When I became a new mum I was under the impression that the love I would feel for my baby would conquer all, that the reward would far out weigh the hard times, and that having a healthy baby was the only thing that mattered.
What reality looked like was a hot mess.
I didn't sleep, I was struggling to breastfeed to the point where I would cry if my husband bought her near me for the fear of the pain that was to come, I cried most of the day for the first 6 - 12 weeks, I wasn't eating, I was anxious and finding it hard to connect to my baby, I felt like I had lost my identity, I couldn't string a sentence together, my organs were trying to escape out of my vagina, I withdrew from my friends and family and felt like I was failing at something that 'should' have been able to naturally excel at.
In fact that photo above was one of my worst days, I woke up and tried to cancel my session with the amazing Caroline Moylan Photography but luckily on the day she had some advice that allowed me to get through it - I would have regretted not having those precious photos.
If I am totally honest - I lied on my post natal depression scaling test so that I didn't have to admit to anyone that I wasn't coping.
Turns out my daughter had turned up to be my greatest teacher - school me in a few lessons that I needed to be made aware of.
1. It is ok, to not be ok.
First rule of being in the mama club is - it is ok to say that you are not ok.
Life isn't full of rainbows and unicorns. Life is hard and there will be shit times, and if they are talk about it, don't feel like you are a bad mother for voicing how things are really going for you. Let it go girlfriend, let it go.
This is a lesson that I have learnt, I sometimes think that people will think that i am a total negator. When I am asked how I am going - you bet your arse you will get an honest answer - and I wont feel guilty about it. I think it is important to speak about the bad times and the good times - because that is what life is, a balance of the positive and the negative you can not have one without the other. #mamalife isn't always pretty, don't try and dress it up all the time it will be exhausting for you.
2. Drop the ego - you do not have to be miss independent and struggle through alone.
I tried the whole 'I can do it all' thing - let me tell you supermum is not a title that I wish to have. Trying to be everything to everyone and cope with it alone was just me letting my ego get in the way. I still try and do it at times - but was I winning at life...no.
It left me burnt out, stressed, anxious and feeling totally inadequate.
Get help from professionals who can help you navigate this chapter of your adventure.
3. Remove the expectation.
I had such a high expectation on myself to perform that I was an anxious, depressed mess on the inside and as a result, I was failing and falling apart on the outside.
I expected my body would bounce back, I expected that I would be able to breastfeed with ease, I expected that I would be able to handle everything alone, I expected that my vagina would come away from the birthing experience unscathed, I expected that I knew more than I did.
Removing the expectation and surrendering is liberating as hell - when the ego is removed you can see what you need to do, and who you need around you to help you get through this part of your journey and move towards healing not keep burying yourself in that deep dark hole that seems impossible right now to climb out of.
4. You are not everyone else
I took to social media in all of that spare time I created for myself while I hid myself from the world, in a time when I really should have been reaching out for help.
I compared myself to other mama's post natal bodies, to their beautiful pictures on Instagram of all the love they had for their babies and the zest for life, the workouts they were doing, all the beautiful food they were nourishing themselves with...oh the ease of motherhood they were experiencing - made me feel worse.
Is this what real life looked for them? Or was it what I was choosing to see? Who knows.
Stop comparing yourself to how everyone else is doing - be concerned with YOU and what you NEED!
So yes I struggled, I feel no shame in that, I sought the help that I needed and as a result it actually led me to what I am doing today.
I won the battle - what do you need to win yours?
Need help? Reach out - I can guide you and hook you up with a those kick arse professionals that can help you in this time where you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I feel you girlfriend I have been there.