Today I am so excited to share the first of a several part series on motherhood and it’s meaningful moments. Hailey and I have been talking for some time about wanting to create a community around the real and honest moments from so many different view points. We strived to find a diverse and unique group of moms that we have met a long our path and have impacted us in some way through their stories. I hope you’ll take the time to go check out each and every one of them for a different perspective on the journey that is motherhood.
Three months after our move to NYC, I could no longer recognize my own face in the mirror. Lilah was six months old and Aaron and I decided to put Edith, who was 2 at the time, in preschool because we both knew I was having “a hard time” ever since our move. What we didn’t know, was that I was in the throws of a pretty severe Postpartum Depression (PPD). We were still living out of suitcases, boxes were not unpacked, we ordered delivery for every meal, and most days I could hardly get myself out of bed.
Each morning I woke up with a sense of impending dread for the day ahead. It was as if I was having a complete out of body experience. I would get dressed, probably in something I wore the day before, make breakfast for the girls, change diapers, walk to the park, and I would sit as they played. I would watch them for hours and wonder why I wasn’t happy. Why couldn’t I enjoy being here with them? It was as if I could see myself with them from up above and I was screaming inside, “Play! Be happy! Shake it off!” but my mind and body couldn’t hear it.
I talked to my husband about moving to Charleston to be with my mom. I wasn’t even talking about bringing the girls with me. I thought they would be better off without me. I felt like I was making everyone else as unhappy as I was. I would think to myself, “You’re not a good mom. They deserve better than you. How can you be so selfish? What kind of monster are you? How could you not love every single second you are with them?”. It was a very dark, very scary time in my life.
One day, I picked up Edith from her preschool in Manhattan like I always did. Lilah was in the Ergo and Edith was having a really hard time. She wasn’t listening to anything I was saying and we all three ended up sitting on the steps of the Jay Street Metro Station crying our eyes out. It was rush hour and everyone was just walking around us when suddenly this woman stopped, picked up Edith and said, “Here, let’s be a big girl for you Mommy”. She walked us to our next train and just looked at me and said, “You’re going to be okay. This is the hardest time of your life.” And I believed her. I mouthed a thank you as the doors to our train closed and realized that I had been doing everything 100% on my own.
I hadn’t realized until that moment that the one thing I gave up when I moved to NYC was my “village”. I had a group of women that I met with every Monday from the time Edith was 6 weeks old until the day we left. It was my safe space to talk about the raw feelings you have as a new mother. They were my complete lifeline in those early days and navigating all of the “firsts” with friends you trust completely was invaluable. On top of those incredible women, I had Aaron’s Mom and her wife. I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing they were to us. Aaron’s mom came and watched Edith twice a week from the time she was 6 weeks old so I could go to the gym (and try to lose the 80 lbs I gained with Edith), do the grocery shopping, or just walk around the mall for an hour or two. They were always there to have us over for dinner or take Edith for the night so Aaron and I could have some alone time. Aaron’s mom was my best friend though each of my pregnancies. I must have cried on her shoulder a hundred times.
It has taken me a little longer to find my village here, and it is definitely not the same without family, but I think I’ve finally found where I belong. I have friends now who can just look at me and know I’m having a hard day, who I can share those intimate and sometimes dark feelings with, and who I know have my back when I’m going to need it the most.
How did you find your village? Is it family? Is it friends? I’d love to hear in the comments!
And be sure to check out the creative women in the #TogetherWeMother Series by visiting their blogs below:
Photo by Victoria Gloria