Susan Petcher: You Are Enough

Susan Petcher: You Are Enough | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health -postpartumprogress.com

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental healthDear New Mom,

From the moment I became pregnant, it felt like the world was whispering messages of “not enough.” I didn’t drink enough water, get enough sleep, consume enough leafy greens. The stack of pregnancy and parenting books on my nightstand was a testament to how much I had left to learn, and the baby supply catalogs and formula samples that magically found their way into my mailbox proved that I didn’t yet have enough sheets, blankets, diapers, swaddlers, wipe warmers, or pacifiers, and that I had yet to find the perfect crib for the perfect nursery.

I think many pregnant and new moms experience this feeling of “not enough,” because the truth is that when we bring a baby into our lives, we embark on an experience and life career that none of us were trained for. All new parents muddle through to some degree, but for some of us, the Warrior Moms? That feeling becomes crippling.

What began as worry during my pregnancy quickly spiraled into obsessive anxiety. Suddenly, the burp rags weren’t straight enough and needed to be refolded, again. The counter at a local deli wasn’t clean enough, and so I could not eat there, lest I put my unborn baby in danger. I believed I wasn’t a “good enough” wife or mother­-to-­be, and that my husband would be happier with someone else. These thoughts consumed my days and nights, and I had no idea they weren’t normal.

What I want you to know, you amazing New Mom, is that you are enough. You are so very much “enough,” that I can’t even begin to put it into words. If you are finding yourself struggling to navigate this new role as a mom, you are not alone. Being a new mom is hard. There is no magic answer, no instructor’s manual for your baby, and no right way to prepare or care for your child. When we pile on the pictures of perfect motherhood that are plastered all over our social media streams and pop culture outlets, it’s easy to see why we feel so inadequate.

Over the last 7 years with Postpartum Progress, I’ve met a lot of moms, and so believe me when I say, you are just the right mom for your child and you are already everything that she needs.

And, if like me, you find yourself consumed by worry and fear ­ if it’s causing you to not recognize yourself, please know that it doesn’t have to be that way. You deserve to be well and to experience your pregnancy or adoption and postpartum period with a healthy amount of new mom worry, without dread or fear. There is hope and help. And we will be there beside you, every step of the way.

–Susan

The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.

Samantha Konikoff: You Are a Wonderful Mother

Samantha Konikoff: You Are a Wonderful Mother | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health -postpartumprogress.com

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental healthDear new mom,

It can be overwhelming to have a day where all the attention is on you. It seems to have been the exact opposite since your little one was born. I always felt like I could have been in a corner and no one would have noticed I was gone.

You may be having trouble seeing why you deserve any good attention. I know that’s how I felt for awhile after my son was born. Why should anyone celebrate me as a failure? I can’t seem to love my child the way I thought came naturally to everyone else.

My brain was playing mean mean tricks on me. Through the support of my family and professionals, I know that while I’m far from perfect, I am a good mom to my kids and getting lots of love from them is a joy which I can truly appreciate.

I have learned to love myself and understand that my son and I have had a different way of getting to know each other. We didn’t bond right away and that’s ok. We had to really listen to each other and I had to get to know him and his personality when he was a baby. Our bond is different than anything I have ever had. It really is true love, but we had to work at it.

You know what else? You will love yourself again too! You will look into your child’s eyes and see love and hope. It may be hard to see through the dark right now, but I promise the sun will shine again and it will get better. You will want to go to your crying baby and tell them you are there. You will want to get on the floor and play and interact with your baby.

You will want to tell your baby you love them and you will mean it!

You will see that you DO deserve a day for you and that you have done a lot for yourself and your baby. You are showing your child strength and that you count too.

So try to take some deep breaths and soak in the love and know you are a wonderful mother!

Love,

Sam

The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.

Alicia Glascock: New Mom, I See You

Alicia Glascock: New Mom, I See You | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health -postpartumprogress.com

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental health

Dear New Mom,

I see you. 

I see you hiding in your room trying to figure out if this was the best idea. Watching your newborn’s every move. Analyzing her every sound. I see you looking at your new, unknown body, pained in places you didn’t think would ever hurt. Crying when your baby cries because you just don’t know how to make her latch and you know you will just leave more frustrated and more sore.

I see you wondering if you are making the right choices. Confused by all the conflicting things people say: don’t hold them too much or they will get spoiled or hold them all the time because they grow up too fast and this time is to be treasured. I see you questioning if you should even be a mom. You think your baby deserves more. 

New Mom, I see you.

Your baby deserves you! You are the right mom for your precious baby, and you are making the right choices. You will eventually learn your way into motherhood. There will be ups and downs, as there is in everything, but you will come out of it so much stronger.

Your child knows and loves you. No one, and I mean no one, can replace you in her life. It’s ok not to enjoy every minute of motherhood. Being a mom is hard work. But that doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. 

This time is short lived. Soon you will no longer question the consistency of every diaper. You will be able to sleep again. Your body will belong to you. You will know what advice to follow and when to smile kindly and say thanks. You will know what your child needs. This takes time. But you will get there.

New Mom, I see YOU.

Love,

Alicia

The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.

Amy Brannan: The JOY of Motherhood

Amy Brannan: The JOY of Motherhood | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health -postpartumprogress.com

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental healthHi Mama,

You are an incredible mom. Whether you are a birth mom, adoptive mom, step mom, stay at home mom, working full-time mom, working part-time mom or a pregnant mom. You are amazing.

When I first was diagnosed with PPD/PPA nearly 8 years ago with my first child, my first thought was “Why can’t I be the mom that is all put together — like Sally? What is wrong with me?” And for months, that thought swirled in my head. I compared myself to every single mom I saw at church, in the grocery store, even the complete stranger walking down the street. I always assumed that they must have it all together and that I was just a good-for-nothing mom, who was so depressed and anxious that I must be a terrible mother to my daughter.

My favorite saying is “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” I vividly remember reading that quote one day and it was like a light went off in my brain. I was missing the most incredible days and years with my kids because I was comparing. I didn’t think that perhaps I was pretty cool and awesome. I didn’t give myself enough credit to realize and remember that most importantly I was the best and perfect mom for MY kids.

We add so many extra pressures to motherhood — clean house, have meals ready to go, have weekly play dates, toys always picked up, makeup and clothes on each day (absolutely no yoga pants allowed) — the list could go on and on.

All these extra pressures and the comparing of ourselves makes us lose focus on the most important blessing we have — our kids. That is what is most important. Loving them, caring for them, telling them they are incredible themselves, listening to them, and just “being” there for them.

As a mom who has suffered from Postpartum Depression with my first and Post Adoption Rage with my second, I will admit — it’s hard some days. I wish that perinatal mood disorders were not part of my past. I wish that I didn’t experience and live those years of pain and depression and feeling like a loser.

For any mom experiencing those feelings, I understand. But remember — you are INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, PERFECT, and the BEST mom.

Don’t compare yourself to the mom next door. Allow the JOY of your kids make you get up each day and do it again. Happy Mother’s Day to each of you — and may your Mother’s Day be filled with love and joy and happiness and the realization that you are simply the best.

The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.