What Do I Say?
Originally, months ago when planning this episode in anticipation of being on “maternity leave” for a bit, I was going to talk about a productivity tool I really like using. As we got closer and closer to release date I thought, “Is this productivity tool really the most helpful for YOU right now?”
Is it what you want to hear right now?
I prayed about it and came to the conclusion that I didn’t think so.
I thought that giving you my (very) quick postpartum update would be more relevant and real for you and also offer more hope and joy than a productivity tool.
On today’s episode. I want to tell you about the postpartum period here in recovery at about six weeks while we have been sheltering in place. So I wanted to just do a really quick update because I am tired, my friend, physically and mentally, and I know you probably are too. So I’m going to keep this brief overall.
Overall, postpartum has been really good. Not going out with quarantine restrictions in place has kind of relieved that pressure that I tend to put on myself to get back to doing things. There’s no pressure to go places or put on makeup if I don’t want to. Or put on real pants if I don’t want to. That’s totally normal in quarantine to sit in your pajamas all day long, if you want to, right?!
I’ve been focused on relaxing and recovering and taking care of my kids, taking care of myself. And I realized that’s a wonderful privilege that I do have that. I am fortunate to be in a position where I’m not stressed about finances or my own health. I’m extremely thankful.
There are a few major differences for quarantine postpartum. Obviously we’ve had no visitors at all. I really miss hugs and seeing friends and family.
There haven’t been any extra hands or feet to help out either. And I know that’s been wearing on my husband too. He’s been so amazing about helping out and relieving me and seeing when I really need to ask for help, which I’ve been really working on that. That has been a game-changer for me this time around.
My Mental Health
My mental health has been much better because I have been better about asking when I need things or accepting help when I really need it. He’s always reminding me when I’m over here trying to fix my daughter lunch and juggling the baby and the baby’s crying to ask for help.
I’ve been pretty positive this time around. I just credit that to the peace that only God can provide and what God has put in my life in terms of people to speak into me as a mom over the past a past year on the podcast and past four years as a mom. That experience and to be prepared mentally for what comes postpartum has made this whole transition easier.
I’m feeling more bonded to Henry than I did with Claire at this point. I know a lot of moms don’t bond as quickly with their babies. I used to think if I said that out loud that I was a horrible mother. But now I know that is absolutely NOT true. And I know other moms felt this or are feeling this way too.
With my first child I had some hormonal things going on and some challenges that I had, and I didn’t bond instantly with her. It took a while. Of course, I love her more than I can put into words now.
But with Henry, I just feel so bonded to him already and generally feeling really positive, even with everything that’s going on in the world. So again, I credit that to God and everything that he has put in my life.
Introverted in Quarantine
I still struggle some days with being present. That’s the biggest thing for me in quarantine. Some days I easily see the smallest moments and the smallest miracles with my kids, and there’s a sunny day, watching them learn something and I’m slowing down for sure.
And sometimes I’m in my head a lot and have trouble being present. I know all you introvert moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about here, but as an introvert, I can go a long time without talking to other people or going to crowded places. Sometimes I avoid going to crowded places when there’s no quarantine.
You’d think that would be an advantage while we’re all sheltering in place and not supposed to go anywhere. But really what that means for me is that my inner thoughts start to turn up the volume. My mind starts to just get cluttered, I doubt, I worry, I get anxious.
And when that happens, I stop and I catch myself and I’ve been trying to coach myself through it. I’m so much more aware of those thoughts now. I’ll take a second to just pray and center myself.
I tell myself…
” I don’t need to prove anything or achieve anything to be worthy of, love my voice and my opinions matter. Even if nobody hears them or validates them.
My presence, right where God has placed me at this moment. Right now. It matters. Just be present.
My children will remember how I loved them. Just love them well.”
I know there’s a lot of other things that go along with that, but I’m here. I’m doing the best I can. And I know that the best that I can do is enough.
Maybe you needed to hear that for yourself today too. I don’t know.
Also know that I’m constantly trying to be better.
No, I will never be perfect. I mess up a LOT.
I’m Listening. I’m Learning.
Speaking of messing up a lot. As I wrap this up, I also realized, again, that I am very privileged to be able to experience birthing and postpartum in quarantine the way that I have. This is my story. And I know my story is valid as valuable.
I say all the time, that your motherhood story and your journey matters. I honestly, genuinely mean that. Every mom out there has a story and it’s worthy.
Every journey is different and they’re all valuable and need to be shared. I can only tell my own story, BUT I CAN use the platform of this podcast to have moms of all different backgrounds and races and ethnicities share their own motherhood stories in their wisdom and experiences.
I promise I will do better about seeking and reaching out to give you a platform to tell your story too.
There’s a lot missing in the conversation about motherhood right now from moms who are not middle-class, white moms, as well as acknowledging and trying to fix disparities in perinatal health care that happen with women of color.
I’m listening. I will do better about seeking you out to have you share YOUR story and supporting YOU too.
“38% of new mothers of color experience perinatal emotional complications like depression and anxiety. Women of color experience these complications at TWICE the rate of white women.”Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color (https://pmhapoc.org/our-why/)
60% of women of color do not receive any treatment or support services for perinatal emotional complications. Reasons for this include lack of insurance coverage, social and cultural stigma, logistical barriers to services, and lack of culturally appropriate care.”Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color (https://pmhapoc.org/our-why/)
I talk about
- How I’m feeling mentally & physically during my immediate postpartum weeks with my second child during the coronavirus crisis.
- What my days look like
- And I offer some encouragement for you
Links & Resources
Moms who are Women of Color to follow and get great motherhood information:
Dr. Jazmine (themomdocpsychologist) – Helping exhausted & overwhelmed mamas understand + connect w/ their little ones.
Nicole at Polished Playhouse
*If you have others to add, please send them to me!
Postpartum Mental Health Support:
Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color (a program within PSI)
Postpartum Physical Fitness:
Rediscover Your MUSIC program by one of my favorite podcast guests Katherine Sylvester (hear her episodes HERE and HERE) And she’s just an all-around incredible human being. Go follow her Facebook page for fantastic tips and exercises.
More about the Gotcha Mama Podcast:
The Gotcha Mama Podcast is where we share honest stories of the joys and struggles of mom-life with young kids.
Each week host Amanda Bennett interviews a mom about topics ranging from awkwardly making mom friends, to chasing BIG dreams and finding purpose, to managing crippling anxiety and depression. You’ll hear stories from moms like you with the purpose to inspire, encourage, and entertain you.
We understand that motherhood can be lonely and make you doubt yourself. The Gotcha Mama Podcast exists to let you know that you are not alone as a busy mom of young kiddos, no matter what you’re dealing with.
The show is all about tearing down our insecurities as moms by honestly sharing our stories and a little of what we’ve learned along the way.
We believe it’s a whole lot better riding the rollercoaster of motherhood together!
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