Mom Life,Real Talk

Mamas Are Killing Themselves: We Cannot Continue To Ignore It

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.
At the risk of changing your opinion of me forever and losing your support, I had to tell you this. I had to, because last night I read another report of a mother taking her own life, along with her child’s— and it crushed my soul.
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 wait.

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.

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    December 30, 2016 at 2:15 am

    What an amazing mission! You are so right that depression doesn’t look like what someone might expect. It’s so important to tell people you see them and they matter to you. Great post!

    • Reply
      Andi
      December 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you, Emily! It is my hearts mission to provide moms with the encouragement they need and your support means the world.

  • Reply
    Breyona Sharpnack
    December 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Very good post! I love that you mentioned that just because someone has a ton of followers and likes it doesn’t neccesarily mean they are doing great and have it all together. I used to look at those numbers and let it define how I would comment especially being a new blogger and trying to establish a nice following. I think we all can use a little encouragement and kind words daily because you never know who could use it the most.

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:21 am

      Yes, Breyona— me too! But now I try my hardest not to let the numbers fool me or my heart. It’s so important that support all moms

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 30, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    This is a very brave post. Thank you for writing it and thank you for sharing. The most important thing to know is that you’re never alone.

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Amy. That comfort of knowing you’re not alone is so vital, I totally agree.

  • Reply
    All Babied Up
    December 30, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Moms are absolutely the hardest workers in the world. Thanks for this!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:22 am

      I couldn’t agree more! It’s the toughest job, but also the most rewarding.

  • Reply
    Gloryanna
    December 30, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I love this, Andi! I love that you’re doing this and I love the idea of taking our eyes off of ourselves and all of our own “self improvements.” Keep doing what you’re doing, Mama!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:24 am

      You are so sweet, Gloryanna— thank you so much for all of your continued support!

  • Reply
    jehava
    December 30, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s so important to lift up and encourage each other as mamas!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:24 am

      Yes, 100%! We are better together

  • Reply
    Meg | The Many Little Joys
    December 30, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    We all need support. Every day. I love that you are striving to create a community of moms who can lean on each other through the good and the bad!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:25 am

      Yes, Meg— I totally agree. Every single day. The good, the bad, the “I don’t know if I’m going to make it” days. All of them. That support is vital!

  • Reply
    Angela Kim
    December 30, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Andi, this is such a lovely idea! I can think of a mama right now who can appreciate this box. What a sweet and life changing gesture from one mom to another. Your post hit me deeply and I felt a deep stirring in my soul. Yes, that’s exactly how I felt! I can totally relate to your words and even though the PPD was years ago, it still feels like just yesterday in some ways. I’m so glad I found another PPD warrior like myself. So glad we connected!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:27 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Angela. I love that you referred to us as PPD warriors— yes! What a journey. And one that is so important for us to share and use to encourage other mamas. Thank you for using your voice to be a light to others.

  • Reply
    Paige Rodriguez
    December 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Goodness, this brought me to tears. You’re so right that depression has so many faces to it. I even wrote a post a while back stating that the changes after birth and emotions that came with it as I remembered who I was before “mommy” wasn’t depression. Fast forward 2 years later and I’m not so sure. It didn’t happen right away like a lot of mothers, but crept in slowly without my noticing, until I just didn’t recognize myself anymore. I’m slowly pulling myself out now, and you’re right– it goes so far and few between people who take the time to truly connect. I love what you’re doing here and I support this mission because it hits so close to home. Can’t wait to read more from you, mama! I appreciate your rawness and transparency so much. Xo

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:31 am

      Oh, Paige— thank you so much for your candid comment. I genuinely appreciate your openness on your own personal experience with this topic. PPD can be a silent robber of identity, calm, and joy. She definitely doesn’t always come in like a storm, but rather sometimes tiptoes in like a mother checking on their sleeping baby. I’m so glad to hear that you are finding your way out of the trenches and rediscovering what it means to be Paige, not just mommy Xoxo

  • Reply
    Sarah Blackston
    December 30, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    This is beautiful. I have definitely been where you are. It’s painful and I haven’t always had someone to pull me back from that darkness. Sometimes I had to be my own hero, but it would’ve been much better if I had had a mommy friend instead. These boxes would put a smile on any mommy’s face!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

      Sarah, I’m so sorry to hear that you have found yourself alone in the trenches with no one to help pull you out. Know that if you ever need a friend, I am available at all hell hours of the night (read: my kids don’t sleep). Xoxo

  • Reply
    Calli
    December 31, 2016 at 3:13 am

    Thank you for writing this post! You have inspired me. <3

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:19 am

      That means so much, Calli— I’m so glad you connected with it!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    December 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    WHat a great idea! I love sending my friends gift when I know they are going through a tough time, it happens to all of us!

    • Reply
      Andi
      January 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

      Absolutely! We all have our trials and I think that receiving a surprise in the mail can really be the ultimate pick me up

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