I wanted to get a little personal this week, but before I get started I want to put a trigger warning on this post. This will be about Postpartum Depression.
What is postpartum depression and why does no one feel like they can talk about it?
The dictionary defines PPD as; depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
I think that’s a nice way to sum it up without going too deep. Unfortunately, that definition just barely touches the surface. Most women have been made to feel that there’s something wrong with them if they have feelings have sadness, overwhelm, anxiety, and anger following childbirth but the reality is we all go through hormonal changes but the varying degrees are what can separate our journeys.
Mine started a few days into being a mother, my counselor had warned me that the first 72 hrs post birth is when the biggest hormonal shift happens. I listened and I thought I was prepared. I had left the hospital 24hrs after a 13hr birthing process where I was only at the hospital for about 5hr and 41min of all of that. I was lucky enough to have had my husband home for the first week of being parents where we basically locked out the world besides my awesome mom who brought us baby goodies and let us take showers. Those 6 days at home we slept (okay, he slept), watched way too much TV, and loved on our newborn son. Seven days went by and it was time for my husband to go back to work, I definitely again thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. At all. I spent the next 3 weeks in my bathrobe and pajamas basically 24 hrs a day trying to nurse only to discover my sons latch just wasn’t going to work for us. I switched to pumping full time, feeling even more like I had lost all control of my body and myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that my body was able to provide for my son for the 9 weeks it did before I got sick. But here’s the deal, postpartum for me was sneaky. It was full of isolating, crying, and thinking I HAD to do it all.
Being a brand-spankin’-new mom, wife (less than a yr), and entrepreneur meant that I felt like I had to have the clean house since I was staying home, the perfect child, and I hoped my business would be successful. Besides a healthy child none of this happened. I showered maybe 2x a week, my house looked like a bomb went off, I was hating my body on the regular because I had gained (a healthy amount) weight and my body looked foreign to me, all I wanted to do was sleep and the crying baby really got under my skin (I always take care of little man, don’t worry), and most of all I was doubting our choice to get pregnant in the first place. My husband, bless his heart, had no idea how to help me and still doesn’t. He tries so hard to do the dishes and help when asked but most days its even hard to look at him, but he doesn’t know that. But that’s the thing, postpartum depression looks like so many different things for different people. Personally, like I mentioned it was isolating… which meant I had to force myself out the house and to stop bingeing on netflix drama series crap. It was crying… over nothing and everything. I remember sitting on the couch talking to my son about how great he was going to be and how he could do anything when he grows up and bam, it hit, the tears and I KNEW PPD was in my world now. I let it take over. It took over my relationship with my son, my husband, friends, and even my business.
About two weeks ago I read this article about the 100 days of darkness, basically the 1st 100 days postpartum and it talked about how big the adjustment is and how dark it is for most mothers. Nothing magic happens on day 101 but as baby adjusts, life balances, and as time progresses the darkness lifts. I believe it. We are about 120 days into this parenthood thing and the fog is lifting. I’m starting to get some consistent sleep, business is beginning to flourish, and my relationship with my husband still sucks… but that too shall get better, I think we need a date night eventually.
For those who have battled out PPD and succeed, I applaud you. This is a hard cycle to go through and most you battled it for months and maybe even years.
For those of you who are where I am, in the midst of PPD and the side effects of it that bleed into every aspect of your life, we are stronger than the PPD and this too shall pass.
Strive for progress not perfection. If you are tempted to worry, fret or obsess ask the Lord to remind you to, pray, trust and let go. -Liz Curtis Higgs
Someone once told me “You are a sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with.”
When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced whether we like it or not- by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. Although we are each our own person, research shows that we are more affected by our environment then we think.
So the question is: Who do you surround yourself with?
Are they people that are positive? Do they push you to your full potential? Do they encourage you and your ideas and dreams? If they answer is yes then you are doing a great job at choosing your friends. But If you think about your friends and words like negative, discouraging, unmotivated and unsupportive come to mind, you may want to re-evaluate those friendships and if they are worth sacrificing your goals and dreams for.
We are only as strong as our weakest link and if someone is constantly pulling you down its gonna be extremely hard to reach your full potential. Don’t let toxic relationships drag you down.
Take some time and really think about who you want to surround yourself with. For me, I want to be around people that will constantly propel me forward. Friends that aren’t afraid to push me out of my comfort zone, that want me to succeed and will encourage me every step of the way. Don’t settle for anything less then the BEST!
Do you ever have activities that you dread doing or going to? Have you ever sat down and asked yourself, will this bring me joy/excitement/goodness?
Honestly, I’m not the best at doing this and that’s why I wanted to share some wisdom that I’ve learned along the way. We all must learn to say NO to the things that do not serve us. If we say NO to everything, of course that’s not good. What I’m getting at is saying NO to things when you know in your heart they will not improve your life. Do make sure you are saying YES to things that will bring you out of your comfort zone to experience life in greater ways, because those things will typically lead to joy and growth.
I’m a YES girl. I need to be more of a NO girl. What about you?
I say yes to more than is good for me, but I have learned over the years what my boundaries are and what activities light me up or drain me. I love spending extra time chatting with girlfriends over coffee, but I don’t love picking up that extra shift at work. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people but I will say NO when I’ve hit my limit and need some me time. Personally, I think it’s so important that we learn to find balance in our lives and learn to recognize what fills our cup and what drains it.
Lately, being a new mom and newer wife has meant my life is out of balance and it’s been okay but now I’m ready to get back to finding Mariah – again. This will mean perfecting the great balancing act of friends, family, and self which is difficult for most women. We feel like we need to be all things to all people and that just isn’t the case. I promise you that your sanity is more important than the extra 5 hours of work that week (if you get a choice), the birthday party of your husband’s coworker, the 7 loads of laundry that need to be done and the bathroom that needs to be cleaned.
I dare you to take a cold hard look at what you’re doing to check if it aligns with your dreams, passions, and core beliefs. Are your activities and relationships bringing you joy? I challenge you to list out things that fill your cup and those that drain it, it will help clarify what to say yes to and what to say no to in your life. This is a step towards regaining your balance.
I’m so excited that Carly Cloer has given us some of her time. In this video she will talk about how she finally found her passion after years of searching for the right opportunity to be in business for herself.
Carly is a wife, mom of two boys, entrepreneur, and resides in Washington State, USA.
Time management… why is it important, and what can I do to get things done? I used to wonder the same thing. The problem for me started when I would make a mental list of what I wanted to accomplish instead of writing it down. Unfortunately, this led to me going to bed exhausted and feeling little was achieved. I truly didn’t understand how to break this vicious cycle of waking up every morning with my goals for the day but somehow not getting it all done.
It wasn’t until I was talking to a friend about it that she asked me a simple question:
Are you scheduling out your day?
What do you mean? I asked. She reminded me that everyday there are always certain things that will happen. I am a mom, so of course I will need to love on my 2 boys and make sure everyone stays alive and unharmed during the day. I will need to change diapers, do laundry, prepares meals and so on. The problem was that I would get so tied up in my day-to-day activities I would end up forgetting about my goals for the day. By the time 11pm would roll around I realized my personal goals had not been achieved. She encouraged me every morning to write out not only my goals for the day, but when I was going to accomplish them. This meant that for me I get the bulk of my work done during my youngest’s nap time. I was amazed at what could happen and how much focus I had when I set aside the time each day.
The daily activities and chores do take time and should be planned out just like our goals. We are wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, professionals, entrepreneurs, and so much more. We are nurturing, and because of that often times put ourselves on the back burner. The thing is, we can do both! Sometimes it takes being creative and a little sacrifice, but in reality a big factor is time management.
I encourage you today that if you feel like you are failing at getting things done, to take a day and make time in your schedule for the things important to you. I think you will be surprised how much we are capable of.