Did you know that 1 in 7 of your friends have or will experience postpartum depression and even more will have postpartum anxiety… and it’s totally normal and it’s ok. It’s Maternal Mental Health Month (and Mental Health Awareness Month!) and I’m joining the Allegheny Health Network to share my story and help spread awareness. Whether you’re a mama, a new mom, a friend or family member of someone who is expecting, it’s important to check in.
Baby blues and postpartum depression are real, and you can’t prevent it- it’s not your fault. Whether it’s individually, a family member, or a girlfriend, we should all be more open about it so we can help each other. A lot of women have messaged me on Instagram asking how to cope with postpartum depression, anxieties as a new mom, and mental health during motherhood. And the reality is, I’m learning too and this is all new to me. It’s so common to have the baby blues, especially navigating a whole new lifestyle, and I want you to know that you’re not alone!
I went through my phone and chose the moments that stand out as the most emotional to me on this journey (SO FAR!) Although I didn’t experience postpartum depression, I of course have had my tough moments, days, and nights filled with anxiety and uncertainty, and the most intense love imaginable. These first 2 pics…I don’t even remember taking them. The date says it was on my birthday (Isabelle was 2 weeks old). I’m thinking I sent it to my mom to come back to Cali… or to Brian to bring me food/cake 🎂😅🤣 Some of these pictures I’m smiling— but that doesn’t mean my mind and heart weren’t racing. From not knowing if I’m doing it “right”, to not sleeping for months, breastfeeding every 2 hours…to the last time she ever latched on, not leaving the house for weeks, feeling like I can’t do it all, feeling like I transitioned to work too early, all the change and emotions, and HEALING physically— it’s a lot.
As a new mom, there are high expectations to breastfeed, have energy all hours of the night, to know exactly what to do, and to “bounce back” right away. What emotions did you feel when you first had your baby? One night when Bella was finally asleep, I just cried myself to sleep because I was beyond exhausted, my boobs hurt so much, my head was pounding, I was still healing and trying to stay ahead of the pain, Brian was sleep deprived too, visitors hadn’t stopped, and we hadn’t really soaked in time just us with our daughter. I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything right in this new role. Just when I thought I was alone in how I felt, the next night we were finally alone with Bella (no nurses coming in every hour at the hospital, no visitors at our house — just us for the very first time) and I looked over and Brian had tears running down his face. He was so overwhelmed with happiness and just all the emotions hit him — fear, exhaustion, a love stronger than he ever knew before, and the reality of being a father. Here are a couple pics from that night. I realized it’s important to check with our partners too because they go through so much with us!
I also cried when I got back from my first walk with Bella — I felt so overwhelmed with this new life. Getting out of the house was no longer a 6-minute out-the-door routine…it was a 40 minute or more ordeal. Your independence quickly turns into dependence with this little human that you love more than your whole life and you almost don’t even want to leave the house with them — you want to keep them within the safe walls of your home. You are forever part of someone and they are forever part of you. As I walked down the street I thought people were staring at me pushing the stroller. Did I look funny? Was I walking weird because I was in pain still? Did they know I was new to all of this? When I got home, I walked through the front door and I just sat down with her in my arms and cried, overwhelmed with love, fear, and anxiety of the unknown.
The worst I ever felt was when I went back to work and Bella stopped latching… I didn’t know what to do and I felt like I chose one job over the other… and that I couldnt do the most imporatnt job and role- feed my baby. This is SO COMMON and when I started EP, I would cry watching her drink from the bottle while I pumped. *** side note, I did not know about the comotomo bottle that mimics a boob! So that was part of the problem. I just didn’t know. The nipple sheild did help and I was able to get her to latch on one night at 3am and I treated it like it was my last and had my ‘last feeding closure’… and sure enough, that was the last time.
Anyway, I hope me sharing my story helps you as you navigate motherhood too. The amazing thing is ~ even with all these emotions, you ARE the best mama in the world to your baby. When things get tough, you’ll know exactly what to do — it’s in you. You were made for this. I promise that you are the most beautiful mama and your baby will gaze at you like you’re superwoman…because you are! I’d love if you also shared below — you never know if someone needs to hear your story.
And remember that if you’re feeling sad and think you may need help, you’re never alone in this journey. Reach out to your family, express it to your partner, and seek help from a professional. None of it is your fault — hormones can do crazy things! You can also visit Postpartum Support International to find resources near you.
My wish for new moms is to know you’re not alone in any of this and that other moms want to hear from you! 🙏 Reach out to family, friends, and a community of moms like the TIU team on the hashtag #TIUmom. community has been such an important part of my journey.
Sending you all my love,