Looking back now, I almost see my first few years as a Mum a blur. It’s hard for me to remember a lot of things. I remember feeling almost numb. I was definitely in survival mode.
When you are in it though, it’s not so easy to see. While its perfectly normal to have overwhelm, exhaustion and many emotions when transitioning into motherhood I got to a point about 6 months after my daughter when I realized what I was experiencing was much more than “normal” and the moment I realized this I remember being paralyzed in fear.
It was all so unclear I didn’t understand what was happening to me or when I was going to feel normal again.
I remember thinking to myself, I will never be the same after this. That was terrifying.
Before becoming a mother – I was a confident career focused woman who landed an amazing salary dream job weeks out of college. I loved traveling, seeing my friends and cleaning and organizing my space. Yes, you heard right. I LOVE cleaning.
Looking around at the disaster of a home that had become my world, I felt anything but confident or clean. Having moved to a new city 6 hours from my friends and family – I also had no career, social or travel plans in sight. At 25 and now a Mum of two, I felt like I had lost myself. Mostly I felt alone.
Then I felt guilt. Who was I to complain? I was blessed with a roof over my head – 2 beautiful babies and a husband who supported my dream to start a new business.
It was the guilt and the idea that I was just “ungrateful” that stopped me from asking for help early on.
More months past and I got to a point in my depression that I started having panic attacks. I couldn’t go to the grocery store without heart palpitations and remember leaving my basket in line and running out of the store. That the idea of standing in line for something meant in my brain and body that I was trapped and I couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. Who was this crazy person I had become?
I felt worthless, and ended up sending my daughter to daycare at only 10 months old because I figured she was better with someone else. Even writing this I am getting emotional. I have so much guilt when I think of all the moments I missed with my baby as I was laying in bed at home and while she was crying at daycare wanting her mum. I blamed myself for being too afraid to ask for help until I realized that I was in the deep end and figured that now I was too far gone to come back up.
My doctor had no recommendations for me other than medication, which out of personal choice I did not want to experiment with. I figured there had to be another way. An anxiety center gave me breathing exercises and some workbooks that when I read made me panic even more because in my mind reading them was me admitting I was sick. The breathing exercises didn’t stop me from having attacks, so I figured they were useless.
My husband didn’t understand what I meant when I would tell him in the morning I couldn’t physically get out of bed, or that my body hurt, or that I couldn’t breath or sleep. He told me to get over it, that other women had it much worse.
I never felt so alone and worthless, and all I desperately wanted was to be happy for my babies. To be a successful business owner because I needed something for myself outside of motherhood and that allowed me to be creative.
I missed my parents and friends terribly. Not that I figured any of my friends would recognize or relate to me anymore, but I still missed them.
Ouf. This is hard to write. If you recognize yourself in any of the above please read on.
I started to get mad. REALLY MAD. Mad that I had to work so hard to get “help”. Mad that nothing was working to make me feel better. Mad that my husband didn’t understand my suffering. Mad because I was sick of this illness controlling and numbing me.
So one morning I took a step.
Well actually a kick and a punch.
I found myself about 6 months after my first panic attack, sitting in a parking lot in font of a “30 minute HIT” center. A kickboxing circuit for women. Though walking helped, I knew my pent up anger and grief needed to come out somehow. Punching something sounded really good at this point. I struck up the courage to go in – and even though my anxiety was raging from the second I opened the door, I promised myself I would push myself to get through it. I figured if I passed out – I would be in good hands.
I hit those bags like my life depended on it, and even though I thought it would kill me I pushed through my panic attack and got through the circuit. Then I sobbed in the car on the way home. Not out of sadness but because I was proud of myself.
I felt like for the first time in a long time I had won a fight in the battle. I had stood up for myself. That the old confident me had surfaced.
So I kept going back. I had good days and bad days but slowly the panic attacks subsided.
Slowly I started having the courage to share what was going on with me to my friends and family.
I met my best friend in Montreal named Vanessa and she inspired me to stay strong, because she had been through so much herself yet she always found the strength to keep going. She was REAL and I wasn’t afraid to show my darker side to her. She was the first friend I admitted having panic attacks to and not once did I feel judged by her. I also convinced her to come kick some bags with me, so it was amazing to have an accountability partner in that!
Next, out of pure intuition knowing it was just the next thing to do I started organizing meetups with other Mum’s. I shared my experiences and what I was going through and quickly realized I was not alone. I felt so much relief in this. I started taking more pictures. I started going back to the grocery store. My husband finally understood, because I finally understood what had happened to me and was able to verbalize it.
Am I cured today? No. I still have waves of anxiety from time to time. I still feel guilty for not being present with my kids or lashing out at my husband because he “just doesn’t get it”. I still have to exercise and have an essential daily self care routine to ensure I can show up for my business friends and family.
Do I miss still miss the “old me” before becoming a mother? No.
As crazy as it is to say I am grateful for my first years of motherhood postpartum depression and all. It taught me to not take life for granted, to fight for what is important to me. To enjoy the little things, even things like going to the grocery store! To LOVE my babies more than I could have ever imagined, to love myself,have compassion for myself and to recognize how strong I am. How strong WOMEN are.
Oh and have I mentioned Jagger? He’s my therapy dog. He changed my life!
Thank you for listening to my story. As hard as this was to write – I hope it helps anyone to know they are not alone and there is light on the other side and that we are stronger more resilient and braver than we know.
For more amazing resources related to anxiety and postpartum depression check out : https://postpartumprogress.com/
or REACH OUT O ME! I’d love to chat. email@example.com
As a newborn and maternity photographer, I love having the opportunity to offer support and resources to new parents. I remember what it was like and feel fulfilled in my business when they not only end up with beautiful images – but also feel like they were supported through the process of becoming parents.
Another thing I LOVE? Supporting local businesses – so I browsed through some of my favorites and created a list of not only adorable items to buy for babies and kids, but also fun activities and parent support.
Enjoy and please let me know if there is a site that you think should be added to the list!
MÖMY is a Quebec company created by the passion of its owner, Lysiane, artist, passionate about design, and maternity. MÖMY is now a benchmark in the field of personalized posters and age graphics in Quebec and France.
https://momyboutique.com/ (Personalized age posters and other adorable graphics)
A Tous les Jours
A platform containing activities, tips, tricks, videos and printable visuals.
A Tous les Jours is aimed to serve early childhood educators and parents looking for activities or information on certain spheres of development (dimensions: emotional, physical and motor, social and moral, cognitive and language).
https://atouslesjours.ca/ (An online activity platform for 0-6 year olds)
By choosing Bébé Coton, here is what you encourage:
• a collection entirely designed and manufactured in Quebec
• 100% organic jersey cotton
• the absence of chemical pesticides and dyes
• an ultra soft material
• a completely hypoallergenic fabric, perfect for sensitive baby skin
https://www.bebecoton.ca/ (Natural baby clothing)
Pois et Moi
Pois & Moi has been fortunate to make many little ones happy, and this for more than 3 years by offering quality products such as pacifier clips, rattles and teething toys all more original from each other. Our products are distributed in more than 200 stores across Canada.
https://www.poisetmoi.com/ (Playful and Comforting Toys 0-5 years)
Trucs D’enfants / Kids Stuff
Kid’s Stuff [Trucs d’Enfants] offers non-gendered and evolving clothing, made in Montreal with eco-friendly fabrics, for children aged 0 to 8 years.
https://trucsdenfants.com (Ecological clothing 0-8 years old)
• Workshops on motor development for 0-5 year old and 6-12 year old.
• A My Toolbox training program to help you transform your teaching and interaction methods with children. We work the process of organization, planning and creation of activities.
• A range of workshops that are easily given in your childcare or school setting during which interact directly with the children while giving you the necessary background so that you can reproduce these exercises in your daily life independently.
https://www.vpbacademie.com/ (Workshops for children, tools for parents, gymfit / yoga classes)
• Collection for babies aimed for the development of the senses (hedgehog)
• Collection for the little ones which encourages imaginative play (dino, fox, raccoon, …)
• The collection for older children (8+) develops manual activities and imagination (creative sewing kits).
https://petitloulou.com/fr (Boutique Soft toys made by hand / Soft toys made to measure)
A company of natural baby and mom care products made from organic ingredients grown and produced in Quebec.
https://www.bamboudchou.com/ (Baby / Body Care)
Le Repère Familial
Le Repère Familial was born from the many passions of its founder: pregnancy, motherhood, childhood, parenthood, family, helping relationship and yoga.
Its mission is to offer support services for birth and family life.
It offers support to families and children aged 0 to 12 years.
https://www.lereperefamilial.ca/ (Family support for parents and kids 0-12 years)
Hey! How is everyone? Have you been taking lots of photos lately? I’ve been trying to find ways to make sure that my clients and parents all over are taking the time to capture the simple moments that we can catch during this time together inside. To stop and enjoy the little details we sometimes miss.
So I started a few weeks ago by creating a simple Guide for parents. Capturing Simple and Candid Moments at Home 📸 Grab you copy 👉https://bit.ly/39ywHMO
Now I want to take it a step further!
What will you all do with the images now that they have been captured on your phone or camera? I want to help you create a beautiful photo collage which can be purchased in digital, simple print, or even a framed print. (The simple and framed print include the digital file by the way.)
After you make you choice and purchase I will send you a private link where you can upload 19 or your favourite images from this time as a family that you would like to include in your collage. I’ll take care of the rest!
Albums are a beautiful way to tell your pregnancy and birth stories. Many of my clients opt to have one album designed from both their sessions maternity and newborn sessions. Its a beautiful way to showcase the growth and transformation that has happened in only a matter of weeks!
These albums comes in a variety or colours and designs. During you image reveal sessions which takes place a few weeks after your session date, we select the images you would like to include in the album. Before any order is sent to the photo lab you have the ability to view you album to make sure it is exactly how you would like it.