The first of September is a very important day in my life. It's the day I married my (strong, compassionate, intelligent) husband. Funnily enough, it's also my in-laws' wedding anniversary! It's also the signal that summer is coming to a close and fall is ALMOST here! Since autumn is my favorite season, that's certainly something to celebrate in my book! And it's also the beginning of Skirtember.
Skirtember is a movement that encourages all women to raise awareness for postpartum and peripartum mood disorders. By donning skirts every day for the month of September, women can spark a conversation to reduce the stigma that silences hurting mamas. While it's a simple act, and barely a sacrifice, the support is palpable.
As a mother who suffers from postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression, I can't tell you how much Skirtember means to me. It's helped me feel more comfortable sharing my own experience. The more mothers openly speak their truth, the easier it is for others to share theirs. For me, writing about my own struggles with mental health has been cathartic. You have been nothing but loving and gentle with me as I made myself vulnerable. There is healing in this exchange from mother to mother.
Since I love Skirtember and participate daily, I always have an eye out for women in skirts as I go about my day. If I see someone wearing a skirt on a slightly chilly day, I might even ask them: "Are you wearing a skirt for Skirtember?" If they enthusiastically respond, "Yes! Are you doing it too?" I've found a fast friend! But I'll be honest, I secretly hope they just stare at my quizzically. That blank blinking stare is an invitation to explain the meaning of Skirtember and how their clothes can make a difference in the life of someone who is struggling.
Let's be honest - wearing a skirt isn't going to magically cure anyone's mental health issues. It's not going to make it easier for women to access therapy, psychiatric care, or afford effective medicine. For darn sure it's not going to make my Aunt Mildred stop saying, "Oh, it's just the baby blues, you just need to get some more sun!" Really, Aunt Mildred? I'll show you where you can put that sun you're so fond of! It's a place where the sun has never shown before...
Take heart, wonderful mamas! The simple act of dressing in a skirt for the month of September still has power - power beyond what you'd expect! Skirts in these early days of fall can bring hope. They can signal to a vulnerable, hurting mother that you are a safe space, a safe person, a compassionate ear. They can broach a topic that is otherwise swept under the rug for fear of making people uncomfortable. Most importantly, they provide a community and a sense of solidarity that only mothers can foster amongst other mothers.
One in five women suffer from postpartum mood disorders - and if I listen to my gut, that number is probably a little bit of an underestimate. I am one of them. My best friends are in this fight with me. It's a literal fight for our lives in some cases - and we are going to go down swinging. Good thing skirts give you a full range of motion to kick the crap out of postpartum mood disorders!
Will you join me in participating in Skirtember? I can't wait to see your skirts in solidarity! Tweet me your pictures and I'll include them in a recap of Skirtember at the end of the month. @pi3sugarpi3.