an honest look at postpartum depression pt 2

Postpartum depression, for me, has been such a hard thing to experience because it has caused me to be a slave to my thoughts and fears which I normally would not have. This fear, worry, and anxiety keeps me from doing what might bring me joy and often it keeps me from experiencing life that is right in front of me. 

I recently went to a Solly Baby event in San Diego with Leo and had a great time meeting new moms and hearing an inspirational talk on beauty and body image.  Our Solly is our favorite baby carrier and I knew I needed a night out so when they advertised on Instagram they were having a local event with food, wine, a motivational talk, and girl time, I was all about it.

One of my friends from college who was there said something to me that really made in impact on my life with regards to postpartum depression and anxiety. We were catching up and she asked me how I was doing and I vented a little on how hard it is to get out of the house with 3 kids and how it is easy to just want to stay home all the time. She replied (ES), "but, look, you're doing it! You are here and that's what matters!" She didn't know it in that moment but that was exactly what I needed to here. Those few little words gave me validation that taking a night off for myself was okay and not a total failure.

A light bulb went off in my head in that moment. Yes, Leo screamed for half the drive down, yes, I had to pull over to nurse, yes, I was stuck in 30 min of traffic, and yes, I had spit-up down my new J. Crew top the entire night. BUT I was there! I wanted to get out and do something for myself and I did it.  I usually say no to things that take a lot of effort because of the work required to actually make it happen and I am so glad that this time I made it a priority to get out and do something fun and different.

The night was filled with a room full of 100+ moms from all walks of life. Lindsay and Lexi from Beauty Redefined talked to all of us about how we are "more than just a body. See more. Be more." I originally didn't think I would get much out of the talk but I was surprised with how much I took away from the night. 

  I did a lot of people watching, like I usually do and tried to pray for those who looked like me, moms who can put a smile on but inside are battling with their own thoughts. These women were so inspirational to be around because many of them balance blogs, careers, and hobbies while simultaneously being a mom and wife. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from postpartum depression and anxiety please talk to someone. The worst thing you can do is battle this awful illness alone and there is help out there. For me, getting out of the house and doing something for me made such a difference in my life. I felt, for a few hours, like I still had value in purpose in the world besides being a caretaker in my own home. With help from God, my family and medicine I have not been having as bad of symptoms as I did when I had Calvin and is a victory to be celebrated

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a letter to moms about bathing suits.

Dear Friend, 

It's summertime and you know exactly what that means. The AC will be running all day, popsicles will be stocked in the freezer, sunscreen will be put on, and bathing suits will be worn. 

Don't be scared.

If you're a mom like me, your body is not the same anymore.

Whether your child came out via c-section, pushed out, or was born in your heart, you are not the same anymore. Your body is older now and more mature. Far gone are the days when you could wear a two-piece without having to worry about fat over-hanging or sitting down without showing some cellulite. This body you have helps care for children and a home. It is a temple that was perfectly and beautifully made, but it has some significant changes to it.

This summer as you stand in front of the mirror pulling and prodding at your suit, remember who is watching you. Your son or daughter is looking up to you even when you think they are not paying attention. They see your complaints and notice your lack of confidence. They see your discontentment. 

But they also see your beauty. To them you are the most beautiful person in the world. The fact that you are willing to put a bathing suit on to spend time with them will always be enough. They do not recognize your nursing breasts or that you had to get a new bottom two or more sizes larger this year. They certainly don't care how much or how little you spent to look half-way decent. 

They do care that you smile and enjoy playing with them. 

So this summer put on your bathing suit. Whichever one makes you feel beautiful. Do not judge the other moms who might wear something different than you would wear, but applaud her for stepping out and being bold. Don't compare yourself to her or to your friends who may not be in the same stage of life that you are in. Don't compare yourself to your younger, slimmer self, your sisters, or to your husband who gets more gym time than you and didn't birth a baby. 

For me, a two piece is all I know and what I feel comfortable wearing. For some, a tankini might feel more comfortable and for others, a one piece. Whatever the size or color, put it on and enjoy the summer because our days are numbered. 

Wear what makes you feel beautiful. Eat what makes you feel good. Play with those kids who are craving your attention.

Love always, 

A fellow mom who also looks twice in the mirror before stepping out in a bathing suit.

my one year postpartum body.

Max is a little over 12 months now and that makes me one year postpartum. This experience post-birth has been much different than it was after having Calvin. Much of this is because my expectations have changed. After my first pregnancy I assumed I would quickly fit into my normal jeans and that my tummy and hips would all go back to normal. But after giving birth nothing is the same and some things get better, some worse.  

So, this time around I didn't put any pressure on myself. I worked out if and when my schedule permitted and I came to terms with the fact that my breasts would never look the same, like never. Instead of looking at my jeans and feeling sorry for myself for my fitting into them I donated them. My sweet husband let me get any new pants I needed to feel confident and comfortable. I may be 3 pants size bigger than I was when I got married but I like to think of it as graduating into womanhood. My new body has unwanted sag, wide hips, a few stretch marks, a new chest size, a lot of new hair frills on my head, some under eye darkness, and a few new birth marks. My new body is also stronger, healthier, and is the only body I will ever have. I can chose to love this body and take care of it or I can chose to despise it. Thankfully, Nick is always helping build my confidence and affirming how he loves the way I look. If it wasn't for him making me feel beautiful I would probably question myself. 

I recently realized that I hear so many moms talking down about their appearance or their dissatisfaction for how they look. This only further discourages me and makes me more self conscious. If we all walked with more confidence in the bodies we were given and made these bodies a priority, then maybe we could change our perception of what beauty is (at least, just a little bit).

If we walked in truth about who God says we are and truly believed it than we would convey our beauty to those around us. When we walk with our shoulders down, slouched over, not caring about how we portray ourselves we are telling our kids and those around us that we do not matter. Your body has helped bring life into this world, that is something to be celebrated in itself. That is something to see beauty in. You may need some help sometimes to let that beauty shine (haircut, new shirt, manicure, some mascara) but make sure that even though you will never be the old you, the new you is just as important and worthy of value. 

My postpartum body is not what I thought it would be, it's much better. Each imperfection is a reminder to me on my value in Christ and the blessing it was to have birthed my two boys. I hope that I won't ever be that mom lets herself go. It is easy to put myself on the back-burner, but it takes selflessness and a little bit of time to care about my health and the way in which I present myself to my family and to the world. I hope that on those mornings when I feel too lazy to care about myself that I will remember I am a mom, wife, friend, daughter, and neighbor. I hope I will remember to walk in confidence and to find my beauty in Christ alone.  

Do you struggle with loving your postpartum body? Do you wish you could go back to your old self? Do you think you are beautiful? Do you care to give yourself a little love and attention?

 Our 5 year wedding anniversary aka Thanksgiving Day 

Our 5 year wedding anniversary aka Thanksgiving Day 

 One of my best friends who is always encouraging me. She exemplifies beauty that is shown from the outside in and reverse.

One of my best friends who is always encouraging me. She exemplifies beauty that is shown from the outside in and reverse.

 My pre-baby body that is forever gone but not necessarily missed. 

My pre-baby body that is forever gone but not necessarily missed.