Hey Mamas! This week has been so long and filled with so much uncertainty, I want to take a moment to reach out to any of you moms currently suffering with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. You have all been heavy on my mind and my heart this week and I want to show my support to you.
I can’t imagine trying to calm my anxious mind down, while everyone around me is in chaos. I can’t imagine having the same people who always tell me I’m overreacting, to now be just as scared as me. I can’t imagine being deathly afraid of being alone with my kids, now given no choice but to do so 24/7. I can’t imagine struggling so much internally during a time where it seems like the world is crumbling around me. I simply can’t imagine.
I’m sorry you all are going through this. I’m sorry that on top of motherhood not being what you expected, you’re now having the rug that your entire life sat on being pulled out from under you. I’m sorry that the isolation you’ve felt in motherhood has been compounded by mandatory isolation no one could have seen coming. I’m sorry that all of the things and activities you may have planned to keep yourself busy now need to be adjusted to an even “newer” normal.
With all of this said, mamas, with all of the fear and doubt and uncertainty and sorrow going on in the world right now, I also have hope for you. I hope that you know there are still so many people out there who want to support you. I hope that you know there are online resources, groups and clubs that you can still find strength from, while keeping a social distance. I hope that you realize that in the same way that this virus will pass, so will your anxiety and depression. I hope that in some small way, you are able to enjoy this extra time with your families.
I know it feels isolating. I know that it’s scary and sudden. I know your anxiety is soaring right now and depression is probably trying to pull you under. It is at a time like this that I would encourage you to do a few things:
- Reach out. Reach out online, on video, on the phone. Reach out to friends and family, keep yourself social, even with the mandatory distance.
- Practice self care. Take care of you. Take your medications. Call your therapist (or find one, they can help you over the phone). Join an online support group. Skype with your girlfriends. Read an uplifting book. Develop a gratitude journal. If I can say one thing about us needing to social distance right now, it is that we are so lucky it is happening during a time where technology can keep us so connected. At first it takes some adjusting, but with a little effort, connecting through technology can help us feel less alone.
- Close out the negative. Yes, it is important to know what is going on in your state or country, but after you know the essentials, turn it off. Your mind does a good enough job at working itself up, don’t feed your anxiety with too much information and undo worry.
- Focus on what you can do, not what others are doing. Who can you control? Mostly just yourself, and by extension perhaps your immediate family. Beyond that, you have no say. I know this can be frustrating, but focusing on what others are doing wrong instead of just focusing on yourself and your family is energy you do not have to give right now.
- Be kind. Treat others how you would want to be treated. Have compassion for those who are working their around the clock off to help get us supplies and medical care right now. Remember that one smile can turn someone else’s day completely around.
I want every mom out there right now who is struggling with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders to know that you are my hero. I’m proud of you. I’m in awe of you. Your family is lucky to have you. Right now you are digging down and finding an unimaginable amount of strength to face each day. You are putting your fears aside and comforting your children. You are handling more stress than the average person could even comprehend. You are amazing.
I know things seem scary and uncertain, but keep going. Know that this is just a storm, it will pass, we will all rise again. Please be kind to yourselves, you deserve it. Reach out to people, find creative ways to get the support that you need. And above all, remember that you are loved, valuable and irreplaceable. I love you all.