Jessica Wendi Abel

Having experienced postpartum depression herself, and when a second child was on the way, Jessica searched for a children’s book to read with her five-year old son about the changes their family could face. Unable to find a book like this, she decided to write one.  Jessica lives with her family in New York, where she works as a gluten-free pizza critic. Just kidding.  Jessica has worked in the field of education as a speech therapist and a school administrator for the past thirteen years. She is a fierce maternal mental health advocate and believes we need to raise awareness about postpartum depression (PPD)/postpartum anxiety (PPA) and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) through family friendly resources. Postpartum depression is the most common mental health complication of pregnancy and yet there are very few picture books on this topic. Jessica's writing has been featured on Motherly, Hello Postpartum, Welldoing, and Filter Free Parents.  This is her first self-published children's book.  

Award Category
Screenplay Award Category
Blending together fiction storytelling with supportive communication strategies, “The Little Blue Rocket Ship” encourages open dialogue about postpartum depression, a condition that "affects up to one in seven women" (March of Dimes).
The Little Blue Rocket Ship: A Story About Postpartum Depression
My Submission

MY MOM and I LOVE building rocket ships and launching them together. Even though Mom just had a baby, she still finds time to play with me.

One day, I asked Mom if we could build the tallest, most colorful rocket ship EVER. I had the best idea for it! Mom said no. She was not in the mood to build and I should go ask Dad. She never said this to me before! I didn’t want to build with Dad. I wanted to do it with Mom!

When Dad came to check on me, I asked him what was wrong with Mom. He said that Mom had postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is when a mom feels sad after having a baby. It was no one’s fault and it happened sometimes.

I raced to my room and slammed the door. I asked him when Mom would feel better. Dad said she was getting help from a doctor and a therapist. Even though Mom was sad, she would always love me. And with time, she would feel better.

I stomped my feet, worried it could take a long time. I wanted my old mom back.

Later that night, I built a small blue rocket ship and launched it from my window with a note that read: Bring my old mom back!

Each day, I waited for the rocket ship to return. I waited at the bus stop. I waited on the playground. I waited in my backyard.

One day, Mom and Dad gave me a t-shirt that read, Best Big Brother EVER. I was excited to wear my new t-shirt and build a rocket ship with my little brother! But when I gave him a piece to hold, Mom took it away and said he was too young to build.

I asked if she would build with me instead. Mom looked at me with sad eyes and said she wished she could, but she needed to rest.

I yelled at my mom and ran to my room, searching for signs of the little blue rocket ship.


Sienna Bates Mon, 20/06/2022 - 16:44

Though I can't see the whole story, it seems like this book does a great job of handling a tough subject for children. I think you did a great job! 

Ruth Millingto… Mon, 15/08/2022 - 23:13

This is a very moving piece of work and I really enjoyed it told from the perspective (and innocence) of a young child.  Beautiful, simple illustrations too. Congratulations.

catehogan Tue, 16/08/2022 - 08:14

A clear, direct prose, and an important message for young readers and families. This portrayal of PPD has the potential to help destigmatize the condition for parents as much as children. 

The Little Blue Rocket Ship: A Story About Postpartum Depression by Jessica Wendi Abel and Illustrated by Nathalie Kranich