Mamas Are Killing Themselves: We Cannot Continue To Ignore It
December 29, 2016
I wonder what photo they would use? Probably one I hate. Like that one where I’ve got that big goofy grin and you can see my baby fat and double chin. That’s the one they would grab, I’m sure. They would use that dopey face and vast dimples to paint me as a loving, caring, happy mother. They would tell of how none of the warning signs were there, and they would use the photo with a shirt I made myself to drive home the shock of how a mother who appeared so joyful, could have been filled with so much darkness.
This is the photo I imagined they would use— you know, if I finally really did snap. If the weight of my world came crashing down on me and I thought my only option was to crumble beneath it.
It’s a morbid idea, but it’s one that I frequently found creeping into my late night thoughts when I was in the thick of postpartum depression. I knew I could never actually harm myself or my children, I knew that. But I also knew that I really didn’t know much of anything. I knew that pain has a way of clouding even the soundest of mind. And I knew that all it would take was one moment for me to turn those thoughts into actions.
I remember driving in the carpool lane. Driving with eyes so heavy, it felt like the only way I had been able to keep them open was because they were sewn that way. As I gazed out at the road ahead, I wondered what would happen if I veered to the left. Would the crash kill us all? Would it spare them and take me instead? Could I somehow execute it so precisely that it only impacted me, and spared those two small frames in the back? Again, I knew I would never do it. Still, my mind wondered what would happen if I did.
Who even allows their minds to wander somewhere like that? What in the hell is wrong with me?
There is so much fear that accompanies a thought like that one. It’s enough to make you lose your mind all on its own. It’s enough to make you question your sanity, and your heart, and your self-worth.
The minute you believe— truly believe, that you don’t deserve to be a mother, is the minute you find yourself in real danger. Because if motherhood defines you like society says it does, and you don’t deserve it, then why are you even here? I fortunately never found myself at this point. The darkest thoughts in the corners of my mind were ones that I quickly turned away. But we aren’t all so lucky.
I think we naturally lean towards hating the mother for taking the life of her innocent child, and that hate clouds our ability to see the entire picture. The picture here, if you can push the anger aside, is such a sad one all around. It’s a scene of a woman— a mother, who crumbled underneath the weight of her world. Though outwardly she seemed so content and happy, she was filled with the thoughts of the dark. Her heart was broken down by the anxiety and the fear and the feeling of loneliness. She is not the first woman this has happened to— and crushingly, she will not be the last.
And my heart, well it can’t help but wonder if things would have turned out differently if she had felt the support and love and strength from others that she so desperately needed.
Too often we allow ourselves to take things at face value. Too often we double tap and move on, without saying a single word of love or encouragement. We assume that because someone says they are happy, that they are. That because they have 11,000 followers or 100 likes that they are doing great. And we reserve our support only for those who outwardly ask for it.
But what if I told you that even the most put together of us is in desperate need of words of affirmation. Of a helping hand. Of encouragement? What if I told you that you could literally save someone’s life by taking the time to notice them— by taking the time to do a little more than simply “like” them.
My friend Amanda saved my life, and she had absolutely no idea. What she did know, was that she saw a bracelet that made her think of me, and so she sent it. Me— the blogger who was always smiling. Candid and honest about her struggles. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize how far gone I was until that bracelet came in the mail. It was a simple gesture— but it transformed my heart. Without even fully meaning to, my friend told me that day that she saw me. She told me that I mattered. And she gave me the strength to go on.
That’s when I knew that I needed to recreate this feeling for other moms. I needed to come up with a way for moms and husbands and parents and friends to encourage the hearts of moms— I needed to provide them with something put together for the sole purpose of telling a mother that she is seen and she matters. And so, the Mama Love Collective Box was born.
These boxes are my passion because I know that so many mama’s out there are silently suffering in the trenches and I know that all it takes is a slight veer to the left to crumble them. But I also know that a slight veer to the right can save their lives, and that is where you come in. We are the Mama Love Collective, because I need your help. I need you all, collectively, to help veer mamas to the right— away from that wall.
The mama who makes it known that she’s struggling right now, and especially the one who doesn’t. The mama who lives on caffeine and wine, and the one who wakes up every morning to exercise and always seems so motivated. The mama who never does her hair and lives in yoga pants, and the mama who looks like she’s on her way to an interview every time she leaves the house. The organized, the cluttered, the introverted, and the outgoing. Every single mama— every single one, needs to feel encouraged. Every single one needs to be told that she is seen— that she matters.
I know that the New Year is right around the corner, and we’re all gearing up to revamp ourselves and our lives. But I wonder if we can also resolve to revamp the way we love others. So here’s my challenge to you.
Don’t wait to act. Don’t say, “I totally want to send a box to my friend, but I’ll do it next month.” Don’t say, “I’ll like this Instagram post so-and-so did and then comment on it later if I have time.”
Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on the chance to love on a mama. Because those 2-5 minutes that it will take you to act in the moment, could literally save a life. And if you take the time to shower other mama’s with love, they will return the favor. And you never know when you too, will need your heart saved. Mothers are killing themselves, friends. We cannot continue to ignore it.
So pick a mama that you know, right now, and send her some encouragement. That could be as simple as commenting on her social media with some words of affirmation. Or send her a Mama Love Collective box, either anonymously or with a small note. (We ship direct so that you don’t have to). You can view the boxes here: Mama Love Collective Box
We were not meant to do this journey alone. Let’s be there for one another, collectively. Let’s show love and support in a world that is constantly trying to tear one another down. Together, we can change the world and pull mama’s out of the trenches, one by one.