In the depths of postpartum depression, in the throes of a vicious cycle of panic attacks and addiction, I started writing. This wasn’t my first time writing to heal and understand my pain, and I didn’t hold back. By letting myself write the hard truth, I found resolution. It helped me move through the most complex emotions I had ever felt into the light of empowerment, healing, and sobriety.
One year later, I had a finished book and I published it. It was raw, real, painfully honest, imperfect but complete. I hired a cover designer, formatted it myself, and submitted it to Amazon. I didn’t have many expectations for my book. I just knew I had to put it out there. At times I worried that it was too truthful, too vulnerable, too revealing. But, as the feedback and reviews started rolling in, I understood the deeper reason behind my urge to publish it.
In telling my true story about the hardships and growth of my first year of motherhood, I made myself available for judgments, scrutiny, embarrassment, sure. Some of the things I thought and went through are not normally talked about in our society. But the transformation I experienced—from utter despair and suicidality, to hopeful empowerment—really inspired others. It normalized the more challenging aspects of early motherhood. It showed a way through the hardship. Publishing my book was the most worthwhile thing I have done so far because it really helped other women.
As I started putting my book out there, I got emails every week from women thanking me for my blunt honesty. They too had very similar experiences and feelings, challenges and pains, but didn’t realize that other mothers went through the same things. They found solace in my story, healing for their own journeys, and hope on their paths. Publishing my book literally changed people’s lives. It made them feel not alone. It helped them learn how to love themselves in their own flaws and shortcomings, to accept their own inner turmoils and dark thoughts.
Looking back, I now see that publishing my true story in the form of a book also changed the world in its own small way. It shifted the lens of what motherhood can be like. It changed the narrative of what a good woman is. It shed light on the struggles that modern moms go through. It healed the silence of our ancestors and the oppression of our grandmothers. It changed the fabric of reality.
Telling your true story of motherhood, both the challenges and the triumphs, is one of the most generous and generative things you can do. So many women harbor shame and feel isolated in their less-than-glowing moments as a mother. In a world inundated with picture-perfect posts, matching outfits, and gushing gratitude…those women who experience life and motherhood differently can feel like something is wrong with them. They can feel really alone in their struggles, perspectives, and darker thoughts.
It is so important to tell the truth about your real experiences of motherhood. Those little revealings of honesty can change another woman’s life, or even save it. Just look at the tidal wave that has come from Meghan Markle speaking up about her postpartum experiences. It is shifting things in the maternal mental health world and beyond. It is making it more ok for women to speak their own truths, accept their experiences and get the help they need. It’s changing society in a big way. Of course, not all of us have as powerful of a platform as royalty like Meghan Markle. But even those of us with a small reach do make a difference when we speak up about the truth instead of continuing to stay silent.
Whether you share your truth through conversations with other women, through social media, on podcasts, through writing articles or actually writing a book, you are helping other women and our society. In my experience though, writing your story into a book is the most powerful form. Publishing your true motherhood story gets it out into the culture in a way that other forms do not. When others read and hear about your book, it has an impact that a social post does not. Publishing a book gives a deeper level of credibility to your work and adds a solidness and permanence to your message.
Standing in your truth and sharing your real motherhood story makes the world a safer place for women and empowers everyone who reads it with more authenticity and understanding. If you are feeling the call to write a book about your motherhood experience, the lessons you’ve learned, the hardships you’ve endured, the raw and real behind-the-scenes truths, I deeply encourage you to do it. Your story really matters. It’s medicine—a powerful healing balm for other women and this world.