Four Years Ago . . .
Mother’s Day 2016
Leading up to Mother’s Day 2016, I was launching the Grand Opening of my website: mommaleah.com.
This Mother’s Day I am remembering significant events of four years ago that have impacted my life. Isn’t it interesting how events line up to change your trajectory?
At that time, I had decided to stop working on my memoir—the story of my healing journey through postpartum depression and chronic illness—which at that time was titled Prozac & Prayer. Writing my story had been an essential part of my healing process. But in 2016, it was ten years after the events of the book had taken place. Certainly women were no longer struggling with postpartum depression. I figured that the medical world had long since solved the issues and that new mothers were receiving the diagnosis and treatment they needed.
So it was time to move on to other projects. I outlined a series of nonfiction mothering books and brainstormed a website called mommaleah.com where I would teach and share all things related to mothering. The vision was a website where mothers take classes, learn tips, find awesome tools and resources, and be part of a mothering community.
The website included a bookshelf (because I love a library!) where women could check out blog posts, classes, books, videos, and sample my favorite things.
The preparation included writing blog posts, recording video, designing webinars, and teaching a mothering class at the Provo Library.
There were sweepstakes and giveaways. Subscribers could win my favorite books or my favorite family movies. I was excited, but still, my heart wasn’t one hundred percent invested in this idea of teaching housekeeping tips and organization. (I mean, organization tips from me?)
Then something else also happened it 2016
In the process of planning, building, and preparing to launch mommaleah.com, I learned about the passing of Emily Cook Dyches due to complications of a postpartum-induced panic attack. Emily and I both went to Snow College. My brother was her middle school science teacher. She dated my husband’s best friend. Her passing was the wake-up call for me that maternal mental health issues had not been fixed and that there were real women still struggling to find help and healing.
As Emily’s family bravely shared her story, they taught me the power of story to bring healing, hope, light, and change.
So while going forward with mommaleah, I also pulled out my manuscript and tried to figure out how to transform my experiences from personal therapy into crafted literary narrative.
Working with an editor helped me learn how to let the story speak for itself. The manuscript got a new name: Lies of the Magpie and won 2nd place in the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition that year. The prize was $500, the first money I’d ever earned from writing.
Since that time, I have worked to fine-tune the story and also learn how to get it published. That is a long story for another post.
Here, four years later, this story is ready to go into the world.
I hope it will be found by a woman in need, so that she’ll know she isn’t alone and that another woman has been where she is. Most of all, I hope through story she will find relief, humor inside darkness, and the assurance that healing is possible.
Today mommaleah.com looks like this:
Typing mommaleah.com into your web browser now brings you to maleahwarner.com, an awesome website designed completely by Mr. Warner. You’ll notice that I have been podcasting for over a year and that the book Lies of the Magpie is available very soon. The vision for mommaleah is not gone, but revised. Rather than tips, tricks, and home organization secrets (I’m still looking for those), the website focusses on teaching healing for heart, mind, and body.
It is interesting to reflect on the past four years. The Emily Effect has impacted major changes on legislation to increase screening and resources for postpartum mothers. This is a mission I’m excited to be part of.