I have thought about sharing this story so many times. But it is hard to share it. It makes me vulnerable, exposed, and maybe even seen. But it’s been a year and there has been so much healing, and I think I am ready, and yet I am scared. I share this story because I hope that other moms, other people, find a bit of hope in their struggle. I hope they find a bit of brave, strong, and resiliently.
This week, this Mother’s Day, is very important to me. This Mother’s Day is a celebration for me, because I have come alive. I have come into my strength, power, and self-love. But before finding my power, there was a lot of pain and suffering and feeling alone. A lot of hopelessness.
This year I am so grateful to be alive and so grateful that my 2 beautiful boys are healthy and doing well, and here is why. A year ago I had called my therapist on a Sunday and asked if I should go to the ER and admit myself to a 48 hour hold. Partly because I thought maybe I could sleep for a few days, partly because I felt like I was out of options. My almost 1 year-old kid was wanting to nurse all night and not at all during the day. And still not gaining the weight I was told he should. My thoughts were, I am up all night with this kid and up all day with my 3 year old and have nothing else to give and still feeling like I was failing. In addition to the depression and helplessness, I had a ton of anxiety. Most days I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Scratch myself out of my skin.
People who loved me were worried about me.
So because sleep seemed to be one of the main issues, I walked to a sleep group at the mama ‘hood Denver. And thank God. I could hardly talk because I was crying so much, but Allie, the person leading the group was beyond sweet. She looked at me and said, “We are going to figure this out, we are going to get you the help you need.” And they did. They saved my life and helped me to start living again. Allie referred me to the director of lactation, who looked at me and said, the depression is lying to you, your baby is healthy, small, but healthy, and I think you would benefit from an anti-depressant. My therapist and doctor agreed. I had been fighting and fighting depression/post-partum depression/anxiety for 10 months and I had tried everything. It was time.
And the real problem with my depression and anxiety was that I was tying my worthiness to my mental wellness. When the depression and anxiety was there I could not see that I was a good mom, doing my best. All I could see was that I was not enough. I was not doing enough. Didn’t have enough love. Energy. Or time. I could not see any impermanence.
The first 2 weeks of being on Zoloft was hard and almost harder than the depression. It was hard to get off the floor, I was a zombie mommy and my kids were so patient. I won’t tell you how much T.V. the kids watched in those first few weeks.
But slowly the depression and medicine fog lifted and found a more patient, loving, calm mama inside myself. The medicine gave me a pause before reaction, slowed down the anxiety and allowed me to be a much better mom – like really. And medicine is not the answer for everyone, but for me, for now it was and is an answer.
With the Zoloft on board I was able to have energy to start exercising more often and with more sleep I was starting to eating better. Even with these lifestyle improvements, on this medication I have gained 15-20 lbs.
For the last year I have been ramping up exercise, with two intentions: finding my strong, and of changing the scale number. I took a self-defense class. I ran 2 5k races. These two things helped me to relieve stress, feel powerful, and feel strong. Finding strong was so important. I needed to reclaim some power. I needed something to root down to. I needed to experience some resiliency so that when it got hard, as they do, I had something to ground down to. I need to know that I can do hard things. You can do hard things too, you know.
And it’s very hard to lose this weight. I have been eating clean, and well, and tried different diets. My core, my physical core and the core of who I am as a woman and mom, is stronger than it’s been in a long time. I can run more miles than I did before babies. I am training for a sprint triathlon and half marathon. And the scale isn’t changing. So that has been another challenge. Surrender. A challenge of self-acceptance and love – which may be a lifelong battle. Because it turns out I also tie my worthiness to that number on the scale. Which doesn’t actually serve me. So now I am on a new journey, a journey of surrender, and strong intentions, and yet again having more questions than answers.
How do I make movement a ritual? (thanks Finding your Strong with Sara for those words). How do I exercise to feel good? To build habits of health and wellness? How do I exercise to feel strong, not thin?
How do I make self-care a ritual? How do I create a lifestyle that gives me enough energy that I can make self-care a priority? I start with spending 2 min every morning with my hands on my heart and gratitude. And that’s a start.
How do I eat with the intention of nourishing myself? How do I eat to feel sustained and satisfied, rather than trying to change the scale? I am learning to eat intuitively and listening to my body (thanks Michele for recommending Food Psych Podcast).
It’s a process and thank god it is not perfect. Because if it was I would have missed out of some sweetness and struggle and learning.
And thank you. Yes you. For your support, love, and connection. Even if you didn’t know you were giving it. For all the ways you showed up for me. Thanks for all the mamas that showed up to my yoga classes. You were my saving grace. You got me out of my head, and into my heart.
Now I ask you. How do you move your body in ways that make you feel good? What makes you feel nourished? What is your struggle (because we all have one) and where are you going to find your strong? How are you going to make self-care a ritual? If you feel safe, send me a message and let me know.
When it’s good allow the joy and gratitude to fill every cell in your being.And when it’s hard, because it will be, root down. Root down to your strength, resiliency, and community.