Warrior Moms. Survivors. Surviving. Fighting Back.
I use those words for a reason. I created the Warrior Mom logo because I was so sick and tired of the few portrayals of women with postpartum depression, or any other perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, as "less than". Like we are women with something missing. Women who can't keep it together. Women who just aren't as strong as the rest of the group.
That pissed me off.
So I decided, with Postpartum Progress, to take a different approach. I wanted people to see women with postpartum depression as people who have had an illness and who have recovered. The illness isn't who we are. It's not even a large part of who we are, though it is powerful enough to seemingly take over everything for a while.
I also wanted to find a different way of looking at what I went through for my own benefit, because it helped me. I could look back on my experience with postpartum OCD as a black hole or I could look at it as a period of growth and strength. It allowed me to reframe what happened, or at least how I viewed what happened. The Warrior Mom helped me as much or more as it has helped any other person who has ever read this blog.
I read a piece today from Chemo Babe, where she writes beautifully about cancer and the people who have made it through and the people who haven't. She wants to make it clear that the people who haven't survived cancer have no less character than the people who have. Her words made me stop and think.
When I talk about Warrior Moms, I want to make sure you know that I do so because I want you to feel empowered, instead of small. I want you to feel you can fight back, instead of surrendering. I don't want you to feel defective, or lacking in character or mothering skills or anything else for that matter. Because I know how easy it is to feel those ways, having been there myself.
I don't, however, mean to imply that the women who didn't make it were lacking in some way. It crushes me when I read about a new mother's suicide or infanticide, or when I read about a woman who has lost her family because of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I often wonder what the details were. I want answers. Was she just so good at hiding it because she believed no one should ever know? Was she in so much pain that she felt this was the best or only solution? Was she suffering from delusions that led her to fully believe ending her or someone else's live was the right answer? Did she receive poor or uninformed treatment from the medical community, or was her treatment ineffective? Was she limited in her ability to seek or receive help because of geography or finances or health insurance or some other reason? Is there any answer to this at all, or is there, as is true in some cases, no why to be had?
The one thing I don't ask is whether she was tough enough or good enough or strong enough.
Some people recover and some people don't.
I wish everyone did.
I hope that when I write here of triumph and survival and strength, you'll know what I mean. And what I don't.