Thank You for Being a Friend… Seriously, Thank You!

As you prepare for your future child you pour yourself into research, you read all the books, you make all the lists.

You browse the aisles of Buy Buy Baby with your partner with a twinkle in your eye as you compile your registry.

You Pinterest all the baby hacks, and things you need to keep your baby alive for their first year.

You set aside a room in your house for the nursery and nest til your little hearts content!

You have your shower and neatly put away all the things that you have been told are completely necessary to raise your little baby (many of which you will never use or open).

Well I’m here to tell you that one of the most important things that you will need when your child is born is not on that baby registry. Nope! You won’t find it in that parenting book you have read cover to cover, you definitely can’t buy it in a store, and most likely no one has even mentioned it to you as a necessity.

In my experience so far, this has been extremely important to my survival as a mom. You simply need some really good mom friends.

Sorry husbands, and family members! You are also important. You cooked for me for weeks after the baby came, you cared for me, and you love my daughter better than I could ever hope for. I’m not taking any of you for granted, but hear me out.

Mom friends are so so so important.

Motherhood is the most amazing experience of my entire life, but it can also be super lonely. The days can feel long, and isolating when your trapped at home with a fussy baby, dealing with the baby blues, and trying to figure out how to keep yourself fed and clean on top of the pile of chores around the house.

My husband is absolutely amazing. I tell him all the time that I literally do not know how single parents do this, because without him I would be failing at life.

My parents, siblings and in-laws are wonderful. They have all gone above and beyond to help us out with the baby whenever we need, and have been an amazing support system for us.

Friends who aren’t parents yet are also super important. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to grab a drink with a girlfriend and have a conversation about her dating life, rather than diapers and burping. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a conversation about anything other than your baby when you’ve been taking care of them day in and day out. You need these friends to remind you that you’re still you even after having a kid. I’m beyond grateful for all of my good friends, and love them like family.

That being said, a good mom friend is the only person that can make it feel like you aren’t alone on new parent island!

My husband is a very social person. He will make friends with just about anyone. Seriously… we’ll be in a store 100 miles away from our house and I’ll come back from another aisle and find him laughing with some random person, and when I ask him who it is he says “I don’t know, just some guy I met in the aisle.” Needless to say, he’s always making new friends.

I am not this way. I am friendly, but slightly shy.

I’m horrible at keeping up with friends. If you haven’t heard from me in days, weeks, months, years it’s not because I stopped liking you, it’s because I literally cannot take care of myself and my home, (and now my child) and remain in contact with other people as often as if like.

In the past I have been known to say to my husband MANY times, “but we don’t need any new friends, I love our friends and I find it hard enough to keep up with socializing as it is!”

Well people… things change! Give me ALL the mom friends!

You know who doesn’t give a shit if you text them daily or weekly… other moms! They aren’t annoyed or thinking you hate them! They’re just as frazzled as you are, and odds are they read your last text and forgot to respond for a month because their baby woke from their nap as they opened it.

You know who isn’t offended that you are late to every single plan you make? Mom friends! Yeah you both said 10am, but you also both know that really meant whenever you manage to escape your house after battling your child.

You know who also isn’t offended that you canceled your plans an hour before you were supposed to meet? That’s right! Your mom friends! They get it. They have felt the sting of defeat when their child won’t nap, and is screaming at the top of their lungs as you try to get them dressed to go somewhere.

They just get it.

They’re going through these same things you are, and they couldn’t be happier to share all these hair pulling, tear jerking moments with you, as well as all of your triumphs.

It feels so good to have friends that text you back “oh girl, I am right there with you” when you feel like you could scream after a day of your child going on nap strike.

When you lose your shit, you need someone who is losing their shit right along side you, so that you don’t feel like you’re the only one who may be headed to the mental ward. It’s good to know you’ll be heading there with a friend or two.

No one else knows the feeling of wanting to murder their husbands almost every single day, while simultaneously loving them, and being ridiculously grateful for them at the same time. Yes men, you thought we were complex before… wait til we become mothers.

The other night I had the pleasure of grabbing a glass of wine with 4 other mamas. One of my friends started a story by saying “oh my gosh I have to tell you this story, because I know none of you will be shocked when I talk about poop!” Ain’t that the truth!

No one but a fellow mom will bond with you over poop stories. If I were to talk to any of my friends who’ve yet to have children, and recount the amount of blowout stories I have I’m pretty sure I may never hear from them again. You know who is happy to hear you vent about your kids “fun with feces”, and will happily compare stories with you? A mom friend! They are glad to compare and see who’s day was literally shittier!

You can talk about your kids non stop! You know when you’re out with a bunch of your friends who aren’t parents, and your having a conversation, and then you realize “oh my goodness, I’m just rambling about my kid… I can’t even stop! Have I run out of non-kid things to talk about?” Well, no worries about that when you’re with your mom friends!

The best thing about finding good mom friends is the support. No one lifts me up like my mama friends.

If I tell them I’m having an awful postpartum anxiety day, they check in on me. If any of us are having a hard time with something we get on our group chat and ask advice. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We tell each other “you’re right” when we need someone to reassure us.

We vent to each other about all the heartaches, emotions, and difficulties of mom life. We pour each other a glass of wine and let each other know it’s going to be ok. We try to get each other out of the house kid free (key word try).

We are all different. We each will parent our children differently. However, we are there for each other; there for all the hard times as well as the beautiful ones.

It doesn’t matter how you became a mom, if you are a stay at home, a working mom, or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you are super outgoing or super timid. It doesn’t matter if you have all the help in the world, or are struggling to stay afloat. This is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Having mom friends is like having a team of coworkers who you can bitch at the water cooler with.

If you are a new mom, or the only mom in your group of friends, I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and find a mom friend. Even just one!

Take your kids to a play group, a baby program at your library, a mommy and me workout, join a mother’s club! Trust me, I am super shy when it comes to meeting new people, but it is worth it!

If you need a mom friend in your corner, I’m here for you.

Find your mom tribe, because no mama should ever feel alone; and because you’ll never feel more seen than you will sipping your cold coffee with a fellow mama who also isn’t quite sure if she brushed her teeth today or not. We’re all in this together.

Trigger Happy: How Motherhood Can Trigger Us and Tips to Work Through it

Becoming a mother has been the greatest journey of my life. It has blessed me in ways beyond what I even have words for. It has also changed me more than any other life event I have yet experienced.

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty confident person. I pride myself in my ability to make new friends, I can laugh off most of my silly mistakes, I have sang my heart out in front of audiences of complete strangers, and have rocked a crop top after age 25.

That being said, every single person has moments of self doubt and self consciousness, and I have many.

I’ll be honest. It had been years since I have had issues with my self esteem, and my body image. I worked super hard on loving my body and myself and I am beyond proud of that. I can honestly say that for the past 6 years my self confidence level was at an all time high.

I rarely doubted an outfit choice, I ate what I wanted with no regrets or hesitations, and I rarely cared about leaving the house without a lick of makeup on.

Enter motherhood. The most amazing, beautiful, complicated, and triggering transformation of my life.

Becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways. I am much more open (I mean here I am sharing my story with you), more loving, and accepting; but, as I have shared in the past it has also been one of the hardest changes in my life.

Mentally, it has taken a toll. I have suffered from postpartum anxiety and so many issues from my past have come back to haunt me.

Most know me as a easy going and happy person, and for the most part that is true. What may surprise people is my past relationship with my self image and my very disordered relationship with food.

From the ages of 15 to about 24 my relationship with my body was very toxic. For 3 years in high school I starved it, restricting calories to about 600 a day and working out every night for at least an hour so I could burn off whatever I had consumed. When I got to college I went through bouts of binge eating, followed by restricting again.

I had days where I would look in the mirror with such disgust for what I saw reflected back to me, and I cried. I had days where even at my lowest weight in high school I changed 10 times because I truly believed that I looked “fat”. No matter what I did, what I ate, what I weighed, I was unhappy with my body and myself.

I finally worked on my mental health and healing this relationship with my food and my body around 25. I researched nutrition, and taught myself how to fuel my body. I began working out not to punish my body but because I wanted to feel healthy and to treat my body with love. I surrounded myself with body positive images, friends who built me up and supported me, and really worked on self love.

I finally began healing myself. I finally started to love myself and my body.

When I got pregnant I thought my changing body may trigger my past thoughts but it didn’t. Instead, I was one of those women who truly loved watching my body change and grow the beautiful life within me.

I even remember the first week I was home with my baby feeling such pride for my body and what it had just accomplished. It literally grew a baby from a cluster of tiny cells into the perfect angel that was placed into my arms that beautiful day. It kept her strong and healthy, and when the day came for her to be born it endured the most physically challenging event of my entire life! Who wouldn’t be proud?!

Well, around the time my postpartum anxiety showed up so did my negative thoughts and feelings from my past.

This is pretty normal for mamas after having a baby. We look in the mirror and see cellulite, extra skin, extra weight, stretch marks, dark circles that just won’t go away and we think to ourselves “who even is that?!”

Now (and trust me when I tell you this is not to brag) I am well aware that for someone who had a baby 7 months ago I am in very good shape physically. However, mentally this has been a difficult internal struggle.

Body dysmorphia is a very real mental issue. Sadly many women deal with this today. How many of us know someone who you can compliment about their looks and they just can’t seem to accept it as truth? Some days the image I see in the mirror is what others see, and others my body dysmorphia takes over.

9 months before giving birth to my daughter I was in the best shape of my life. I was eating well, I had found a workout routine that worked for my body and I had ample time to fit it in daily, and I was confident in myself. Here I was a few weeks after giving birth to my baby, and suddenly life as I knew it was upside down.

Schedule was thrown out the window, eating healthy became a luxury that took a back seat to convenience, and the person I saw in the mirror was unrecognizable to me. I had been in such a comfortable place for so long, in the flow of routine, and in just a few weeks motherhood catapulted me out of it.

Losing control of my lifestyle and my routine really began to trigger me.

My old beliefs about my body began to replace my pride for the body that had given me a child. The lack of time I had to focus on eating healthy, and filling my fridge with fruits and veggies began to stress me out.

15 years later I was seeing myself fall back into my unhealthy relationship with my body.

Thankfully this time I was equipped with tools and experience to bring me back to alignment, along with the biggest motivation for self love ever: my daughter.

I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and have such sad thoughts about what I see, and that is the very last thing I want for my girl. I want her to look in the mirror and be so proud and happy to see the beautiful woman staring back at her. I want her relationship with her body and herself to be healthy and positive. The only way for her to have that is for me to model that for her.

We have to change the narrative we tell ourselves to inspire the narrative our children will tell themselves.

As mothers, it is so easy for us to be critical of ourselves whether it be our appearance, how we keep our house, how we spend our time, or something else. We all want to be the best mother humanly possible for our little ones. It’s also so easy for us to compare ourselves to other moms who seem to have it all perfect.

Today moms aren’t just bombarded with our own fears and thoughts that we are less than, we see it all over social media. Instagram and Facebook are flooded with perfectly manicured mamas matching their little ones and smiling as they bake the most beautiful pie you’ve ever seen in their spotless minimalist kitchen. Their children are groomed, smiling, and dressed to the nines. No crying, stressing or whining here! The mothers in these photos have flawless hair and makeup and their bodies could rival a top model.

With images like these flooding our psyches, it’s easy to see why so many mamas have such doubt about their beauty and competence as a mother.

These images can be super triggering to any mama who is still trying to drop her baby weight, figure out a routine, and just survive the craziness that is raising a child.

One of the first things I did once I recognized I was having these thoughts was unfollow all these insta moms that were fueling my self doubt. Anyone I felt that I was comparing myself to I deleted. It’s seriously amazing how much this helped me.

I began looking in the mirror daily and inwardly noting one thing that I truly love about myself. It could be a physical or non physical attribute. This truly has helped me to start with a positive outlook on myself which carries me through the rest of my day.

I also started telling my daughter every morning “you are smart, you are kind, your intelligent, your powerful, you are important, you are loved, and you are enough.” Saying these words to her every morning not only is helping her learn confidence, but saying those words over and over myself has seriously helped to shift my own mindset.

I journal. I used to do this in high school, but back then it was more a tell all of the sweet things I thought of my boyfriend at the time, or rumors I heard in the hallways at school. These days it’s all my doubts, all the things that I am grateful for, and any inspirations that come to mind. Getting thoughts out on a page has become very therapeutic, and writing at least one thing I am grateful for a Day makes me recognize all the other amazing things I have to be thankful for!

I do things that I know bring me joy and peace. I take walks and leave my cell phone behind. I lay in the grass with my daughter, sometimes for an hour at a time. I take her down to the beach. I listen to my favorite music and dance around the house with her. When you do things that bring you happiness, although it may not bring you immediately back to peace, it will help lift your spirits and get you out of the dark.

Turning to friends and loved ones has always been difficult for me when I’m in crisis mode. Asking for help is not something I find easy. I have always been the friend that listens and offers advice, but for me, asking for it myself doesn’t come naturally.

Thankfully I have some amazing girlfriends, family, and a super supportive husband that are always there to listen, as well as call me out when I’m not acting myself. This should be your first step when ur having feelings like this, and if you don’t have anyone or these feelings are super intense see a therapist.

There is no shame in asking for help, and truth be told Mother’s probably need help the most! We do so much for everyone else in our family that we often put ourselves and our needs on the back burner.

Motherhood changes our lives completely and can trigger so many thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to get stuck in the low vibe, lack mentality, doubt ourselves and feel like we have lost ourselves.

The truth is that to be the best mothers to our children we have to first take care of ourselves mentally. We have to take the time to make sure we recognize what’s going on, and that we give ourselves the space and the tools to get out of it. The best mamas are happy mamas.

I’m not writing this post because I’m an expert on the matter. Believe me, I know that I am far from it. I’m writing this because I too need this as a reminder. Every single day I work on making sure I’m the working towards being the best version of myself that I can be.

I want my daughter to see me as positive, happy, confident and strong. I want to feel this way for myself as well, I mean who wouldn’t? This is something I work towards every day and that I know I’ll have to continue to work on, probably for the rest of my life.

Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I mean that when I say it. It is truly beautiful, but also so triggering.

I hope that sharing my story helps other moms know that you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only person out there feeling lost, or wondering where your old self has gone. I hope this will inspire other mamas to start difficult conversations with each other, to support one another.

Let’s embrace that we aren’t those “insta moms” who have everything perfect. Our lives are messy, they get dark sometimes but at the end of the day they are beautiful and we’re all just doing our best.

We got this mamas!

PPA: What Literally No One Warned Me About

I’m going to start this post by saying that I truly do not want any sympathy. I am merely sharing my experience so that I can spare a future mama from being hit with something they never expected.

Motherhood is amazing. Amazingly beautiful, amazingly trying, amazingly wonderful, and amazingly difficult. I’ve only been a mother for a whopping 3 months and I can already tell you this. I am beyond grateful for my little one, for my pregnancy, and my birth experience. I honestly would do everything all over again, even the 4th trimester (trust me it ain’t no piece of cake).

When I got pregnant I began reading many books on what to expect during pregnancy and what will happen after the baby arrived. My doctors discussed some of these expectations and possibilities at length with me. Towards the end of my pregnancy, and after giving birth to my baby girl, postpartum depression or PPD was constantly brought up. I was screened (although if you ask me a few vague questions don’t really seem like enough to me) and told I wasn’t suffering from any PPD. I knew that wasn’t the case, so this didn’t shock me.

What did worry me was the way I started feeling every night before going to bed since about a week after I gave birth. I would get the baby ready for bed, brush my teeth, say goodnight to my husband and hop in bed. All of a sudden my chest would tighten, my mind would race, and I would feel as tho I couldn’t catch my breath.

I had never dealt with anything like this, but coming from a family who deals with a lot of anxiety, I knew that this is what it felt like.

Why now?! I had literally never dealt with anxiety EVER.

I kept asking myself what I was anxious about. Was I failing already as a mother? Am I already unraveling? Is it the fact that I will have to return to work and leave my baby with someone else 3 days a week? Is it because my husband and my relationship will ultimately never be the way it was before children? Was it all of these things?

I honestly couldn’t pinpoint any reason for it. All I can tell you is that I had no clue where it was coming from or why.

Not a single doctor or person I had come in contact with said anything to me about feeling anxious after the baby. Not one. So I really didn’t know it had anything to do with it.

Many of my girlfriends, and my husband, and family had asked me how I was doing. They said if you have any feelings of depression please talk to them. No one said anything about anxiety. So for a while I said nothing about it.

My husband has been extremely supportive and helpful through my entire pregnancy, and my postpartum journey. He consistently would ask how I felt, and to please talk to him if I felt off in any way.

One night after getting the baby to sleep, I was very overwhelmed with my anxiety. I couldn’t keep this to myself any longer. I went out to my husband and told him how I had been feeling. I said no one said anything about anxiety, they just stressed the signs of depression.

He urged me to google it.

Lowe and behold, PPA popped up. Postpartum anxiety is a very real, very common occurrence. How did no one tell me about it?

From what I was reading online, many women in forums had no idea about it either. Some of these women didn’t even know that’s what they were going through until years later.

I was not alone. This immediately made me feel better, not completely, but better.

I found forums of women discussing their anxieties and what they were doing to treat them. I was encouraged to talk about everything on my mind, and to share it all with a loved one. I found links to get help and seek therapy if it was so severe I couldn’t get through it on my own.

Here is my question: why is this not talked about? Why are we only focusing on PPD when PPA is just as prevalent?

This is why I am talking about it. May is Maternity Mental Heath Awareness month, and I hope that by talking about my own experience I can help someone else in theirs.

If you are pregnant, or a new mama and you ever feel any symptoms that don’t quite fit into the PPD category but you know aren’t normal to you, talk to someone. You are not alone.

PPA is very real. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to a loved one, a fellow mama, a therapist, anyone. For me just talking about my feelings has helped tremendously, but that may not be the case for everyone.

Please never feel unworthy of asking for help, and getting it. You deserve it mamas. You give your all everyday for your family. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

I hope in the future doctors will open the discussion for not just PPD but anxiety as well and any other postpartum mood disorders not discussed. Until then, it is our duty to help one another out and share our own experiences.

If I can help just one woman know that she isn’t alone, and there is help for her out there, then I am happy.

You are worthy of happiness, you are worthy of help. You are worthy mama. Don’t ever forget it.