by Angie Gray
“Like a wildflower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.” – Nikki Rowe
The wildflowers are blooming outside of The Mothers Space. These strong and resilient flowers came back this Spring even when the magnolias, forsythia, cherry blossoms and pear trees could not persevere. The weather this past winter was nothing short of bewildering. We had 75 degree days in February, followed by ice storms in mid March…only to go back up to 80 degrees a week later. It was so unpredictable that even the best laid plans went straight out the window. Dress in layers…be ready for anything. “I will not be defined by your expectations of me.” This was what Mother Nature, The Mother of all Mothers, seemed to be telling us.
Maternal Mental Health disorders (Postpartum depression/anxiety/psychosis, D-MER, PTSD) impact roughly 15 – 20% of women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. That is 1 in 7 families who have suffered or are suffering right now. Women of every race, age, income level and culture can develop perinatal mood disorders. However, despite the great number of women going through this, many are still struggling alone and in silence. If you think you don’t know someone who has had PPD or another related issue, it’s much more likely you just weren’t aware of it. A new mom might have a difficult time admitting to others, and even to herself, that she is in need of help. There’s a deep rooted expectation that motherhood brings on a natural glow and if that feeling does not surface, or is mixed with negativity or discomfort, it can bring on thoughts of fear, blame and failure.
The brave women in these photographs are survivors of one of these disorders. They share with you the varied emotions they felt during their dark times. Each of them is different. Each of them took their own path and fought their way through to the light. These mothers, like Mother Nature, refused to let others define them by the idea of what a “good mom” should be. Now, many are on the other side, they want to help end the stigma attached to this issue and show women they are not alone.
On June 24th, The Mothers Space and The Birth Center, Holistic Women’s Health Care LLC will be hosting the yearly Climb Out of the Darkness Walk. This walk is the world’s largest event raising awareness for Maternal Mental Health. If we’re lucky, the wildflowers outside will still be blooming. But if not, the fields will be full of women who, just like those wildflowers, grew strong and brave and beautiful… even when they weren’t sure they could.
Climb Out of the Darkness is organized by Postpartum Support International. If you or someone you know is suffering, reach out for help. You can find resources at Postpartum Support International, or locally at The Center for Women’s Emotional Wellness.