"During a time when you are supposed to be happy, glowing and at bliss sharing these emotions can have one feeling like a fraud..."
It was the during the month of April 2016 when I noticed that I didn’t receive my period. I felt like something was a little off, but I wasn’t expecting to be pregnant. Fast forward a couple weeks later, I attended an art exhibit and that’s when the smell of red wine made me feel extremely sick.
Fast forward 24 hours later, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I remember being a little shocked, scared, and excited at the same time. Once I saw the results, I was excited, but also scared to have a child of my own especially during a time where we were grieving the loss of my partner’s younger brother and trying to figure out life.
Once my partner and I announced the news, family members had a lot to say. Dealing with the stress from our family due to an unexpected pregnancy really had me in a funk. Honestly, I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I always imagined being in a better place financially and spiritually when it was time to start a family.
“As women, we have a tendency to take on a lot and carry a heavy shield of bravery.”
I know this may sound selfish to some, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t ready to give up my freedom or my life. And when I say freedom, I’m not talking about going out to a party, I’m talking about all the freedoms you have when you are single. Free to take a shower, free to come and go as you please, free to sleep, the list goes on.. but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying here.
“I always imagined being in a better place financially and spiritually when it was time to start a family.”
During my pregnancy, I looked to my friends for support but still felt alone and empty inside. All the physical changes and pain I went through during my first and third trimester really had me feeling some type of way. I didn’t want to call my friends every time I felt down, so I began searching the web for women who may have experienced the same emotions I felt during their pregnancy.
What a difficult task! It was hard because most of the people who shared their pregnancy journey were happy and everything seemed to be perfect. When I did come across someone sharing the journey about depression while being pregnant it was only a short post. I needed more to get thru this chapter of my life.
“What a difficult task! It was hard, most of the people who shared their pregnancy journey were happy and everything seemed to be perfect.”
Luckily, I had been following a celebrity makeup artist named Felicia La Tour that I really admired. Felicia’s energy was infectious. And I was drawn by the bond between her and her daughter. It was both beautiful and enlightening. I was obsessed, intrigued and curious about how she bonded with her unborn child during her pregnancy. Watching her videos taught me to be present and helped me feel better about what was going on with me emotionally and physically.
I remember stumbling on a blog post she wrote describing her experience with depression and overcoming her personal obstacles which took me by surprise. Felicia’s journey made me feel like I wasn’t alone. She helped me tremendously!
For some women, pregnancy can be a joyous and happy time, while for others, pregnancy can sometimes feel lonely even when you have a partner by your side, the emotions can leave you feeling alone and believing you are the only person experiencing these emotions and thoughts. Sharing is caring, when someone decides to share their experience with depression, others going through the same thing find solace.
As women, we have a tendency to take on a lot and carry a heavy shield of bravery, as if, we have everything together and we are here to save and help everyone. During a time when you are supposed to be happy, glowing and at bliss sharing these emotions can have one feeling like a fraud or as if something is wrong with you. In reality, putting the shield of bravery down is hard.
During my pregnancy, I also discovered Hayley Paige’s YouTube page. At the time, Hayley was pregnant and she openly shared her struggles and triumphs during her pregnancy journey to becoming a mother.
My son is now 11 months old, and I’ve since learned to how to cope with my depression. Here are some tips that can help you if you are experiencing some of the same emotions.
1. Get up early in the morning.
This allows me to check in with myself before the day begins. It also helps keep me organized and I have the extra time to get mentally prepared for the day.
2. Practice yoga and get physical.
As a new mother, I need to pay attention to my mental and physical health, and yoga really helps me to focus my energy on those specific areas. It’s very important to stay active like going outside for a walk to get fresh air to clear your mind, feel the sun on your skin and do physical exercises to boost endorphins.
3. Do something you love.
Whether it's going to get a manicure, go shopping, dancing to your favorite song, or planning a girls night out. Doing something familiar that brings you joy and laughter will help remind you of life little treasures and help you feel better. Maybe even schedule a date night with your beau to reconnect.
4. Get support and find your tribe
Pregnancy is a beautiful life-changing event. But, everyone journey and experience is different. There is a need for women to share their ups and downs about their pregnancy and the reality of motherhood that we rarely discuss. It's hard, but the more we talk about our emotions and share, the more we are able to heal and grow.
Talk to your doctor, seek treatment and find a support group. Postpartum depression is real, but you don’t have to go it alone. Find a support group, seek counseling and tell your doctor so you can get the treatment you need.
5. Practice Self-Love and Self Care
Having a child is a magical life-changing event, often times, we forget to take care of ourselves. Remember to schedule and make time to take a shower, schedule a massage, meditate or pray. Remember to take care of yourself. Before you can take care of your new baby, you've got to care of yourself first.
There’s nothing more beautiful than having a baby, but what’s also beautiful is peace of mind, feeling love, and being happy.
If you have ever experienced Postpartum Depression or depression during your pregnancy, please know you are not alone. If you are experiencing any form of depression and looking for support please call 1.800.944.4773, Post-partum Support International a supportive organization whose goal is to provide current information, resources, education, and to advocate for further research and legislation to support perinatal mental health.
My name is Marceau Photeau and I’m a photographer and blogger based in Munster, Indiana. I’m a woman who is inspired by other women. I studied Broadcasting - Media Communications in college, and surprisingly didn’t find my creative purpose until last year by developing a photo and video project that is dear to my heart titled, “Imperfection.” If I’m not daydreaming about my next photo shoot or creating Pinterest boards you can find me discovering life all over again with my little one, hanging with my mom, or at the grocery store, typically on the hunt for some good ole, organic, fruit juice from Trader Joe’s.
Thank you for sharing this! I’m a therapist and work with a lot of pregnant and post partum women. Someone out there needed to read this and know they’re not alone in the struggle. -Alanna