My greatest achievement in life is and will always be motherhood. Being a mother is the greatest gift I will ever receive and I am truly grateful to be surrounded by so much incredible love and happiness.
Today marks my daughter’s 8th birthday and four days ago my son Max turned 10. Ten years ago I was in a much different place than where I am today. What normally should be an incredibly joyous time in life ended up being one of the darkest moments ever. I honestly was not sure if I would make it.
It is a long and personal story that someday perhaps I’ll fully have the courage to share. It still astounds me that as such an advocate for so many causes that I still cannot find the ability to use my voice to speak about a cause that impacted me so personally and significantly.
At the time, I felt completely utterly alone in the world. Suffering in silence. Darkness. Sleepless nights. Panic attacks. Lack of desire to eat, sleep or hold my newborn son. Each and every day after the birth of my child I could hardly get myself out of the dark box that was suffocating my mind, my heart, and my soul. It was ruining my life.
I didn’t know exactly what it was. I had thoughts and ideas about it but honestly could hardly even function. I just wanted to run away and flee. I wanted to close my eyes forever to escape the fear, the desperation and the pain I felt. I didn’t know how in the world I would make it or survive this dreadful hell I was living. Until we figured it out. It was postpartum depression and it was serious.
I will never forget the agony, despair, fear and anguish that I felt each and every breathing moment of the day. The nights were worse as I laid awake in fear. I wondered how I would ever get out of this scary dark place. How would I ever care for my newborn son? How would I make it through?
Somehow through a tremendous amount of love, support and help three months after I was at the bottom of my life, I broke through. It was gone. I will never ever forget how it felt to be in such a horrifying emotional and mental place of mind. Nor will I forget my husband or family who sacrificed so much to help pull me through.
Two years and four days after the birth of my son, I went on to have my beautiful daughter Sophia. Was I scared I’d get it again? Yes! But this time I understood the signs and knew that I could get help. Sadly, many women suffer alone in silence and some end up losing their lives. Postpartum depression is not something people should ignore and go left untreated. Nor is it something a woman should be embarrassed or ashamed of having.
Much more awareness needs to exist to help new mothers understand the signs of PPD and get help if they need it. No one should have to ever suffer alone.
Ten years later I look back at these painful memories that I so want to forget. Yet somehow I realize that without the darkness, perhaps I would have never fully seen the light.
My greatest achievement is and will always be motherhood. For being a mother and raising my children to become productive, global, caring, loving citizens of the world is the one of the greatest gifts I can give.
According to the most recent study directed by the CDC in 2008, approximately 11% of women per annual live births suffer from varying degrees of PPD. Per “Postpartum Progress”, a leading blog on PPD which demonstrates extensive knowledge on the subject, “this would mean that each year approximately 950,000 women are suffering from postpartum depression”. I believe that these numbers are actually on the low side since many cases of PPD are not reported.
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge, Achievement. To view more entries click here.