Has anyone ever asked you how you were doing, and you gave them the answer that they wanted to hear.
“I’m doing okay.”
And then the conversation changes direction and you never get to circle back to how you are actually feeling. You never get to tell them how much you are struggling to get through each and every moment of the day.
Sometimes we are just not okay. And saying that out loud is almost impossible.
We are even more reluctant to admit that we aren’t okay when these feelings rise up during pregnancy and after we have our baby.
Why? Because pregnancy is supposed to make us “glow”! Our society sees motherhood as a new and exciting beginning where a mother is creating life and is happy doing so.
Joy-filled. Delighted. Blissful.
But what about when it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be? What about when it’s really hard?
What about when we are so emotional and crying constantly, so much that we can’t even take care of ourselves or the baby? What about when we keep checking all through the night to see if the baby is still breathing?
Motherhood isn’t enjoyable when we are so easily angered that even our family tiptoes around us, afraid that we might just rage out at any moment.
And what about those terrible, awful thoughts that we have about something dangerous happening to our babies? Those intrusive thoughts that won’t go away and keep us from being able to revel in the joys of motherhood.
All of these symptoms of maternal mental illnesses can absolutely scare any new mother.
An estimated 1 in 5 women experiences a maternal mental illness.
With those statistics, there is an obvious stigma that surrounds maternal mental illness. Reaching out for help is so hard.
After my first son was born, I was on a rollercoaster of emotions. One day I was rocking motherhood, breezing through those diaper changes and feedings like superwoman.
The next moment, I was lost. I was lonely. I was grieving the loss of my life before Eli was born. I was so deeply depressed that even the thought of making dinner was unbearable. I just couldn’t do it.
Then it hit me like a brick wall. One day, I was NOT okay. I was defeated.
I had pushed those gloomy emotions away for so long that they finally bubbled up and took over.
I picked up my phone and called Postpartum Support Charleston. I explained everything – the sadness and loneliness. The inability to do life.
And Postpartum Support Charleston saved my life.
Postpartum Support Charleston
This nonprofit organization has been helping mothers like me get the help they so desperately deserve for over 20 years. In honor of Ruth Rhoden Craven, a local Mt. Pleasant mother who lost the battle with postpartum depression so many years ago, this beautiful organization was founded to help educate the public and provide the support that mothers with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders need.
Today, Postpartum Support Charleston offers a variety of peer support options for mothers who are looking for someone to lean on.
They have a program that pairs Mom Mentors (volunteers) with new mothers to offer one-on-one peer support, providing these mothers with the reassurance that someone truly cares about and understands what they are going through.
Their private Facebook group, Postpartum Support Charleston Support Group, offers a virtual space for mothers to connect with one another and share experiences.
For any mother who is struggling and needs extra support, they offer Peer-led Support Groups, both virtual and in-person.
Let me mention that ALL of these support options are FREE. No cost. All you have to do is email [email protected] or text/call (843) 410-3585 to be put in touch with someone who can offer support.
If you are a mom who has been there and wants to reach down and help pull a fellow mother back up, please email us for volunteer information.
It’s hard to admit that we aren’t okay. But the women at Postpartum Support Charleston understand. They get it.
They would want you to know that it’s okay to ask for help.
Don’t forget to check out the other non-profits we’ve featured!
Charleston Moms CARE: Spotlight on Amor Healing Kitchen
Charleston Moms CARE: Spotlight on My Sister’s House
Charleston Moms CARE: Spotlight on The Family Collective
Charleston Moms CARE: Spotlight on Lowcountry Blessing Box Project