A writer and mom who cares about your journey.
founder, writer/editor, mom, Postpartum Support International - Missouri statewide coordinator
On March 27, 2018, I had just given birth to my son Owen. He was a healthy 8-pound baby, and I was happy and overwhelmed to be his mom. Above all, I was so glad he was okay.
But I wasn’t. My labor was very long and ended in an emergency C-section. I developed preeclampsia and took iron pills for all the blood I had lost. My son was released from the hospital before I was. And although the nurses were so supportive and kind, my mind was reeling: How did this happen to me?
At the time, I felt more alone than I thought was possible. Friends and family looked at my situation and said almost unanimously, “But at least the baby is okay!” And then more health complications piled on top of me, and I suffocated underneath the weight of taking care of my baby and taking care of myself.
It was too much for one person to handle. I knew I needed help, so I reached out to Postpartum Support International and was given the name of a local therapist who could help me. It took a lot of therapy. It took a lot of time. Even four years after the delivery, I am changed for everything that happened.
I hid this experience from almost everyone in my life. I was willing to admit the delivery was complicated and that the health issues were challenging, but I kept a smile on my face. To admit anything else felt like weakness. It felt like defeat. It felt like I was a bad mom.
But I wasn’t a bad mom. And neither are you. Despite whether or not you had the perfect delivery. Despite the fact that things went better than you could have planned, but you’re still sad. No matter your situation, please know this to be true. The fact that we still show up for our babies and toddlers in the face of our anxiety and sadness is proof of immense courage.
Statistics say up to 1 in 5 women suffer from postpartum depression. I believe there are so many more—so many suffering in silence, afraid what others will think if they share their feelings.
That’s why I started Strength Through Story. As moms, we tell ourselves stories all the time about what and who we are: I’m not enough. I’m weak. Other moms do it better. (I know I did.)
But what if we instead instilled words that were empowering and supportive? I am ENOUGH. I am BRAVE. I am EVERYTHING my child needs me to be. Because, without a doubt, you ARE.
Kim Hawley is the founder and facilitator of Strength Through Story, a free, inclusive, online support group and community that focuses on healing through writing and storytelling. She is the Missouri State Lead Coordinator for Postpartum Support International (PSI) and serves on the PSI-Missouri board. She also works as the clinic coordinator for Centimano Counseling, the first perinatal-specific counseling practice in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Kim has certifications from the Pregnancy & Postpartum Resource Center (PPRC) and PSI in support group facilitation, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and perinatal mental health care. She is currently attending the University of Michigan, School of Social Work, pursuing a degree in Social Work.