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Sandusky mom writes flip-the-flap book on maternal mental health

The book "Where'd I Go" was inspired by Raquel Kelley's own struggles.

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Wednesday is World Maternal Mental Health Day, and one local mom talked candidly to us about the struggle of not finding time for her family, personal, and career goals- and what she's doing about it.

Just a few years ago, Raquel Kelley was in LA, living out her career goals as an entertainment journalist. She was working as a producer for Fashion Police with Joan Rivers, and writing for Huffington Post.

But she had family goals as well.

She gave birth to two beautiful daughters, and afterwards made a decision many mothers understand- moving closer to family for support. But that changed more than just her location.

"I kind of lost myself along the way? My dreams, my goals, and what I wanted, and so Where'd I Go is what I went through after having the girls," says Kelley, explaining the inspiration for her new book Where'd I Go.

The book shares what moms don't always talk about: the intense toll having a baby takes on your mental health, and the way it changes your life. Raquel says after her second, she suffered extreme post-partum depression.

"I can remember having a conversation with my husband where I said I don't think you know how bad this is," she says. "I don't want to wake up in the morning. I don't want to wake up I don't want to be here. When I see her smiling 3-month-old face, I feel nothing."

We also featured her story in our "Mom Squad" podcast, which you can download wherever you get your podcasts.

She also shared those thoughts with her mom. After one conversation- the spark to write Where'd I Go came. Raquel says she stayed up until four in the morning imagining how she could relate on a real level to other moms.

"That night though I got creative, I got quiet, I allowed myself to think. And as I was thinking it just started flowing. And I was like wait a minute, what if it's a pop-up book,'' Raquel remembers, "And it's about our journey, our emotions, our bodies, and everything we go through, but it's a lift the flap book form."

Raquel hopes the lift-the-flap form makes the journey of motherhood softer, more relatable, and even funny. So that every mom knows, there is a bright side, and you are not alone.

"It's ok, it'll come, just be in it. Be in the diaper changing, don't wish these times away. Be in it, be present, you're going to get to the other side, you'll get to the light, it's ok."  

The book comes out June 7th. You can pre-order it here. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Mental Health America. There is a Q-R code on the last page of the book where you can learn about the group, and even get a free 3-month subscription to Mindful Mamas - a mediation app for moms. 

Editor's note: the video above is from an unrelated story on mental health published on February 23, 2022.