Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Still A Warrior

You may be bored with me, dear readers. You may have had enough.

And if that's the case, that's okay. I can take it.

If you are a part of my community of women, mothers, who wakes up today confused, hurt, angry, struggling? I am with you.

I am trying very hard to remain a voice of reason. I am trying so hard to see both sides.

I know what I am saying and have said publicly.

I do.

I say, repeatedly, that I stand with women of color. And I do.

And I know that to some of you it doesn't make sense.

How? How was this about women of color?

What happened?

How did she suddenly become the object of everyone's anger and hatred?

And I know. I see you.

I know who you saw out there - people you've never heard of or seen before - I saw them, too.

But I also know the friends and people I care about and trust tremendously who were hurting long before the rest of us had a clue about what was happening.

If you read my post yesterday you know my thoughts and my heart on the importance of seeing color.

You know how when your friends of color speak it's important to listen to and believe them.

And *I* know that as much as you DO. As much as you are. You can still be hurting.

You can still feel hurt in many ways. You can still feel torn apart.

You can still feel like you want to do the work and you don't know where to turn and who to trust.

And that's okay.

You can still feel that what you witnessed was not something you would have done.

Not the way you would have handled things.

And yet - - you can do that and remind yourself that you were not the wronged party here. You, like me, in your whiteness, did not feel the same hurt. The same pain.

And yet - - you, like me, in your whiteness, may have felt your own.

You may have been the person who was not acknowledged.

You may have been the person who had their mental health put at risk by being swept under the rug.

You may have been the person who suddenly realized that your idol had fallen.

I know that many women hurt today.

I know that many women weep.

And I don't say this lightly, but I say it just the same.

What happened was a long time coming.

YOU may not have known. You may not have seen it - creeping up on you in the rearview. Objects may be closer than they appear.

But when I tell you this I hope you trust me. People knew.

*I* was not one of them.

I had inklings. I knew rumblings over the years - never to this extent.

And so? I was not one of them.

I turned a blind eye. I said I didn't SEE.

And then, I looked inside myself. Went back as recent as a year or so ago. And said to myself, MY G-d. THAT. THAT IS WHY.

I watched. I didn't ask questions.

This is when we fall, friends. We don't ask questions. We accept the answers given. It's a rough place to be - this world where we try to blindly trust - where true colors are seen and blocked out.

Why does this happen? Is it comfort? Security? The need for acceptance? Why?

I don't know. There is too much to know. Your therapists can help you find that. I cannot. I can barely figure it out it in myself. But it is there.

So when the words got louder and the questions started flying? And you felt you could not publicly speak for fear of being tossed under the bus with the not-quite-as-fearless-leader as you thought? You pulled back and went to your safe spaces. Turned to your friends. People you love. People you met because of Postpartum Progress. People who are the heart of that organization.

Katherine, herself, said these words (paraphrasing) and I wrote them here in July of 2015:

WE are Postpartum Progress. 

Not just me [her]. Not just the Board. But all of us. Us. The Warrior Moms.

Which is why so many of us ache even harder today. Because the organization we felt was OURS, was never truly ours. It was not ours to keep alive and breathing when the CEO and the Board decided to close its doors. It was not ours to save. It was not ours to have.

But we still have one another. We still have so much that can never be taken away from us. Never be tainted.

You - Warrior Mom - think about the best parts of the conference you attended, the Facebook group you participated in, the Climb you organized or went to. Think about that. What is it? What was it? WHO was it?

It was not Katherine Stone.

It was you - me - the other moms who have been where you are. Who ARE where you are and need you to pull them out of the darkness.

So, stand with me this morning. In your hurt. Your exhaustion. Your tears.

Stand with me this morning. In your pain. Your confusion. Your dashed hopes.

And turn with me to the window - because the sun still shines.

And it will. It has to. Because moms out there need us. They need YOU. I need you.

We need each other.

Maternal mental health does not begin and end with one organization. Or with one woman. I will never forget and not commend the work that was done. I will never forget the way awareness was raised. The way the beginning of 'me, too' for so many started with an organization that is no longer.

But I will also never forget the words and hurt of friends who were shushed. Friends who were scapegoated. Friends who were ignored.

And you don't have to believe these people right now. Maybe for you it is too hard to believe people you do not know. Maybe it is too hard to believe people you see lashing out in their pain. Maybe it is all just too hard to consider right this very second.

But I hope that you will continue to listen. Continue to learn. And continue to grow.

Because that's all we can ask of ourselves sometimes. Especially during times of pain.

It's what I ask of myself every single day.

It's why I write the pieces I do.

Not every day do I find the words. Obviously right now I am finding quite a few.

But today - tomorrow - soon it will quiet down - and you can stop and think. Think about that small moment you may have questioned. That small thing that didn't sit right with you, but you watched the impacted party bounce back and you thought - huh - so it's all okay. Great.

Think some more. You will find your place in these thoughts.

And remember. You are STILL a warrior.

* If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, please contact Postpartum Support International. They can help, and they can direct you so you find support and help. 800-944-4773 *

Still A Warrior, Postpartum Mental Health

4 comments:

signingcharity said...

I, in all my whiteness, was one of those slighted and hurt by the organization early in my interaction with them. But it was an amazing link to #ppdchat and all the women who have walked with me.

Sarah B said...

Wow. You. You and your WORDS!! You've said what so many have been feeling. Thank you, friend!

jamonkey said...

All the feels 🙌

Dyane Harwood said...

Me too! Despite raising $200 for them, I felt slighted as well. I have postpartum bipolar and I never felt it was treated the same as the other primary PMADS. But Postpartum Progress gave me the opportunity to share my story, and connect with other moms and I'm grateful for that.

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