Being a First Time Mom, Again.
After the birth of my first child I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety. I remember people telling me “it was normal” to feel what I was feeling and I remember thinking to myself “if this is normal, something isn’t right”. I had my second daughter in November 2018 and had the amazing fortune of having my mother, brother and sister in-law here to help for 10 days after the birth. I delivered my daughter at 10:14pm at the Birth Center in Boulder Colorado and was home in my own bed before 3am that next morning. I slept in my own bed with my brand new daughter and a house full of people who supported and loved me so incredibly through the labor. Only 19 hours after delivering my daughter I was at my oldest daughters Kindergarten Thanksgiving performance, baby and all. I felt euphoric, alive, whole and complete in a way I had never felt before. Now I know that being a first time mom and being a seasoned mom bring two different experiences in and of themselves but this was something deeper than motherhood, this was support at the most basic, raw and primal level. After my eldest was born my mother had to leave three days after coming home from the hospital. The world caved in on me when she left and that cavern within myself lasted and festered until it became depression, fear and anxiety. I reached out to my doctor, I got help and I healed; it took me years to heal from the postpartum transitions I experienced. Becoming a mother was the single most incredible experience of my life. The joy and fulfillment I felt after both my daughters being born was incredible. The support and love I felt for myself was completely different after each birth and that made a difference.
Please do not tell a woman in the postpartum period that what she is feeling is normal. No experience is the same and therefore each is unique and while the ups and downs are expected, I believe that normalizing the depression and anxiety can be dangerous. Please tell her you support her, and are sorry she feels sad or lost or scared or anxious. Please do not tell her not to worry or to stop trying to do so much or that she needs to just relax. Please remember that a mother who is in the postpartum period is wounded and is healing and is for a short time transformed into something that is both perfectly primal and yet completely unmatched for society as we have it set up. A woman who is healing in her postpartum period should be surrounded by those who love and support her fully.
In 2019 I wish everyone support, love and healing as that is what we all deserve. Parents and non-parents alike.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.