Hear Me Roar
May 2023 Issue
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography
Postpartum Support Advocate
Tell us about your family:
I recently celebrated 10 years of marriage with my bestie. We have two beautiful children, an 8-year-old son who is never wrong, and a 2-year-old daughter who is always right. So you can only guess how loud and fun my house is at any given moment. I was blessed to be born into a family of wonderful and supportive people. My parents and siblings' love and support for me is unmatched.
What did you love most about having your first child?
My initial answer to this question is for the first time in a while, I didn't feel like I needed to cover up at the beach! (HaHa) But I'm sure you want something deeper: I loved discovering the magnitude of what my body could do. Honestly my journey with postpartum advocacy and studying to become a doula started with my amazement at my body bringing life into the world. I was reading all the books because I wanted to know more and learn how it works.The fact that my internal organs were shifting to make way for my uterus to hold my baby was mind-blowing.
Had anyone ever talked to you about postpartum depression (PPD) prior to delivery?
I don’t recall. I remember it being a questionnaire at my postpartum checkup. What’s funny is I read a lot of books and downloaded many apps about preparing for birth and pregnancy, but I don't remember a lot of info on PPD. Or, I could’ve overlooked it cause that wasn't going to happen to me. But to answer the original question, no one talked to me about it prior to birth. In fact, I once asked a childbirth instructor why this wasn't covered more in childbirth classes, and she told me the thought behind that decision is they don't want to scare new moms.
How did you know you were experiencing postpartum depression?
Initially, I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what. I just knew I was constantly filled with anxiety, and I felt empty. I was so excited about having my first child and almost immediately after giving birth a switch went off, and I felt nothing. I now know my trauma from my childbirth triggered this.
What advice would you give to new mom’s who are experiencing postpostpartum depression? Remember that this happened to you. No one goes into childbirth wanting to feel a disconnect from their child. Do not allow guilt or shame make you feel like you don't deserve to make your way through this. You are not alone, and sometimes love comes before bond, and that’s OK.
Did you have moments of joy during PPD?
What did it feel like? How did it make you feel as a new mom?
I don’t remember having moments of joy, but I do remember having a glimpse of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. One morning it was just me and the baby. I had just finished nursing, and I was holding him. I remember holding him and looking at him, and at that moment I cried. I cried to my weeks-old baby and told him that I was struggling but promised to get through it. I begged him to please be patient with me. It was the first time I acknowledged to myself that I was not doing OK.
Did this affect your second pregnancy?
Emotionally, it did. I was nervous I would experience PPD again but this time with a toddler at home, and that scared me.
What were your best resources and support systems to help you through postpartum depression?
My family and my faith. I also joined a postpartum support group.
What is the best thing to come out of your journey with PPD?
The best thing to come out of my journey was that I made it out. It also revealed a passion of mine for postpartum support.
What would you say to those who feel hopeless?
To the hopeless I would say look for the light at the end of the tunnel. If you have to take it day-by-day, or minute-by-minute, it’s OK. At some point in the midst of your darkness there will be a sliver of light.
What are you currently “roaring” about?
First, I'm so proud of myself for self-publishing my first children’s book, Mommy’s Smile. It is available on Amazon (and please request it at your local and big box book stores). I also have two postpartum journals available on Amazon. I thought I would be one and done, but I've been bitten by the author bug, and am currently working on my next book.
I'm also roaring about being on an entrepreneurial journey. My passion for postpartum support has led me to start a non-profit with goals to put a dent in the maternal mortality rate. We are still in the early stages but the goal is to increase awareness, educate, and provide support for preeclampsia patients. Preeclampsia is one of the top three causes of postpartum complications, which I had with both of my kids. I also just soft-launched a postpartum apparel line on Etsy called Sincerely Mommyhood!