An open letter to Miriam Carey. #forMiriam
Oh, how I wish I knew what you were experiencing. I wish I knew who failed you.
I feel like it might have been me.
No matter how hard I advocate. How hard I push. I see women like you whose lives end too soon. And it triggers me. It brings me back to the realization that it's not enough. It's never enough.
What were you going through?
Was it actually a postpartum mood disorder? Were you severely anxious? Did you realize what you were doing? Did you know your baby was in the car with you? Did you mean to risk your life? And your child's?
Where was your mind taking you?
We know it was your mind that led you to those gates. Those barricades. Your mind had you put that car into drive and go.
How far did you travel to get to where you were going?
What were you thinking along the way?
Were you thinking at all?
So many women. So many mommas. Their lives end too soon.
They appear okay. Seem to be getting help.
From people like me. I'm a therapist. I meed to be working. I need to be out there supporting women like you. I am not all the way out there yet, but I do my share as best I can.
I volunteer for organizations to support moms in need. Like Postpartum Education and Support, Moms Supporting Moms - a local organization that lets me show I'm there and flex my supportive muscles via email and phone. I write posts about postpartum mental health, posts about women like you, and I try to clarify. Try to explain that not every woman experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety wants to harm their child(ren).
I support moms at every point of motherhood in communities like Mama's Comfort Camp, created by Yael Saar to remind women everywhere that they are not ever alone.
I spread the word about communities like #PPDChat, created by Lauren Hale of My Postpartum Voice.
I talk about Postpartum International. I remind people that help is out there. I encourage people to get help, for themselves, their friends and loved ones.
I write posts about all of the amazing bloggers out there who are available to support, love and remind you you're not alone. These women who have been places that were similar to where you were and come back from the brink of it.
And still, it's not enough.
This is not about me. This should not be about me.
It's about you. And those like you.
But I want to shout anyway. I want to be HEARD. By those who failed you. Those who have failed so many others. I want to say COME ON, ALREADY!!!
How many women have to suffer before we figure this out? How many women have to leave their children motherless? Leave their families without a daughter, a sister, a wife? How many?
We don't know. We can't know.
And honestly, I have no idea if any of this even applies to you. Perhaps I'm being too stereotypical and jumping on the bandwagon that says you must have had some sort of postpartum mood disorder to do what you did. Maybe the small words from your mom or your boyfriend or your former boss or whomever said them led me and many down this path we shouldn't be taking, but I'm going to stand on the path, lace up my sneakers and RUN LIKE HELL. Shouting the whole way through.
Let's help these women. These moms. They need us. They need the support and love and people to trust. When they go for psychiatric care, therapy, help - we need to be there. Clinicians and physicians, OB-gyns, pediatricians, psychiatrists, I don't care who you are - what professional label you wear. If you know that a woman has just had a baby it's your responsibility to ask if she is okay. It's your JOB, your oath, your whatever the hell you want to call it - but do NOT let these women slip through the cracks. Please. I appeal to you, those out there, and beg of you - check in with your patients. Your clients. Make sure they are okay. And if they're not? Get them the help they need. If you are not capable of doing it, find them someone who can. Please. I implore you.
Do it for them. For yourself. For the children. The loved ones.
Do it for Miriam.
And Miriam ... I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that your life had to end the way it did. There are so many if only-s. If only you hadn't turned the car around. Led the police to take chase. If only you hadn't driven there to begin with. If only.
If only you knew there was someone out there like me. Waiting to open my arms to you and hug you. So many someones who know what you were going through. And who got through to the other side.