Part One – Braving Motherhood: One in five women will experience postpartum depression

47 ABC – May is Maternal Mental Health Month and as many as one in five women will experience postpartum depression. In honor of that, 47 ABC is airing a new three part series called “Braving Motherhood: One in Five”.

The first episode in the series focuses on a new PSA campaign that features the stories of real moms, talking about the challenges they’ve faced in motherhood. Shore Grace Family Wellness in Salisbury is behind the new campaign: #NotABadMom. The goal is to normalize common motherhood experiences including postpartum depression. 47 ABC had the chance to be there for the filming of the PSA as women opened up and shared some extremely personal stories with the hope that it would start a conversation.

“I wanted them to feel safe. Safe to say the things they are afraid to say out loud in hopes that it would free another mom that’s watching,” says Meisha Shockley, the founder of Shore Grace Family Wellness. “With this PSA, with this campaign, the #NotABadMom Campaign, it is to normalize that you are not a bad mom for having these feelings, for having guilt, for struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, for using medication, for having a miscarriage, for having a c-section.”

Elysha Mason is one of the moms who participated in the PSA. In the video she recounts the emotional time when she realized something wasn’t right, “It was like 3 AM. And I tried everything. She wouldn’t stop crying.”

 

 

A group of brave mothers agreed to share their most vulnerable moments in front of strangers, in a room full of cameras, in order to shed a light in the dark corners of motherhood. “It was no warning. It was no build up. It was just me putting something in the microwave and pop. Like all of a sudden I’m having this crazy thought about harming my daughter,” says Kyra Holley, another mom who participated in the PSA campaign.

“There’s actually not enough transparency around being a mother from going through the process of being a mother to after you have a child, you deliver because that’s when the true journey begins. And a lot of people don’t tell you that,” says Holley.

“I asked the question: What in your motherhood journey are you most ashamed to say out loud? The responses were overwhelmingly similar,” says Shockley.

“And in that moment I just remember thinking, if somebody doesn’t help us, we’re not going to be okay,” says Mason.

Postpartum depression, body shame, grief and the weight of living up to expectations were just some of the feelings these moms shared. But amidst those feelings there’s a sliver of hope that with time, help and sometimes treatment: motherhood is also beautiful.

“Another common theme that I saw is that every single last one of these moms despite their lowest moments, despite their scariest moments, the intrusive thoughts, every single last mother found joy in their children even while they are struggling. Simultaneously there is a joy,” says Shockley.

“What I hope that people can actually take away from it for me is that it’s okay if it’s not all rainbows and giggles,” says Holley.

“I’m so proud of them for putting a voice to it. The #NotABadMom Campaign is for that reason: to give a voice to these dark moments in motherhood and normalize them,” says Shockley.

Shore Grace is also encouraging you to join the conversation by sharing a picture with the hashtag: #NotABadMom. Click here to visit Shore Grace’s website and learn how you can participate.

If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, reach out to Shore Grace or your doctor for help.

You can also call or text the Postpartum Support International hotline at the numbers below:

  • Call 1-800-944-4773 (English and Spanish)
  • Text a Message: 503-894-9453 (English) or 971-420-0294 (Spanish)

The hotlines are available 24 hours a day, you will be asked to leave a confidential message and a trained and caring volunteer will return your call or text. They will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement and connect you with local resources as needed.

Click here for part two of the series.

Click here for part three of the series.

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