Why do we care so much about the idea of “shared experience?” Every Mom dealing with PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) asks, in some fashion or another, whether other Moms feel this way. Do other Moms struggle with sadness or anger? Are there other Moms who are anxious all the time, or suddenly obsessed with germs or their babies becoming ill or dying? Are all the other Moms happy and there’s just something wrong with me? What these Moms are asking is whether there are others that share their experience. So why does that matter so much?
Consider all the difficult experiences in life that are nonetheless commonplace: the first day of school, being the one being picked on by the mean girls in 7th grade, the first day of your first menstrual period, the bride with wedding day jitters, telling a joke and no one laughs… all experiences that most of us have had, and that made us feel at the time like the only one going through it. Now recall how you felt when someone said, “I went through that and I felt awful too, but it gets better.” You relaxed just a little. You exhaled a bit. And you started to believe that this painful or embarrassing or confusing or otherwise miserable thing you were going through might eventually not feel as bad. Even deeply painful experiences, like losing a loved one, are made more tolerable by the knowledge that others have felt such losses and yet still found a way to move forward.
This is why Terra’s Place exists. To let Moms with PMADs and their families know that they are not alone. That other Moms have similar struggles, and there are treatments available. That despite the difficulties you’re facing, we hold to these truths: You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with the right kind of help, you will get better!