If you are in any way involved in the blogging world, you have probably read, or at least heard about the angry, hate filled rant that a former mommy blogger posted last week. I wont share her name, her blog name, or a link to the post, but she basically called out all female bloggers, who have children, as liars who are wasting our time, writing our sh**ty blogs that nobody reads, and we’re all sell-outs, and blah blah blah. I had no plans to respond to her post (and this really isn’t a response to her) until I spent the past few days with some amazing Warrior Moms and thought….my blog isn’t worthless at all… My blog is what brought me here. My blog saved my marriage. My blog saved my life.
I’ll explain what I mean by that in just a second, but first I want to write a bit about my sh**ty mommy blog…
Because of my sh**ty mommy blog:
- I have met some amazing writers, influencers, creatives and friends.
- I have been able to experience new places, and take my family on adventures that we’d otherwise never get to go on.
- I have been able to make donations of products to families and charities in need.
- I have helped moms who felt like they were failing because they were unable to breastfeed.
- I have helped moms who also had children who were pulling their hair out.
- I have been able to provide for my family, financially, and contribute to our household while being home with my daughter.
- I have helped moms who were experiencing postpartum depression, and were grateful to read my story and learn they were not alone.
- I have met some incredible Warrior Moms who helped save my marriage and my life.
My blog has been an incredibly positive thing in my life, and has done more than what I listed above, but those are the things that have stood out the most to me. That last one, though…that’s what this post is all about.
In 2014, someone asked our local blogger group if we could help promote an event that she’d heard about. The event was called Climb Out of the Darkness, and they were hoping that some local bloggers would write about it, in order to raise some awareness of the event. It was to benefit Postpartum Progress, a non-profit that raises awareness, fights stigma and provides peer support and programming to women with maternal mental illness. I said I’d be happy to, since I had experienced Postpartum depression and anxiety, myself. I didn’t realize when I said “Yes” that I was about to embark on a journey that would change my life in so many ways.
In the two years that I suffered, and I mean SUFFERED, with Postpartum Anxiety, Depression (And now have come to learn PPOCD and PPPTSD) Really didn’t tell anyone. I mean, I talked a bit about not feeling like myself, feeling anxious, stressed, down…I brought it up in new moms group, where I felt totally crazy because it seemed like all the other new moms were totally LOVING every second of this motherhood thing, and their biggest concern was that they might need to supplement with poison…er…I mean formula (They’d talk about this, and how awful it would be, while I sat there mixing a bottle. Talk about feeling like a complete failure!) What was wrong with me?
I was screened by a visiting nurse, who came to my home multiple times, but I answered all her questions, and passed “Do you ever have thoughts of harming yourself?” No. “Have you ever had thoughts of harming your child.” No. I didn’t. Never. She never asked “Have you ever had thoughts of taking your child and running away?” or “Do you sit home all day listening to the police scanner because you are 100% certain that your husband is out there, dying?” She didn’t ask “Do you have flashbacks about your delivery? Nightmares?” She’d come, and I’d put on a smile, and I’d act like everything was ok. And then when she’d leave, I’d watch her car drive out of sight, then I’d collapse on the floor from the exhaustion of acting, and the panic that she was calling CPS to have them take my baby from me because she knew I was acting, she knew I was a terrible mother.
I’d call the pediatrician or the hospital Warm Line and leave sobbing, incoherent messages about Avery’s reflux, or a rash, or not sleeping…I’d sob in the pediatrician’s office. Every. Time. Yet nobody said “Hey….how are YOU doing, mom? Are YOU ok?”
At a later group, there was talk about the Day Hospital at our hospital. I saw a glimmer of hope. “A place where I could go for therapy and treatment, and I could bring my baby?” it sounded like a godsend. But then came the expert advice of “No no. You don’t want to go there, They over medicate, it’s not the right place for you…” Oh… Goodbye, hope.
And my poor husband. I put him through absolute hell.
I’d sit home, knowing that he wouldn’t come home. I knew he would die at work, or in an accident. Every day, I waited for the call or knock on the door “We’re so sorry ma’am…” But then, he WOULD come home, and instead of being so happy, I would RAGE. How dare he put me through that all day. How dare he let me think he was dead or dying, and then waltz through the door as if nothing had happened. HOW DARE HE! But he didn’t even know. I didn’t tell him what I was feeling. He didn’t know. I’d collapse to the ground, hysterical. Screaming at him about how the baby was crying all day–but shot daggers at him if he even DARED to offer to hold her. “The dog was barking all day!!!! YOUR STUPID DOG!!!!” because it was somehow his fault that the dog barked at the mail man, the neighbor, the squirrel in the yard… Then he’d say “Let me take her for a walk, so it’s quiet and you don’t have to deal with it…” And he’d go. HE’D LEAVE ME! My blood would boil. How could he leave me, again? As if he knew what him being out of the house, out of my sight, was doing to me. He’d leave, and I’d sit listening for a crash, or sirens, because he’d been hit by a car or attacked. I put him through hell, and he didn’t know why. I never told him. He’d ask and I’d say “I don’t know, I don’t know why I’m angry!” He’d ask me how he could help, and I’d tell him “I don’t know! There isn’t anything you can do” and so it just continued. Me depressed, anxious, raging….him desperately wanting to help but not knowing how.
I felt alone. He felt alone.
I felt alone, and I wasn’t improving like I told myself I would. Like I’d been told I would. “This only lasts a few weeks, maybe a couple months. You’ll feel better soon” I was told. But I didn’t. I didn’t feel better. And every day I thought about running. Packing a bag, taking Avery, and running away. I thought about leaving my life, leaving my husband. A man who never did anything but try to help me, a man who never gave up on me. But depression is a monster that eats you from the inside out. It takes over your mind, and pushes you to act in ways you’d never act. Depression lies. And when you combine it with anxiety, OCD and PTSD you become desperate. I needed to escape and I thought he’d be better off without me. He’d be happy again. I was not the woman he married, and he surely had not signed up for this.
But I didn’t. I didn’t leave. I stayed, and we struggled. All of us. We all struggled because of me. Because of my fear of reaching out for help. Because when I tried to reach out I was given horrible advice. Because I took that horrible advice. Because of the lies my illness was feeding me.
And then I was asked to write about Climb Out of the Darkness. And I learned about Postpartum Progress. And I saw a light. I found the Warrior Moms, lead by Katherine Stone. I found people who had gone through similar things. I found moms who were sharing their stories. Moms who had gotten better, and those who were still struggling, but improving. And I started talking to these women, and learning from them. I wrote about and joined the climb. And I shared my story. I shared what I had been going though for years and I started to feel better. And I’ve been able to use my blog as a platform to help other moms who feel alone, even going to Washington DC to tell lawmakers how important it is that we screen, diagnose, and help all of the moms who are suffering with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. And I found resources that helped me talk to my husband, helped me open up to him about what I was feeling and apologize for what I had put him through. And I didn’t feel so alone, I wasn’t alone, we were not alone…
And one day I woke up happy.
I woke up happy for the first time in years.
Without my blog, I am not sure I ever would have found Postpartum Progress. My healing, and my family’s healing, was a direct result of my blog and the community I found with the Warrior Moms.
After years of pain, anguish, suffering, and torture. I felt whole again. I felt like a good mom, and a good wife. We were joyful. And while it has been a long road, we survived. All of us.
My marriage survived, my family survived, and I survived. And more than that, we thrived.
All because of my sh**ty mommy blog.