Motherhood is hard. Parenthood is hard. Mothering, parenting and marriage in conjunction is hard. And as you may know, I’m currently tackling all three as many before me have. But it is so normalized to hide the struggles that couples go through navigating the ups and downs of parenthood, that when after Bodhi was born, I thought the struggles Shiloh and I went through meant we had a bad marriage. Here’s what I didn’t know: life is hard, marriage is constant work (like actual work, I’ve heard it before but I didn’t really understand until I myself had to put in the work), newborns don’t shit rainbows and sunshine and postpartum depression mixed with newborns and marriage are recipes for a real swift kick in the ass from life. Now I know better, and since Ryder was born, I have made conscious efforts to give myself grace and release myself from the pressures of society that made me break when I first became a mom.
I learned a whole slew of life lessons after Bodhi was born. Before I realized I had postpartum depression, I had taken Bodhi and run away to Ojai to try and clear my head. This was just one of the things that occurred before it finally hit me like a brick wall that I was severely depressed. I didn’t understand that emotions like these were even possible, because I thought that after you have a baby you’re supposed to be in baby bliss and grow closer together with your partner.
It took a lot of soul searching, healing sessions, communication and patience to get through the learning curve of becoming a mother. Shiloh and I went through a lot figuring out how to work with each other, instead of being at each other’s throats when it came to taking care of ourselves and Bodhi.
When I got pregnant with Ryder it was the most wonderful, incredible and exciting news. We manifested him. He was our angel baby after I had miscarried, and we were ready to expand our family.
We knew how hard it could be the first year of a baby’s life, so we decided to give ourselves a TON of grace unlike before.
Things Shiloh and I did to prepare for Ryder:
- mentally prepped for postpartum depression
- discussed ppd with my family and came up with ideas on how to tackle it if it surfaced
- put far less stress on myself to breast feed
- came up with a sleeping arrangement that ensured both Shiloh and I get sleep each night
- made sure we would have help for Ryder the first few weeks of his life
- created a safe and energetically peaceful environment in our home
I know that many of these things are not accessible to many, and I am so grateful to have a support system that could support me and my family so immensely. Speaking of which, gratitude also played a major role in our prep for Ryder.
My mom and sister came and visited us after Ryder was born, and just before they came, Shiloh and I noticed that we were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with both of the boys. Since I gave birth during quarantine, Shiloh had been home with me and not working. The world was going through some seriously hard times, but the silver lining of it all was that Shiloh was able to be home with me and Bodhi before Ryder’s arrival. It was really helpful.
But on the other hand, Shi is someone who very much thrives off of working. It gives him purpose and drive. It boosts his confidence, makes him feel good. The absence of that plus lack of sleep had been weighing on him, so we decided to give him a break and let him recharge by hitching a ride with my sister and my mom back to Los Angeles. And quite frankly, a break from each other was also a healthy move for the both of us.
Shi was able to renovate his moms home, go backpacking, disc golf and sleep, and I was able to enjoy time with my family, sleep through the night, see friends and so so much more.
I know the world may think, why aren’t they together, is something wrong with their marriage? The answer is no. But also, just because a couple struggles, doesn’t mean they have a bad marriage. The world is so quick to put people and relationships in a box, and I’ve never been a fan of the box, or social constructs. Growth is birthed from struggle, so struggling isn’t a bad thing. Hard? Sure. But bad? No.
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors of all time, Glennon Doyle.
“Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
p.s I highly recommend Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed. There are so many amazing takeaways about life, self love and female empowerment. Click here to take a look for yourself.