Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Before we discuss, know that I am a cradle Catholic. Know that that means I was born, baptized, and raised as a Catholic. Know that that means, I am fully aware of the sanctity of life, the preciousness of it all, and the repercussions, should I violate that.
But also, know this about me.
Know that I have had 2 high risk pregnancies.
Know that I am truly blessed and grateful for my medical team and experts who took care of me and both my premature babies.
Know that I was fearful at 26 weeks when I was told about my preeclampsia diagnosis.
Know that I prayed and prayed and bargained to keep my baby inside my body every week until I had her unexpectedly at 31 weeks.
Know that I couldn't hold my 3 pound 4 oz baby for 5 days because doctors and nurses didn't want me to disturb her Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) line - a line that was monitoring her life.
Know that I had to watch my 31 weeker grow in this tiny space, surrounded by machines, for 6 weeks of her life.
Know that before she turned 1 years old, she had to wear a chest monitor that beeped when it didn't pick up her breathing or when her heart seemed to pause for the infinite minute microsecond.
Know that she was seen constantly (and still to this day, 9 years later) by several specialists.
Know that in the years following her birth, I was broken by this trauma.
Know that this kept me from singing joyfully when I found out about being pregnant again.
Know that I watched my girl hug my belly and wondered if this time - my preeclampsia - I would be unlucky.
Know that this pregnancy anxiety paralyzed me.
Know that at 26 weeks, I felt myself slipping.
Know that at 31 weeks - my trigger week - the week that I had my daughter - I threw up, cried in the shower and that this is the first time I have acknowledged any of that.
Know that I wrote goodbye letters for her. For my husband.
Know that at 34 weeks and change, I knew that my headache, my nausea, my morning would put me in triage that night.
Know that all Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)s are the same, no matter what hospital you are in.
Know that those 11 days, he was in the NICU, I had to hold my daughter and answer all of her questions about why babies don't automatically come home after you have them.
Know that I had to revisit those nightmares of her NICU stay and pretend everything was fine.
Know that coming home with my 5 pound 34 weeker, my anxiety became too much to bear.
Know that I had postpartum depression in the weeks that followed.
Know that I continued writing my goodbye letters.
To my 4 year old and to my husband.
Know that I wanted to just run away and never look back.
Know all this about me.
Know that I do not wish this upon anyone.
Motherhood can be a burden. It is a burden for the woman in an abusive relationship. It is a burden on someone so young. It is a burden for someone who have absolutely nothing to her name. Motherhood - in my struggles - is a burden that only I carry. My husband didn't know what was going through my brain. My doctors only relayed information I asked for. Help is a resource that I knew about and had access to. What if I didn't have any of those things?
Know that there are resources.
There are people who understand what you are going through and have been on the path you are on.
Know that you are absolutely not alone in your thoughts, in your darkness;
you are not alone.
If you or someone you know needs help for a maternal mental health disorder:
The Postpartum Support International (PSI) warmline can be reached at
Press 1 for Spanish or press 2 for English.
You can also text “Help” to 800-944-4773 (EN)
Text en Español: 971-203-7773
Volunteers offer encouragement, information, and treatment resources in your community.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact:
The National Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
The National Suicide Prevention Phone Hotline and Website:
1-800-273-8255 or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
911 or your local emergency number
Take action & join the #MomsAreNotImmune Remembrance Candlelight vigil live tonight at 5:30pm PT on @2020Moms FB, YT or LI channels. Light a candle tonight for moms lost, their children & to send hope to those suffering now.
Visit https://www.2020mom.org/maternal-suicide-awareness-campaign for more
In 2012, my daughter was born at 31 weeks due to Preeclampsia and spent 43 days in the NICU. When I found out I was pregnant again, I became anxious about history repeating itself. He was born at 34 weeks in 2016. I had another premature baby, another NICU stay, another preeclampsia diagnosis. This time, I added postpartum depression to my history.