The financial stress of having a baby in America has cost me my life.

As we begin To unravel the dire implications of the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs, What happens after birth is rarely discussed. Those celebrating the “life-saving” decision ignore it. Millions of women who lost their lives. Physical and mental complications after pregnancy. I know because I almost lost my life to postpartum depression.

My husband and I were surprised, but excited, when I got pregnant within the first month of trying. After giving birth to my beautiful son in March 2016, I returned to work three short months later. I began to experience what I now know was postpartum depression – although I didn’t realize it at the time.

I feel like I’m stuck in a tunnel, where life is passing me by, and I’m automatically fighting to make it to the next moment. During my long commute to work, I would figure out how I would make it through the day in the theater, planning the words, emotions, and faces I would use to convince everyone that I was there. I am fine. Sometimes my thoughts wander to images of what would happen if I were in a fatal car accident.

Suicidal ideation is a weird thing to explain. In the middle of doing a perfectly normal activity, my mind goes, “What the hell?” No one knew what was behind my eyes because my mind had created a detailed picture of everything that would happen if I died. I began to think that it would make everyone’s life easier, and that everything would be fine without me.

Looking back, I realize that my postpartum depression was caused and exacerbated by the financial stress that came with having a baby in America. I grew up in an unstable home surrounded by emotionally unstable adults and experienced homelessness as a child. I was determined to give my child a better life.

In the midst of my suicidal thoughts, the stress of being a financial burden scared me into giving in to the thoughts. But he also scared me from asking for help, fearing that I would become a financial burden on my family.

My life changed overnight, but I never had time to adjust to motherhood. I worked for a small business and was only able to take 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave after giving birth to my son. To pay the bills, my husband and I took out a home equity line of credit. No mother wants to leave her child with a stranger and go back to work, but I had this huge debt hanging over my head and the fear of losing my career.

America is The only developed country in the world That doesn’t guarantee at least some kind of paid parental leave. In his absence, parents, Usually mothersyou are expected to make a decision: give up your career to care for your child or go back to work and find a way to pay the excess and Rising childcare costs.

Lack of paid parental leave Leads to physical and mental health problems For both parents and their children. And in a country with one of the highest health care costs, many parents are forced to ignore their own health concerns. This contributes to the status of having America. The highest and only increasing maternal mortality rate of any developed country. Forcing people to become parents only harms the physical and financial health of all Americans.

People like to blame it on poor planning or the irresponsibility of families facing economic hardship, but nothing about having a baby in America is guaranteed. Our childcare plans fell through in my third trimester, when the family we had trusted to be our childcare providers moved out of state. When my son was born, he had medical complications that brought unexpected medical bills.

After losing three months of income, taking out a loan on our home, paying those hefty medical bills and paying unexpected childcare expenses, the financial stress compounded the “mommy guilt.” Women often feel pressured to juggle their thriving careers and current wives and mothers. But, when you pour everything you have into work and family, there’s rarely anything left to keep you going.

The last straw was feeling like I had “failed” at breastfeeding. Due to my postpartum stress and depression, I became fixated on “success” at breastfeeding. But my son was born with a lip tie and a tongue tie that made breastfeeding extremely difficult.

One night, when my son was crying from hunger because I couldn’t feed or pump, I found myself on the floor, blinking back tears and staring at the formula packages, accepting defeat in my internal battle. Couldn’t bring myself to. “The perfect mother.”

When I started having these horrible feelings, I found myself alone in the kitchen with a knife in my hand. I thought dying would be easy. I believed my husband could do everything better than me – better without me.

Fortunately, my husband went into the kitchen and found me holding a knife. After confiding in my husband, I began to pull myself out of the pits of postpartum depression. She convinced me to seek out mental health resources and trained me to let go of the fear of the financial burden that self-care can bring.

In therapy, I found the strength to share my experience with others and realized I was not alone. My friends and colleagues talked about their postpartum struggles and shared resources.

But even with a strong support network, and two incomes supporting our family, I struggled to access basic mental health services.

When I think of the fall of cotton wool, I think I “did everything right” in planning a family, and yet, I almost lost my life. For many less than me, how do they cope with something as life-changing as becoming a parent without any support?

Raising a family in America is an adversarial process. If you don’t have the time, money, family support, a sensible employer with guaranteed income, great health insurance. And You and your baby are lucky enough to avoid any medical complications you may not make it.

By forcing people who don’t want to be parents into this situation, we guarantee that more children will end up in poverty while their parents struggle to survive in a system that sets them up for failure. does. And while I overcame my own battle with postpartum depression, many parents won’t.

Forced parenthood will not provide parents with paid parental leave to care for their children. Forced birth The system will not guarantee homes for children who are struggling or living in abusive households. Depriving parents of reproductive health care does not ensure that their child receives health care. Death of cotton wool Not a single life will be saved.

Rather, it guarantees that more parents will suffer in silence, or worse, until they lose a battle that I easily won.

If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also visit and get support via text. suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat. Outside the US, please Visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention For the database of resources.

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