Moms Are Daring Each Other to Get Real About Mental Health Struggles in the Most Inspiring Way

1 in 5
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In America, 1 in 5 adults struggle with mental health disorders and anxieties. And yet, those living with them often feel like they have to sweep their true feelings under a rug. Whether it is a fear of judgment or the disorder itself holding people back from sharing, the consequences of keeping feelings bottled up are devastating. That's why triplet mom and influencer Desiree Fortin asked seven fellow mamas who live with mental health or anxiety disorders to extend an olive branch to moms who may be silently suffering. 

"When my triplets were born I struggled deeply with postpartum depression and anxiety," Fortin tells CafeMom. "I was so ashamed of myself and because of my struggles I felt like I wasn't good enough. I, eventually, got help and made the changes to be healthier version of myself, but I still struggle with anxiety. I use my platform to share the raw and honest truths of mental health and truly believe by being vulnerable enough to share others are being inspired to get help." 

  • Fortin, along with the other mamas, penned raw open letters using the hashtag #Dear1in5, and they're seriously beautiful. Fortin's letter reads:

    "You're not Alone. I know you're in the trenches just trying to make it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. You're not alone. I know some days you feel like you just can't do it and you want to cry. You want to cry hard. It's okay, Mama.

    Cry. And Cry Hard.

    I know you think you are failing your kids, your husband, even yourself. But, you're not failing anyone. I know public places can be overwhelming. What if you lose a child or one gets taken? What if your toddler throws a tantrum or rubs off? I have been there too. Fried, you're not alone.

    I know sometimes you dislike your kids. Some days, I dislike mine too.

    I know you are praying hard Mama. Keep praying. God hears you, and He hasn't forgotten you.

    I know that you are ashamed and feeling guilty, sometimes wondering if this is the life you were cut out for. It is okay Mama. I have those days too. You're not alone. I know it is hard to get out of bed sometimes because sleep deprivation is pure torture and it has sucked out every ounce of energy you may have in you. I know this form of exhaustion all too well Mama, especially when my babies were first born. Sometimes it turns into a depression. I know you love being a Mama, but some days are just covered in clouds. It's okay Mama. You're not alone.

    I know that you might be seeing a therapist, someone to talk to and help you through this season. Good for you Mama. You are not alone. I know you may need to see a Doctor, get some help, and get on some anxiety or depression meds. It's okay Mama. You need to care of yourself. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just recognizing that you can't do it alone. Mama, sometimes you have to take the first steps to be the change you want to see.

    I know most days you have not a single clue what you're doing Mama. You're not alone, that is truly what Motherhood is. I know you are one in five mama. It’s okay, I am too. Live yourself a little more mama and know you’re not alone! 
    Sincerely, 

    I’m in the trenches too!" 

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  • Some letters addressed those nagging thoughts that permeate your head. 

    "Dear 1 in 5,
    I won't lie to you. This week has been one of those weeks where my smile stayed hidden. Those anxious ruminating thoughts of self loathing appeared, wrapping their hands around my throat. Disgust for myself seeped from my pores, puddling around me, daring anyone to come close and soak it up. You see, anxiety has a way of ripping my joy from my body, clouding my eyes and my heart from a whole world of things including gratefulness and humility. When anxiety has me, I am not ME. I live in a panicked world of self pity, with no peripheral vision. But would you believe me if I told you that the darkness lifts? Our minds are powerful—we don't always have control, but we can always choose to fight that chemistry. Maybe that means considering medication. Maybe it means exploring therapy. Maybe it means reading inspirational messages and leaning on our friends and family. We are more than our mental hurdles, and we CAN thrive..."

  • Others begged moms to reach out for help. 

    "Yes, your random outbursts of anger are a sign.

    Yes, your inability to feel emotion through songs is a sign.
    Yes, your inability to enjoy scents you used to enjoy is a sign.
    Yes, your inability to find joy in the things that brought you joy before is a sign.
    No, you are not broken.
    No, you are not a bad mom at all!
    No, you are not a bad wife.
    You are simply lost right now. 
    And you will be found again.
    Friend, it's time to make the call. 
    All you have to do is make that call!
    -
    I know it's the hardest part next to recognizing the symptoms of postpartum depression and accepting that you may have it and acknowledging that.
    -
    For me, hearing 'I think I have postpartum depression' coming out of my mouth to schedule my appointment immediately brought me to tears. Tears that I wasn't experiencing with this bout of ppd. Finally, the tears came streaming out because it FELT so good to know that I had overcome the first two biggest hurdles of getting help. I hate being vulnerable publicly, but I am sharing a video I took right after calling my obgyn in my stories."
  • And some just acknowledged the women who feel utterly unseen. 

    "I see you. I know what it feels like to have those days that don’t seem to be worth fighting for. I know the range of emotions, the peaks and valleys. I know them all too well. I know the overwhelm, the darkness and despair, the moments of questioning yourself wondering what is wrong with me. Believe me when I say, you are not alone.


    You are more than this battle you are fighting. You are worthy, friend. You are worthy of LOVE. You are worthy of SELF-CARE. You are worthy of HAPPINESS. You are worthy of KNOWING. You are worthy of RECOVERY. You are worthy of GRACE. You are worthy of RESPECT. YOU ARE WORTHY and you are STRONGER than this struggle.

    Don’t believe the voice in your head that whispers lies to you. You may feel defeated during these trials but know your pain has a purpose and it’s only temporary. You ... we WILL make it out on the other side. We can’t see it when we’re in the valley but we never know how we can be used to be a blessing or an encouragement to others down the road.

    I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. God did not create us to live in a spirit of fear or chaos. He uses every moment and circumstance for something greater. Better days are coming, friend.

    Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny. C.S. Lewis."
  • Even though this may not "fix" the mental health crisis women are facing, it does help lift the veil on an otherwise unpopular topic. 

    "I wish people knew that this mental health journey doesn't have to be lonely," Fortin told CafeMom. "Sadly, society has given mental health this horrible stigma and it needs to change. Mental health doesn't define you. It doesn't make you weak or unworthy. It is simply a part of some of our stories and we can choose to make changes to be a healthier version of ourselves." 

    Check out the rest of the letters here