Dear Katie,

 You are not alone. You are not to blame. And you will be well with help. There are so many women across the nation and across the world who have been where you are – suffering alone, scared, anxiety ridden and filled with guilt that they are not being the “best” or “most perfect” mother that they can be. Motherhood isn’t easy for everyone. Even the moms who make it look easy have a hard time. But the good news is that it does get easier and it does get better. Some of us have to take it hour by hour or even minute by minute in the beginning. And some of us need more help than others to get through the early steps of motherhood. Through peer support and solid medical support we make it through. We survive the sheer desperation and panic of postpartum disorders and we make it through. And you know what? It makes us stronger. It makes us even more grateful for what we have, for every smile we witness, for every hug we receive. Because we remember when we couldn’t enjoy those times. I know you’re scared and frightened – there are people who can help you and want to help you on your journey to recovery.

When I suffered from Postpartum OCD, I couldn’t enjoy my children. I didn’t want to laugh or smile. I wanted them to go away and I would get angry with them for the smallest thing. Several times I thought about running away. But where to? And if I left, would I really solve my problems? At the time I thought I would. And then I came crashing down – and landed in the hospital for treatment. I slept the whole weekend and my medication was changed. I also started to reach out for peer support which helped me immensely. Through contact with women in the local birthing network, Jane Honikman, and starting talk therapy, I slowly started to dig my way out of the deep dark hole I had fallen into. And I eventually got to the top. I won’t lie – it was hard work. And by no stretch of the imagination am I who I used to be. I have changed. For the better I think. But I had others to help me and to rely on. And now I pay it forward by helping other women.

I want you to know that you have been in my prayers since I first heard of your disappearance. I have been praying for you and your precious family. I pray that you are safe and alive. I pray that you will return to your two precious boys and your loving husband soon. I know they miss you terribly. Katie, if there’s a chance you are reading this, know that there are a lot of caring and concerned people praying for your safe return home. Know that we do not blame you and we all want to help you in any way that we can. You can do this – you are NOT alone!

Warmest,

Lauren

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