When you stand and share your story, it will heal you and somebody else.
Surely, becoming a mother for the first time shouldn’t be pushing women to the edge.
We should able to handle it, right? Right?
New mothers are faced with an explosion of change. They’re feeding a baby, alone much more often, balancing personal relationships, and might be feeling a loss of identity. There’s overwhelming new responsibility. Some have traumatic births and some have babies with serious health issues. Some are single, some are refugees, some are without any family support. Many women have struggled with infertility and loss, some have sadly had stillbirths, and some have given their babies up for adoption. It’s no wonder so many new mothers suffer from varying degrees of anxiety and depression, like Postpartum Progress describes here.
Some feel comfortable talking about their struggles and eventually get the help they need.
However, a large number of new moms don’t say a word. Most mothers haven’t told anyone their grittiest truths, even after they’ve sought help.
That is where Moms Anonymous will come in, as a judgement-free outlet.
Last November, the heartbreaking death of Florence Leung shocked everyone in Canada. She was a new, thirty-two year old mother from New Westminster, BC, that was overwhelmed with breastfeeding and suffering from postpartum depression. She died by suicide. (See Facebook group Remembering Mother Florence Leung)
Just recently, Florence’s husband Kim Chen urged all new mothers to talk about their low feelings, no matter how difficult. His full post was captured and shared in this Global News article published on January 17, 2017. He said:
For all the new moms experiencing low mood or anxiety, please seek help and talk about your feelings. You are not alone. You are not a bad mother. Don’t ever feel bad or guilty for not being able to exclusively breastfeed.
An article recently posted from the blog Mothering outlined that having support (help) should be a must. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity to ensure success for mother and baby (or babies!). Planning for Postpartum: Help is Not a Luxury was posted January 9, 2017. Here’s the quote that hit me:
Surely this is just how it is. You struggle on, alone. Your triumphs are yours alone. Your grief and anger is yours alone. If you felt you could share, no one could understand anyway. Motherhood is a box. […]
This is not how reproduction or motherhood was intended to be experienced. We were not meant to have children in insular families. The idea that two adults strike out on their own, away from all their support, and grow a family in isolation is new to human society.
On January 20, the Edmonton Journal published an article by Julia Lipscombe: Depression: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In it, Julia confesses that she was awake at 4 a.m. obsessing over what she’d do with her newborn (her fourth child) if there was a house fire. Was it just her “every-day anxiety compounded by sleep deprivation” or was it more? She writes that many new mothers don’t know they are suffering from PPD or don’t seek help at all.
Sarah Beckel from Family First Doulas (Saskatchewan) believes Canada needs to work harder to prioritize maternal mental health. I loved her blog post asking Bell to include Postpartum Depression in a bigger way into #bellletstalk day. (Today!)
So, if we aren’t coping well, why don’t we just talk to someone?
For moms from all walks of life, I believe it’s fear of judgement and of sharing our true story.
There’s a fear of being rejected or not being taken seriously by the people you talk to. No one wants to go into their doctor’s office in tears or feel embarrassed. Plus, no one wants to be that mom that dumps on her friends — and be perceived as negative, complaining, or worse. If a new mother is a doctor, lawyer, councillor — they don’t want to risk their professional reputation or their business. No one wants to put their position of authority on the line. No one wants to be looked down upon.
That means that our stories, our truths, stay inside. It’s time to own our stories and move forward together.
I am asking you to share your truth through Moms Anonymous.
Moms Anonymous will be a collection of short stories (or poems, letters, essays, etc.) written by mothers and posted on this blog — but no one will know it’s you — I’ll use a pseudonym. I want the unedited version. The one you’re afraid to tell, but need to. Something you’ve never, ever shared. Once we’ve mutually decided to publish it, I’ll have an illustration or picture chosen to compliment it.
As Brene Brown said:
The dark does not destroy the light, it defines it.
My only request is that you keep it under 800 words, but that’s flexible. Your story might not get published immediately, but I will do my best to publish what I receive.
E-mail yours to firstname.lastname@example.org with Moms Anonymous in the subject line.
Moms Anonymous will be a movement in support of new mothers in Edmonton, in Alberta and in Canada — that are brave enough to share their most haunting truths. We will rewrite our narrative.
To support Moms Anonymous through social media, you can post a quote, a photo of you in your early days of motherhood, or share what it really felt like for you. Use the hashtags #momsanon and #momsanonymous so I can follow along, like, repost and retweet.
Owning our stories is standing in our truth. It’s transformative in our lives and also critical in our community lives.