Cristi Comes: On a Life Preserver for New Moms

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postpartum depression, mental health, maternal mental healthDear New Mom,

Does it sometimes feel as though you’re swimming at night in a sea of choppy water? Waves crash all around you as seaweed and other debris crowd your path and grab hold. Some moments may feel like a strong anchor is weighing you down. Like you’re slowly (or sometimes very quickly) drowning. You bob up and down looking for land, struggling to reach the shore where safety and help exist.

Where is the life preserver? Where is the raft? Where are the strong arms reaching out to save you?

The power of the sea of motherhood often throws us into waves of exhaustion, hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional strain, and feelings of being alone in the darkness. It can be very scary and often feels shameful. We feel like we are the ultimate failures. Like we cannot be what we as women were born to be. We think…

“I’m not cut out to be a mother.”

“Why can’t I just suck it up?”

“My faith should see me through.”

“Others have done this for centuries. Why can’t I?”

“I should feel joy, and all I want to do is run away.”

“Someone will take my child away if I admit what I am feeling.”

So many women have these thoughts, myself included. Running away and letting a “good mom” take over can seem like the best option for your child. But in reality it’s your depression or anxiety or mania or OCD or psychosis that is lying to you.

There is NO perfect mother. I repeat there is no perfect mother. Those happy photos you see on Facebook of sweet smiling children in their moms’ loving arms are an illusion. A snapshot in time. Because even those women have bad days, and many of them have, without a doubt, had feelings of hopelessness or fear or exhaustion, and have questioned if they are good enough.

If your own struggle goes one step farther (like mine did) into a postpartum mood disorder–a real medical condition that effects oh-so-many moms–the waves you swim in right now are even more powerful. The churning sea is potentially more devastating, unless you find and grasp that life preserver.

So I’m throwing you one…with love from me to you.

life saver art by Cristi Comes

On this day designated to celebrating motherhood, you may not want the recognition. If you’re reading this, you may feel unworthy of a day that honors you and your job as mom. But read the words that make up this life saver, and try with all of your might to change your inner dialogue.

“I am a warrior.”

“I am brave.”

“I can stay strong, hold on and find help .”

“I can get treatment and find recovery.”

“I am not alone.”

I’m glad you found us here for the Mother’s Day Rally for Mom’s Mental Health on Postpartum Progress. It’s such a special day where we honor all mothers, not just the happy ones, because we deserve it too. You are more than enough. In fact, you are exactly the mom your child wants and needs. Trust me.

~ Cristi

Cristi Comes is a warrior mom, wife, writer and mental illness fighter. A mental health and suicide prevention advocate, she serves on the Board of Directors the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Washington State. Follow her blog at www.motherhoodunadorned.com, on Twitter @motherunadorned and Facebook at Motherhood Unadorned. Also please follow her Mental Health Hope Group Pinterest Board.

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Postpartum Progress, the world’s most widely-read blog on all things related to emotional health around pregnancy & childbirth, is a service of Postpartum Progress Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of postpartum depression and similar illnesses. Please consider making a donation today, Mother’s Day, so we can continue and expand our work supporting maternal mental health. Thank you!
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About Robin Farr

Robin Farr is a writer, wife, communications professional, speaker and mom - chronologically, at least. She got mixed up philosophically during her struggle with postpartum depression but wrote her way out of it on her blog, Farewell, Stranger. You can find her on Twitter @FarewellStrangr or on Facebook. Robin and her family live in Calgary, Alberta.

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