Both of these days are important. Everyone should be able to have adequate and accessible prenatal and infant care, as well as mental health care and suicide prevention services.
But for me, having these days one after the other struck me as an odd coincidence.
My mother had minor complications when pregnant and birthing my brother, and then major complications with her pregnancy with me, I needed intrauterine blood transfusions and was born 6 weeks premature. After a lengthy NICU stay, I went home in doll clothes as I was still not big enough for newborn clothes. Also, needed to be constantly monitored because I was at high risk for SIDS.
And while I'm fortunate to not have lost a loved one to suicide, I am a survivor of multiple attempts by myself. The most notable attempt was almost 8 years ago now. Roughly two decades of physical and verbal violence and emotional abuse and neglect from my parents had resulted in a worsening battle with low self esteem, anxiety, depression, self-harm compulsions, and panic attacks. On a particularly bad day, I wrote a letter to my husband and parents, took a large amount of pills, and passed out sometime after the paramedics came, waking up a couple days later in the hospital.
How ironic and plainly twisted that when I was touching the line between life and death as an infant, my parents were devastated, but when I approached the same line as an adult, they were indifferent to my struggles. Not even indifferent, they seemed to enjoy escalating my pain and tearing me apart over my teen and adult years.
31 years since I was born and overcame that first hurdle.
8 years since I almost took my own life.
5 years since I made the decision to cut toxic people from my life.
Now in 2017, I am healthy and strong. I am managing my demons and taking everything one day at a time. I strive to take care of my physical health and mental health. It has taken a lot of work and healing to get this far but I am thankful for every day now.
World Prematurity Day, Suicide Survivor Day, and Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for my life.