Motherhood is not always an easy journey. While I love and adore being a mother, there is much that I wasn't prepared for in the beginning stages of motherhood. There was so much that wasn't shared, no stories told about the mental health challenges that come along with being a new mother...the feelings of being scared, alone, overwhelmed and unsure of myself as I nursed, nurtured and took care of the new little being in my life.
For so many, motherhood can be scary, overwhelming and feel out of control.
My own journey with my first child, my daughter, exposed me to a world I knew very little about. This world is post-partum. Sure, I had read about it in the pregnancy books, knew signs and symptoms to look for, but never thought it would happen to me.
I was so wrong.
After having had an emergency cesarean, my daughter was born four weeks prematurely with several serious health complications. She was immediately taken from me, placed in NICU and then transferred to a Children's Hospital, far from where I was recovering. My birth plan and initial bond that I had planned and longed for with my new baby was stripped away in an instant. This set me up as a new mother with my own health complications, depression and trauma that took years to heal through.
I remember calling my friend in a panic that first day after delivery. I had no clothes that would fit my baby as she was only four pounds! My friend arrived hours later with preemie-clothes (that I still have) and I cried in her arms for hours. She may not realize just how much she helped me that day. I will forever be grateful for that kind gesture. It was bigger than life for me in that moment.
Luckily, (and I know how lucky I am), I have two healthy children and my daughter, now 14 and my son 12 are my entire world. I am so proud of the people they are becoming.
What a journey it has been. After my daughter was born, I had a family member tell me to "keep my birth story to myself", that it wasn't appropriate to share what I had endured, because it could frighten another mother to be. (Can you imagine)!
I was so angry with this idea! How could that be?! Unfortunately, my new momma exhaustion surrendered and sure enough, something inside me heard that voice and I tucked my birth story away...deep within a safe place I had created.
Over time, this festered and stirred. I began having nightmares, hot and cold sweats, feelings of extreme sadness, loneliness and fight/flight. My nervous system was stressed, I was overwhelmed, exhausted and my body didn't feel like my own.
I sought help for these feelings, and I was told that I needed rest and to go home. Eventually, I did find a therapist who helped me feel better, but it still wasn't enough.
After two years of feeling this way, I found a spiritual group of women that had also been experiencing similar symptoms. This group opened me to a whole new world of discovery and self-awareness. I began on a deep healing journey. My son was born right around this new discovery and my birth experience was much more harmonious (although another cesarean), which presented a new set of emotional chaos as I navigated having a two-year-old and a newborn.
Deeper healing ensued. Another layer of post-partum presented, but now I had the right support in place. I told my birth stories with pride!
What many in the health field don't share with mothers, whether you are a new mom or mom of multiples, is that post-Partum can last for years, even decades. Being a previous trauma survivor, I was even more susceptible to post-partum.
My own symptoms lasted for ten years. It was ten years of letting go of what others thought, asking for help, knowing when my own traumas were triggered and seeking deeper meaning into what motherhood meant to me. It was quite the journey and I had to learn how to gain control of my mind and internal navigation system. I became a Zen momma, learning yoga, mindfulness, self-hypnosis, tapping and many other alternative therapies to assist with my own healing. Many of which I teach today.
There is such importance in sharing our stories, walking side-by-side with other mother's, allowing for community to nurture and nourish us is just what is needed. Sharing our birth stories is an integral part in our healing and passing on the torch to those who are meant to be heard, seen and encouraged = ALL MOMMA's!
MOTHERHOOD is amazing, dirty, humbling, awkward, sensitive, raw and powerful! There are countless descriptive words to make up the word of MOTHER.
As a post-natal yoga instructor, herbalist, wilding (nature-lover), motherhood guide, wholistic living and life coach and MOMpreneur, I can attest to the ways of nature-based practices, organic living, getting raw within ourselves and finding spiritual strength in community, circle and sisterhood through motherhood! Sharing is bonding and bonding is forever.
Share your stories - dance, move and open your heart and mind to a new inner freedom. Wherever you are in your motherhood journey, there is strength in circling. There is power in gathering and there is healing in knowing you are not alone.
Post-partum is just one piece that some momma's experience. There are many other experiences and symptoms and it's up to us moms to educate, share and hand of wisdom (when asked) to those who may need it.
Come circle with me for a Motherhood event, being held at Motivate Barre in Amesbury, MA on November 4th!
Thank you for all that you do as Mothers! I'm excited to be on this journey with you.