Before I publish this I want to make sure that I say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the company I work for. It has provided me the opportunities to grow both personally and professionally over the last 4+ years in so many areas. I love my coworkers, the culture, and the future of the company.
With that said, no matter how much love I have for my job and the company that helps me provide for my family, it still is the toughest balance of time and energy I have ever encountered.
Once you become a Mom, your life shifts in so many ways. You have this new responsibility that must come before everything. It creates a constant battle of a Mama mind because as a “career focused” women, it is hard to put yourself and family first without guilt. I am not saying I don’t choose them without a second thought- but #workguilt is almost as bad as #momguilt.
BUT- as much as my company promotes “work-life balance” there is honestly, no such thing.
I will break this down in minutes for you.
There are 7,200 Minutes during the Work Week.
I spend about 750 of them awake with my son.
I spend 2400 of them in the office and 600 of them driving to and from the office..
The rest of the minutes are spent sleeping or spending time with my husband before I fall asleep but after Dylan does.
During the 750 minutes with my son, I have to get ready for work, get him ready for day care, feed him breakfast and dinner, give him a bath some nights and put him to sleep.
So we get maybe 200 of those minute to actually play, cuddle, laugh, and enjoy ourselves.
Who in their right mind believes this is Balance! I get to spend 10% of my work week with my beautiful family and enjoy them for maybe 2% of the time. Of course there’s weekends but is that really justifiable?
Why are work days so long?
Why are we obligated to stay in the office even if we can be completely productive in less hours and then have to find busy work or things to do.
Why is that the culture we have created as a nation?
I give so much credit to Stay at Home Moms… I couldn’t imagine being with them all day everyday- it’s not an easy feat.
But there has to be some sort of happy medium where mom’s can provide for their families while actually getting to enjoy being with them.
I was home for 3 months after my son was born, but I was battling a severe PMAD and when I was finally getting back to myself, I went back to work- now, I believe that helped in a way, but now that my son is at such an amazing, fun age- I would give anything to have more time to see him develop, grow, and LIVE his life with joy love and intrigue for all things.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa
If there is anything I have learned since being on this Journey of Motherhood, is that we need each other. We are such powerful women, however when we come together our power multiplies. WE are unstoppable. No matter our differences in looks, birth stories, or decisions for our children- we share a commonality unlike any other.
We have created life.
I have met the strongest human beings on this planet. Mothers who have went through struggle, complications, and loss. Mothers who battle their own minds every single day just to make it to the next. Mothers who have committed to themselves and transformed into empowered and centered women.
When we come together we can move mountains. We can unite in the most beautiful way. We can elevate one another in all areas of our lives. We can decide who we are and how our lives are created. We can live freely, joyfully, and in peace.
I know there is a “Mom Society” out there on Social Media that can be cruel, judgmental, over-opinionated and argumentative. I know that most women fear to step fully into their truth as Mothers due to this reality.
However, I am telling you that there is another version of the Motherhood Community. Filled with uplifting, inspirational Mothers that have fully embodied who they are meant to be, who support each other each day, who want the best for all.
I have found that community, and am building my own Collective of powerful moms to Revitalize their motherhood. To put the vitality back into themselves since beginning their role as a Mother. I want you to join in this group, I want you to commit to yourself, I want you to make the investment that will motivate you to put in the work.
I will be using terms like “acceptable” “normal” and “common” in this post. I want to disclaim that they are just terms to make you aware that you are not alone in these feelings, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions.
If you are a new Mama, whether your first, second, or sixth baby.
Each can have a very different experience. If you have gone, or are going through any of these, please know, it is Okay!
It is common to cry, a lot, for no reason
It is normal to feel exhaustion like you have never known
It is acceptable to not brush your hair, shower, or change clothes for a few days. But try to just for your own self care
It is common to not feel an instant bond with your baby
It is normal to think your baby is going to die in every situation and check to see if they are breathing every 10 seconds
It is acceptable to have scary thoughts about your baby, visions of doing the unthinkable to them, and possibly yourself (I promise)
It is common to feel anxious, sad-like realllllly sad, scared, overwhelemed, stressed, and on edge all the time
It is normal to feel like you are just going through the motions, waiting for the next moment of sleep, the next feeding, the next diaper change
It is acceptable to give up breast feeding in a couple weeks if it hurts like hell, or if you are stressed and not producing
It is common to take all your emotions out on your spouse
It is normal to feel like you are a complete burden if you speak up about how hard this is
It is acceptable to absolutely fear having another baby and have to go through this again
And even though, these next few are normal & common, THEY ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE!
It is NOT acceptable to try to fight this battle alone
It is NOT acceptable to stay quiet when you have these feelings and thoughts
It is NOT acceptable to not ask for support, help, and compassion from loved ones
It is NOT acceptable to not say anything because you are scared they will take your baby
It is NOT acceptable to refuse treatment, because it is SO treatable
It is NOT acceptable to think you aren’t a priority during this time
It is NOT acceptable to believe you aren’t worth having a joyous, magical motherhood
Even if you aren’t currently going through any of this but have in the past, it’s not too late to speak up.
You are loved, you are supported, you are worth it, you are important, and you are enough. If you are experiencing anything that was mentioned in this article, please please please reach out to a loved one, a trusted professional, or me! I have resources, contacts, and practices that can help you during this tough time. But you have to make the choice to speak up, ask for support, and receive the help. It is OKAY, mama!
One of inspiration to keep the faith, no matter what.
Kym did not only experience Post Partum Anxiety, but a very long tough road to conceiving her beautiful little Miracle.
She had five miscarriages, went into shock after labor, and continues to fight through her anxiety while learning the world of motherhood.
The baby also had breathing issues in the hospital and in her early months, which propelled Kym’s anxiety to the moon. She needed her husband to remain home for months to help her get through and also have other family members come to stay.
She experienced anxiety during driving with the baby, and constantly feared the baby was going to die. She felt like just running away from reality.
Her anxiety worsened when Zoe went through a sleep regression at 7 months because of her own lack of restful sleep for such a long period of time until she hired a sleep consultant and made the decision to let go of expectations.
Despite all she has been through, her light shines so bright. Her bravery and courage is what I admire most, she goes to all lengths to ensure her daughter Zoe is taken care of each and every day. She spares no expense to be the best mother she can be.
She wants Mamas to know it’s okay to ask for help during these times. Support is key and doesn’t make you any less of a mom.
So much gratitude for Kym and her willingness to share her story. Thank you, Kym.
…This is not who you are, you know who you are. Who you truly are. ”
That song, I have heard about 100 times since October, and no not an exaggeration. For anyone who has a toddler, you understand.
But not until I had my latest anxiety episode did it truly resonate with me and who I am. (Listen to that experience here.)
So I am sharing my PPMD story, for the first time in this much detail, because I can finally open up holistically about the thought, emotions, and actions that occured in those months following birth.
It all started on a Friday Night.
Up until that moment, I had felt empowered as a mom. I was dealing with recovery fine, I was proud of my “northern lights” as I called my new stretch marks because of the way they formed sideways, and although breastfeeding was a bit painful, I was okay with supplementing formula due to Dylan’s jaundice.
I even passed the PPD test my Doulas had given me just days before. Other than the incident with an inconsiderate nameless person that threw me into a tizzy a mere four days after having my beautiful son I was doing just fine.
And then John ran to pick up Chinese food, Dylan was in his pack and play. And thoughts of knives and him flashed before me. I instantly was anxiety ridden. Called my mom, who came by and walked with me til I was calm but the emotion just poured out. She called my doulas for advice. But again, it was Friday night so nothing anyone could truly do until Monday morning.
So that weekend, I was anxious, anticipating Monday thinking okay I just have to get to Monday. I was a mess. The thoughts kept creeping in, Dylan in the wash machine, Dylan in the bath tub, just any possible scenario he could get hurt in the house.
I went to the doctor’s Monday, he prescribed Xanax and Zoloft and gave me a recommendation for a therapist.
I filled the Xanax but not the Zoloft I barely took them but felt better just having them.
I scheduled an appointment with the therapist and just had to wait til I met with her to feel safe.
I was waiting for someone to validate that I wasn’t going to snap. That I wasn’t going to lose it. I had no idea why these thoughts were happening but I knew I was terrified.
For the next few weeks, I was in an anxious state almost constantly. I refused to be alone with the baby or by myself so each and every morning, I would wake up pack a bag and head to my mom’s house as John left for work. My sister was home too with my neice who is 3 weeks older than Dylan.
I would stay there until John got home then head back. This repeated every day, I could not even be alone downstairs too long. John could not even go out to his car to grab something without me freaking out. I just thought “it” whatever this madness was, was waiting for the one chance or moment for me to “snap”. Like it was something out of my control and external from myself.
I then started getting visions of hurting myself. Triggered by Chester Bennington’s tragic loss. It scared me to the core because he was such a positive person on interviews, and the song he had released with Kiera that I liked a lot then seemed like a warning sign to the world that noone picked up on. So needless to say my disorder took this information and ran with it.
Then there were talks of nuclear testing and North Korea, so thoughts spiraled of all impending doom and why are we even here, this world scares the shit out of me. I was seriously at a breaking point. And just a reminder I had a newborn who needed my love, care, and sane mind.
I only could only watch shows that were upbeat or mindless. I couldn’t see, hear, or talk about any news or headlines and would stop anyone who brought up anything that I couldn’t handle.
I couldn’t hear the word suicide and I couldn’t have a knife at my place setting or even on the table.
It was completely overtaking my life.
During this time, I went to therapy, I did meditate and self healed but it only helped in the moment.
So finally, I made the decision to go on the medication I was prescribed.
And guess what, it helped. I elongated my suffering a good three weeks because I was stubborn, embarrassed, and ashamed that I couldn’t beat this on my own.
It did take a few weeks to fully kick in, I slowly began feeling normal again, in control of my life. Not ridden with anxiety and fright.
I was able to go out in public without thinking the worst would happen. I was able to socialize with out someone saying something that would trigger me.
I was still cautious. But everything got better as the time passed. I still to this day have certain uncomfortableness with that word and still cannot watch any violent TV even like SVU.
Postpartum OCD changed me, that is for certain. But it does not get to define me as a Mother or the Women I am for the rest of my life.
I am still on the medication because it allows me to live empowered and be the person I am.
I am finally able to share, and beyond that I want to help others and spread proactive awareness about PPMD. Maybe this story would have been a little different if I would have known that PPOCD existed and I was a perfect candidate for it to happen.
I am so thankful for those in my family and the caring doctors, therapist, and doulas that helped me through this darkness. But now I am on a mission to be another Mama’s light.
If you are a Mama who went through a PPMD but want to rise above and not let it define you, consider becoming part of Revitalize Mama Collective that starts July 15, 2019.
Thank you for reading this to the end.
If you have any questions or want to talk, I am ready to answer and discuss. Dylan is almost two, I am finally able to create my definition of life.