How can you know what to expect when a baby is on the way? Honestly you can’t. I couldn’t have possibly been more shocked, disappointed, overwhelmed and overjoyed all at the same time when I become a mother. In hindsight, I needed to be graceful with my expectations and allow room for variance. I was seasoned and educated in Early Childhood. I had no doubt I’d be a natural success, but I was quickly humbled by motherhood.
If you’re anything like me, you have dreamt of your baby’s birth and imagined those first moments touching their sweet silky skin. You may have read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, talked to all your momma friends, but you may still sail through the sea of the unexpected. It almost seems that the more you prepare, the more challenging it is once that sweet baby is in your arms. If it doesn’t play out the way you had imagined, it can create a very heavy cloud of sadness, grief, disappointment, and/or mourning. And we won’t even touch on the mama guilt that then piles up for having had these emotions. It can be seemingly impossible to feel like you’re getting your basic needs met.
Personally, those first few months I felt like something was wrong. I felt like I was the only one that felt that way- that was, until I walked into that postpartum support group and found myself surrounded in solidarity. Every woman that spoke was speaking my story and crying my tears. I wanted to burry my face into every single one of them. I made some of my most treasured friendships in that room. I discovered that I didn’t need to suffer alone, and later would find out that I didn’t need to suffer at all.
Though this scenario is so very common, these emotions can bare a great weight on your heart and ability to thrive during those first days, weeks, months or even years of your motherhood journey - but they don’t have to. The resources available are plentiful and can truly make a powerful impact. It can feel intimidating walking into a support group or even sitting one-on-one with a counselor; however, these are women that have walked or are currently walking your path. They know this pain from their own hearts and have relived their birth stories over and over again in their minds like you may have. They, too, may feel/have felt isolated and disconnected. Or they may have also experienced a loss of a baby or pregnancy like you. Solidarity is powerful, and it can make space for healing.
Postpartum mood disorders are far more common than most believe. The statistics say that 1 in 7 women are affected (American Psychological Association) which translates to nearly 15%; however, this number even seems low. This may be in part to the lack of public dialogue regarding the subject. Many mothers suffering through postpartum mood challenges don’t speak about them openly because it carries a strong stigma. Rest assured- you are no less of a person, mother, wife, etc. for having this experience. If nothing else, you’re far more fortunate because you now know what emotional pain truly feels like and you’ll appreciate the good days so much more.
Women are powerful. We can do excruciatingly hard things and with a supportive community, we can come out the other end stronger, enlightened and empowered.
Kim Kriesel, MSC, LAC, NCC
Locations in the East Valley (Telehealth Sessions also available)
Contact me directly at (480) 319-4413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.wellmamas.net