Through our hashtag community #This_Is_Motherhood we feature mums who share the truth about motherhood, and how to prioritise self-care on a more regular basis so we can live more happy and fulfilling lives.
We we’re very excited to interview Carly from Carmarmoo because of the genuine community she has built and her passion for self-care and learning. We we’re so inspired by her story because she was made it through so many challenges before her daughter was even born, it’s a story that should be told more often as a lot of women don’t know they are suffering from pre-natal depression.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself….
I am a working, former single mother, now happily engaged to the best partner and bonus dad that I could ask for. My two year old daughter, Isla, is one of the best teachers I have known, and she challenges me to grow more each day. With a background in Health, Education, and Psychology, I aim to be an honest voice in the world of parenting and wellness – life is full of ups and downs, and they are so much easier to navigate when you know you are not alone in them.
2. If you could sum up the transition into motherhood in one word, what would it be and why?
My transition into motherhood can only be described as a whirlwind. Although I have always known that I wanted to be a mother, it was a season that I expected much further down the road when I first learned that I was pregnant. As a student finishing my bachelor’s in Psychology at the time, I fast tracked my course load to finish my degree shortly after she was born – spending the days before she arrived working full-time and finishing term papers instead of nesting. My pregnancy was characterized by change – the end of a relationship, the loss of a certain type of “future,” the transition to a new set of responsibilities. I am still not sure how much the Prenatal Depression I experienced was impacted by my situation, but as much as I wish it could have been, it was not one of the happiest seasons of my life. Fortunately, the birth of my daughter vastly improved the state of my mental health, and relieved many of the symptoms of depression I was experiencing during my pregnancy. It wasn’t until many months later that I learned Prenatal Depression was actually “something” other mothers experienced. It was a period full of so much transition and so many emotions, but from that whirlwind came so much personal growth and of course, my beautiful daughter.
3. If there is one thing you could tell your pre-parent self, what would it be and why?
My father has always told me to “relax in your process,” and not be so eager to rush through life, collecting milestones and looking ahead. If there is one thing that I could tell my pre-parent self, it would be to listen to those words. Motherhood has taught me to slow down – each phase is so precious, every experience is teaching you and helping you grow. As a parent, I try to encourage myself to savor each stage (even the ones that feel so overwhelming at the time), because I know that when I give myself to those moments, and relax through them, I am much more capable of experiencing all of the joy in between the struggles. Looking back at my early 20’s, I was always in a hurry, and so overcome with anxiety about getting to my “future” as fast as possible. I often wish I could give my younger self an enormous hug and tell her to enjoy these days too, because the road to where you are “going” never really ends – why not take the time to enjoy the journey?
4. How do you deal with stressful situations at home or at work?
As someone who has always lived with anxiety, I have found that building a “toolbox” of coping mechanisms that can help you work through those peak stressful moments is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. For me, this means taking the time daily to take reflect on my “head space.” Personally, I do this through Coherence Breathing Meditation, which I have done for at least 5 minutes daily for several years. If, during the day I find myself beginning to experience something stressful, I stop – take a few minutes to breathe and name what I am experiencing, and make either a mental or written list of what I can do to control the situation or even just my reaction to it at that moment.Taking a few moments, as soon as you can, to address how you are feeling can be so empowering and makes it much easier to cope with the rest of your experience. Some days can still be really, really hard – but doing this as regularly as possible makes it a little more manageable for me.
5. What was your best and worst day as a new mum?
One of the worst days for me as a new mother was the day we confirmed that my daughter’s protein intolerances were the cause of her early struggles with reflux and terrible eczema. I felt overcome with guilt, because I had suspected an issue earlier on, but listened to the advice of a doctor who disregarded it – which ultimately extended the amount of time my child had to suffer through those symptoms. However – it was in some ways also one of the best days, because I finally had the ability to do something to help her by modifying my diet so that my breastmilk was safe for her to drink, and I also learned that my instincts as a mother were worth something. The experience taught me that I know my child better than anyone, and that the confidence to trust my intuition is one of the best tools I have in raising her. The bond between a mother and a child is such a special connection.
A group of mums sharing their experiences on pregnancy, post-birth, breastfeeding, work-life balance, and more.