Inside the Aftermath
Updated: Jul 25
There is a thing that I don't talk about much.
It's invisible, much like this disgusting virus.
It's on the inside of the mothers who live with the aftermath of Congenital Cytomegalovirus.
It's guilt and disgust and shame and fear and pain and anguish.
We feel responsible somehow. We lay this incredible burden of responsibility upon our shoulders for a thing we didn't know existed until it was too late.
We are ashamed that we didn't do the one thing we were meant to do, protect our unborn baby.
We fear that we are judged by our family and friends for the outcome that we couldn't control.
And the pain of failing our baby... the anguish of what their lives or loss of their life means...
It is all consuming. It's exhausting. It is masked by smiles and sunshine.
Our dreams are shattered and smashed and we slap a pretty quote over it to make it less ugly outside.
The truth is... we are wrought with emotion. Drained of joy. Robbed of motherhood dreams. It falls apart in the moment of a blood test. 3 letters have taken away everything one has hoped for in a life they prayed to create.
There is no glory or strength in that. There is no making it better or easier. In that moment, the core of our being falls.
It is traumatic and lifelong.
We scream in silence in the shower as the tears come until our heads pound. We shut out people who love us because we loved someone too and ruined their lives.
It eats at the dreams of our future. It calls us names. It mocks us.
The sun makes us angry, how could it be so bright when it is in fact so dark inside. We ache in a place that we can't put our fingers on until one day a sliver of light breaks in. It touches us and there is breath.
And from there.... From there we heal. It may have taken us a few short weeks or months to get there. For some of us, it could take months or a year or more. Healing isn't the same for everyone.
We can stand up one day. Look this monster in the face and say "Not today. You can't take me too." Someone who loves us, hugs us and we hang on a little longer than we used to because we feel it again.
The grief is over. We are angry still, but not at ourselves now. Angry at the virus that no one talks about. Angry at the lack of prenatal education we received. Angry at the stigma that we can't talk about our mental health.
Depression rolls in and out like summer thunderstorms. Anxiety tags along.
We've made peace with our hands. This is our lot and that's okay now.
We might not hug and kiss on your babies, that needs to be okay with you. We lost something precious. We might not come to birthday parties for awhile, it reminds us of a party we won't have. Maybe we miss a few years of family photos in Christmas cards, someone is missing. The braces and machines and wheelchair is hard to look at.
We are doing the best with what we have.
It may have happened overnight but the healing will take much much longer than that.
Maternal Mental Health is not to be taken lightly.
If you know a mother who experienced loss, sickness, illness, diagnosis... know her heart is hurt. She may be smiling, now, but she had to heal to get here.
Love on her today. Let her know that she matters.
Bring her to me and I will tell her.
Light and Love,
If you are struggling with Postpartum Depression, please know you are not alone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will listen. 1-800-273-8255
The Suicide Prevention Hotline will listen. 1-800-SUI-CIDE
The National Postpartum Depression Hotline will listen. 1-800-PPD-MOMS
Visit www.postpartumstress.com for more resources.
You are NOT alone.
photo credit: Prof. Rajinder Dudrah