The Journey of Amber Stanley

Amber Stanley Website.jpg

Back in 2009 I found that I was pregnant with my first child, I was elated. After an incredibly difficult pregnancy she was delivered 10 weeks premature by emergency c-section. She was very healthy, all things considered, and shortly after she was sent home. Four months later, I found that I was pregnant again (while on birth control!). I had no time to heal, or learn how to be a mother or truly bond with my daughter the way most mothers do. Just six days before my daughter’s first birthday, I was once again delivered by emergency c-section. My son was healthy, and well at first. When he was a week old, he fell dangerously ill, was rushed to the best children’s hospital in the state. He underwent emergency surgery at 3 weeks old. He was on a ventilator, with wires and tubes. Between the hormones, the pain, and the guilt of missing my daughter’s first birthday I was a mess.

Though as most women in that position would do, I pushed it down as far as I could. I quit my job to focus on my children once he was sent home healthy at 6 months old. Slowly I felt like I had somehow lost myself, and something was wrong but my husband and our families all told me it’s normal, it will pass. It’s baby blues, it’s hormones, it’s not that big of a deal. I found some solace in friends I had made online in Facebook groups and games, though not enough to hold myself together. More and more often I sent the kids off to be with a grandparent, crying all the way home and all night because I wanted them there but I felt I was failing them somehow. At one point my kids were only home on the weekends, because I just could not do it. I couldn’t explain it, couldn’t justify it, and had no idea how to fix it. Months and months went by, months turned into years. Before I knew it, my kids were 3 and 2 and spent more time with their grandparents than me. My marriage was falling apart. I was a failure in my mind, and thought everyone was just far better off without me to hold them back. My kids deserved more than what I was offering. I could not explain how I felt, the words escaped me every time I tried. 

In the morning hours of March 2012, I broke. I attempted to end my own life. Had it not been for a neighbor seeing me slouched over the way I was through a window I would not be here to write this or to tell you how I overcame it. After my attempt on my own life, I sought treatment and got the help I so desperately needed for years. I was told it was severe depression, which had started as postpartum and gone untreated for years. I went to counseling, took medications, and over time got better. Got me back, and my kids got the mother they deserved. Had there been a program near me that made awareness of the mental health battles for mothers more well known, maybe I would have gotten better sooner. Maybe I would not have done what I did.

Since 2012 I have improved our lives 10 fold! I started a new career which I love, I welcomed my third and final child in 2015. He was born healthy and at term and has the most wonderful big sister and brother. 

You know your body and mind better than anyone. Don’t let someone else dismiss your pain, your struggles, your needs, or your grief. However it is expressed, as mothers we face battles every day. Armed with sleep deprivation, headaches, crying and sick children, our own healing bodies, plus the additional stresses of work, home, cooking, and so much more. We mothers are the strongest, and most fierce humans on the planet. We face trials and battles most don’t even see, but you don’t have to do it alone.