According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If we met in the middle and just called it 15%, out of the four million live births in the US each year, approximately 600,000 women get postpartum depression (or other forms of postpartum mental illness) each year in the United States alone. And that’s not even factoring in the women who miscarry or have stillborn babies. That raises the number to nearly 1 million. That is scary as hell!
There are still many people in the US, not to mention around the world, that don’t think PPD is a “real thing”. But, I’m here to tell you it’s real alright, and it deserves just as much attention and care as any other mental illness.
As most of you know, the first year of our son’s life was very difficult, in fact, I have talked many times how my wife and I almost got divorced at several points during that year. Neither one of us understood what was really happening, and figured we were just stressed from having a difficult baby. We didn’t see that we were both living with depression, my wife with PPD, and me with my own life-long battle. Luckily, we prevailed, got help, and were better prepared for when we had out second child. But, not everyone is so lucky.
Not every woman gets the help she needs when it comes to PPD. Many women don’t even know where to look for help. Some don’t even know they’re living with PPD, or have a support system around them to help.
While limited, there are organizations that focus on raising awareness for women and PPD. One such organization (Postpartum Progress) was the cornerstone for helping women; bringing them together to support one another, and raising awareness.
I say “was” because unfortunately the organization abruptly closed in February of 2017, leaving thousands of women out in the cold, scared, worried, and once again looking for help. I’m not going to get into the details of why the organization closed, because that’s not the point of this story, nor is it the “take away”.
What is the point or take away, is while the organization, and the trust these women had in it, may have crumbled, the women did not. To sound a bit cheesy, much like a phoenix, out of the ashes of recent events, these women instantly ascended and said, “You will NOT hold us down.”
Watching all that has gone on with this unfortunate event, I have been left in awe of how amazing these women are. I mean, I already felt that way to begin with, but seeing the amount of love and support these women have for one another, some who have never even met each other, and the amount of support they are all offering one another at the this time of uncertainty, it blows me away and feels like my heart is going to burst.
I have always told people how inspired and proud I am of my wife for the journey she traveled with PPD, and how are hard she worked, but now I can say that about thousands of other women, all of whom I have never met or even spoken to. These women are what I think heroes look like.
You may scoff at that last sentence, but to me, it will always ring true. I dare you to show me any other definition of strength and determination that is greater than a person, who by misguided societal standards, are viewed and labeled as the weaker option; constantly told to cheer up and smile, stand up and openly admit they’re scared and feel lost, only to combat that very thing and come out the other side stronger.
You know what I call that…a Warrior! And I would gladly stand and fight side by side with these ladies any day of the week, because they are true warriors, and my heroes.
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