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Those Closest to You Won't Always Be Your Biggest Supporters

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When I first started writing a book about my postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression, of course I was worried my daughter might one day think I did not want her, or that she was somehow to blame for how I felt or what I went through. I needed to tell her my story regardless, even if I never told the world, because I did not want her to go through the same thing.

Who knew she would end up being my biggest fan and supporter? She is only 12 now, some might think this will change one day. I do not think so though. I have been as honest with her as I could as she has grown older. I know she still does not completely understand and will more with age, but she is gifted and I think she understands a lot more than some adults. She thinks the thought of me having a book on Amazon is awesome and so do her friends. Yes, she has read my book. Yes, I discussed everything in it with her first. She understands that I love her lots, she was very planned, and that what I went through had nothing to do with her and was not her fault.

When I wrote my book, I thought my husband and family and friends would be my biggest fans. I thought they would all buy copies, share all my posts, give me nothing but encouraging words, etc. I thought they would help me sell enough copies to make some money to actually get the book professionally edited and to advertise, etc. In reality, this was the case with some, but I ended up giving a lot of free copies away, so many I did not lose money, but broke even. I received some praise but I heard a lot more criticism. Of course, this is something you should be prepared for when writing a book, but I was not ready. I think I was still healing and that is why for the time being, I unpublished the book, and did not try to republish it again for years. Now that I am republishing, I have almost 1,000 Facebook friends, but less than 300 likes on my Facebook page and I believe over half of those are strangers. I believe most of my Twitter followers and blog followers are strangers.

My daughter and a friend were the ones who got me wanting to give it another try. When I told a friend I did not know when I first wrote my book about it, she asked why did I have it unpublished if it could be published and I could be making money on it? Also my daughter asked why I did not have it published anymore and I did not want to tell her I just gave up because it was hard, so I gave it another go. I am so glad I did and she has been my biggest cheerleader and encourager by far! Of course the big dream is to become a best seller, but the more realistic one is to make some money doing something I love while helping others. The worst case scenario is I don’t make money but fulfill my childhood dream and still feel like I helped people and I will still feel accomplished. Writing is like acting. A lot of actors start as waitresses. You have to have another real job at first because you don’t make any money at first. Only those that make it huge make tons of money, but many do make enough to make it a living, others make enough to make some good extra money.

It is really important to me now that I tell my story in a way that my husband is OK with. He will be reading my final professional edit this weekend and hopefully approving it. When I first wrote the book, instead of just thinking of my target audience as being women going through the same, I also thought of my audience as those around me who missed the signs liked my husband. I eventually gave this up. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still hope and want everyone to read my book and blogs, even those who have not been through this or are not going through this, for one, in case they ever do, or because it is very likely that someone they know will, is or already has.

However, the way I got better was because I finally quit waiting for others to understand, or rescue me. Not saying I did not have any help or support, but even those closest to me did not understand what I was going through in the way others going through it did or I did. I had to do a lot of things that made me uncomfortable to get better including medication and therapy. Some family have never even acknowledged I had a postpartum mood disorder. If I ever discuss it they do not say anything, they either ignore it or change the subject. I feel like they hate me telling my story publicly, while at the same time not being embarrassed to post their extreme political beliefs on Twitter, and yes I do think this has a lot to do with why I suffered so long in the first place or suffered at all. “One stranger who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don’t understand cannot. It is the cool glass of water in hell.” This quote from Laura McKowen in “We Are The Luckiest” is why I wrote my book and why I blog and share my story.

Do not get me wrong, I have had many friends and family members, probably reading this right now, who have been so supportive, some that have been through what I have and some that have not, but honestly it has mainly been my daughter and complete strangers keeping me going — hundreds of strangers who have told me I have changed their life, or given them hope and made them realize they are not alone and that they will be OK. My husband and I were at a concert for his favorite band recently and he was talking about how amazing it must be to have a whole stadium singing and relating to the lyrics you wrote. I told him that is how I feel when someone loves my book or my blogs, or writes a comment, or sends a private message about how much they relate or it changed their life. I think he is finally starting to get that.

Getty image via Kerkez

Originally published: January 27, 2021
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