I did not choose postpartum depression. Or postpartum anxiety. Or postpartum OCD. If someone had asked me when I was pregnant, “Hey, do you want a maternal mood disorder?” I would have said, “No, but thank you for asking.” (Mama raised me right.)
But maternal mood disorders do not wait for invitations, and they certainly don’t RSVP and then show up with flowers and wine. They happen when they want, where they want, to whomever they damn please.
My mental illness gave me a lot of things: insomnia; dark intrusive thoughts; elaborate nightly rituals; obsessive hand washing; fear; paralyzing anxiety; and despair. But it also gave me something that is not listed in the medical literature.
Something so mind-blowing awesome, I did not think it was possible.
My mental illness gave me a tribe of warrior moms.
I have chosen many tribes during my life: my college in the woods of New Hampshire; law school; and then a big law firm.
I did not choose the warrior mom tribe. It was forced upon me by an illness that made the darkness so dark, I thought my life was over and no one could ever fix me.
But even though I did not choose it, the tribe of warrior moms is the most important one in my life. Tribes come and tribes go, but I will be a proud and loud member of the Warrior Mom Tribe until I draw my final breath.
Warrior Moms, I love you all so much.