About a month ago I posted a blog confessing to the battle I was having with post partum depression (PPD). Writing that blog and making my struggle public was very difficult for me. I will fully admit having fallen into the “Supermom” or even “Superwoman” trap of trying and maybe even believing I was strong enough to do anything and everything. I believed I could and should be perfect for my family, friends, clients, and business. I would verbally beat myself down when I didn’t give Malia 30 minutes of tummy time, or let Bria watch more then 1 hour of tv for the day. I felt panicked and guilty when I couldn’t seem to respond to business calls for a few days or messages would begin to pile up in my inbox. I expected more of myself then I would ever expect out of anyone I loved. I expected myself to be perfect, because, in my unrealistic state of mind I believed that I truly loved my family, friends, and children I should always aim (and achieve perfection). What better way to express my love for all those in my life but to give them the best, and to me the best meant perfect. So by admitting my PPD publicly I was admitting I was not perfect.
I am so thankful that I took the chance at being vulnerable and writing my inner most thoughts. Not only did the simple action of putting these feelings down on paper make me want to take action and be accountable for getting better, but acknowledging that “Superwoman” did not exist took an incredible weight off my shoulders. It also seemed to open up shoulders for me to lean on.
I have received many letters, phone calls, and comments from clients and friends sharing their experiences with PPD and the struggles that followed. Every time someone felt open enough to share this with me I felt much less alone and so blessed to have the confidence of truly amazing women. These stories helped carry me forward through tiring days, where simply trying to get 2 young children dressed, fed, and entertained seemed impossible. It is very true that “together we stand”. So again thank you to those of you who reached out to me and shared some of your inner most feelings and thoughts. I cherish these and carry them with me every day.
I also learned “ask and you shall receive”. I am not someone who likes to ask for help. But writing and reading my post made me realize I needed help and support. I could not “go it alone”. Again just by being honest and open I suddenly had help and support coming from all directions and the more I accepted help the easier it became. I have been able to let go and realize asking for help does not mean failure. I have let others watch my girls so I can get a few moments rest, catch up on business, or even just enjoy a shower that last longer then 5 minutes. I took the referral from a family member for a wonderful counselor who is helping me overcome my PPD and to achieve balance in my life. I have stopped the negative self talk (most of the time) with help from my husband who reminds me daily he loves me for me not for what I do.
One of the biggest realizations that I came to over the past month is that for a while now (even before giving birth) I had not been happy with the balance in my life in regards to work. When I started J’Adore Dance 2.5 years ago it was a way for me to continue to do what I loved (dance and teach) but allow me to work with my children and make my family the top priority. But as the company grew and the success I was blessed with the business gradually started to take up more and more family time. It was very hard for me to admit but I was no longer putting my family first and was spending far too much time building business relationships rather then building my family.
So again I looked around me and realized I had many shoulders within my business I could lean on. I have brought on two of my fabulous instructors as regional managers, have hired an administrative assistant to help manage the daily phone calls and registrations, and have found some new systems that should allow me to run the business more efficiently. This will allow me to continue to build the business with the help of a fabulous team, allow me to focus on the parts of the business I love, and help me enjoy this precious time with my young children. Although there may be an initial period of adjustment, I feel very lucky knowing I have such supportive clients who “get” that family needs to come first and some days I may not be able to return a phone call or email right away.
So through this support and ongoing work I feel as though I am slowly leaving the cloudiness of PPD behind and working towards happier sunny days. As I said to my husband today, the last few days I have felt happy again! I wake up with a positive outlook, I feel connected to my family and friends, I feel acceptance towards what I am able to accomplish and what I am not, I feel like singing in the shower, I feel more like “me” again.
I know that the hard days are not all behind me. I still catch myself using negative statements towards myself like “should have” or “could have” but am continuing to to work on leaving “Supermom” in the fairy tale world she belongs in. I’m still trying to find the balance between my young kids ever changing needs and schedule and returning client phone calls. But rather then beating myself up for what I haven’t achieved I am patting myself on the back for the things I have. I am happy to see that “Mr Sun” is shining down on me again :)
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