#stand4moms: Mary

Hi! My name is Mary, and for as long as I can remember, I had always wanted to be a mom. In the fall of 2010, just three months after my wedding day, my dreams became a reality when I became pregnant. 

 Mary and her son, Riley.

Mary and her son, Riley.

Nine months, an induction, 36 hours of labor, and a C-section later, my son Riley was born. I had become a mother! After the anesthetics had worn off and I was more alert, I remember sitting on my hospital bed, while my husband slept, with my little boy swaddled and propped on his Boppy. It was just the two of us, and it was pure bliss! 

But a late night feeding turned into disaster when I discovered my son bleeding from his feet. Lots of pokes and prods on my baby boy and an accusation pointed at me from a medical professional turned my life upside down. I collapsed and cried on the bathroom floor, telling my husband to take him away from me. I didn’t deserve my son. Despite this, and a correct diagnosis, I unraveled. I feared during this time that someone would take my baby away.

Eventually, God sent me an angel in the form of a counselor who specialized in postpartum mood disorders. She very literally saved my life. Her name was Kathleen, and I met with her every week for a few months. Together we discovered that I was suffering from postpartum PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and depression. She also referred me to a psychiatrist for medication. My healing came from taking my daily dose of Celexa, along with a routine of self-care and positive affirmations. It was, and sometimes still is, a daily struggle to climb out of the darkness. But I did it, and I finally felt worthy. I finally felt like a mother.

Not long after, my little family of three relocated to Charleston from California for my husband’s work. I was nervous to make such a big change after everything I had overcome. I knew that in order to keep myself together, I would need to find a support system. As soon as we had internet access, I Googled “Postpartum support near me.” The first thing that popped up was an advertisement for Postpartum Support Charleston’s annual Moms’ Run! As soon as I clicked the link, I knew this was something that I needed to do. I made the decision that this was going to be my next self-care goal. The Moms’ Run was my motivation over the next 12 months to get my physical health under control. I worked my tail off and dropped over 100 pounds! Going from barely being able to walk to my mailbox without getting winded to crossing that 5k finish line with tears in my eyes was one of the most gratifying moments of my life! 

 Mary: Before and after

Mary: Before and after

Having Postpartum Support Charleston as a resource is what kept me afloat. I am finally in a place in my life where I feel like I am healed enough to help others, which is why I decided to be a volunteer. I am both humbled and honored to be a part of this organization.