It’s Maternal Mental Health week!
This week is very important to me. First, I have my own beautiful and bumpy ongoing journey along the motherhood road. Second, there isn’t a single mother out there - your own mama, your sister, your wife, your friend - who hasn’t traveled a bumpy yet beautiful road to get them to where they are today.
Can’t we apply this to everyone? Heck yes. But this week, we are focusing on the mamas.
Here’s part one of my mama story. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!
My sweet and sassy Lillian was born after over 50 hours of labor and a c-section due to her head being stuck. That tough little nut was perfectly fine, but I struggled. I remember almost nothing from her first days on earth. I had two blood transfusions. When I went back for my two week follow up visit with my midwife, she told me my c-section was so traumatic that one of the OR nurses told his supervisor he would never work another c-section.
My attitude: whatever, dudes!! Time to show the world that I can do it all - work, “get my body back”, and do all the things - basically, act like this birth never happened.
But it did, and during the course of Lillian’s first year of life, I was lost. I left my job, joined a mom’s group, went back to working out at my gym, but I was just.so.lost.
One issue: postpartum depression and anxiety. Thank you, hormones and unattainable expectations set by me.
The other issue: not knowing how to ask for help and talk about my feelings to anyone - my husband, my family, and my friends.
So what happened? I was angry and resentful. My career was stalled, I was 10 lb heavier than usual (FYI - not everyone loses weight when they nurse), and I was so damn tired. I hated my life.
When Lillian was 11 months old, I went to therapy. Better late than never, right? I’ve been going once a month for 4 years and it’s been an essential part of my journey.
Do I have it all figured out? Certainly not. In fact, COVID-19/stay at home has triggered a return of that hopelessness and resentment, but I can see the sun through the clouds. Today, I write this feeling better than I have in weeks thanks to a supportive partner, better communication skills, and an understanding that it’s ok to feel whatever you feel (the good, bad, and indifferent).
It’s hard for me to share this. I lived according to a “grin and bear it” and “quit making a mountain out of a molehill” philosophy for a long time. For me, stuffing my feelings away and hiding under a tough, confident exterior is NOT the key to finding joy, peace, and success. I never would have discovered how to be vulnerable if not for motherhood.
If you feel lost or alone on this motherhood journey, please know you are not alone. Are stories are ALL important. You are important. Your feelings are valid and there is nothing wrong with how you feel. Let’s support each other. 🤝❤️