colon represents a story that could have ended, but didn’t. People draw semi-colons on their wrist and share them across social media. I’ve participated the past two years.
In the years since the start of Project Semi-Colon, the symbol has taken storm in the mental health field. When I see someone with a semi-colon tattoo, I know that they themselves or someone that they love is touched by mental illness or suicide in some way. I feel an instant kinship with that person, even if I don’t say anything overt.
Here’s the truth for moms experiencing postpartum mental illnesses: Suicide accounts for about 20% of postpartum deaths and is the second most common cause of mortality in postpartum women. (Archives of Women’s Mental Health) That’s scary. We know that without treatment, postpartum depression can lead to chronic depression. But we also know that postpartum depression is TEMPORARY AND TREATABLE.
Your story doesn’t have to end. We don’t need to lose any more moms. Your children need you; you are literally the perfect mom for your child. With treatment, with support, with every ounce of effort you’ve got, you can beat your postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. You can come through the dark tunnel out into the light and take your stance among the rest of the Warrior Moms who came before you.
It won’t feel easy. It won’t be easy. Fighting postpartum depression is hard. It’s exhausting work just being a mom and it feels triply so when you’re fighting a mood disorder. But you’re not alone. We’re here with you, every step of the way, waiting for you to continue your story after your semi-colon.
You are not alone; you are never alone.