We Are All Mothers
“Motherhood just came to me, I found it somewhat easy to adjust with the first baby and found it a lot harder with number two. It was just so much chaos. With the girls being older this time around I’m hoping that adjustment to a mom of 3/4 will be a lot easier.” - Brittny A.
A lot of the women who have participated have talked about their struggles with postpartum anxiety and depression, body image issues and relationship turmoil. While these topics have recently been getting more attention in the media and other outlets, there is still such a stigma around motherhood — especially postpartum. For some moms, motherhood comes easily with maybe only a few hiccups during the road. For others, it can be a whirlwind of emotions, highs and lows and a total complete loss of identity. Add in multiple children to that mix and it can feel very isolated and lonely at times.
I’ve known Brittny for quite a few years. I’ve always known her to have a smile on her face and when she talks about her children joy just radiates from her. We met and chatted about motherhood, our experiences with PPA/PPD and throughout the process got some beautiful photos of Brittny and her growing belly. Brittny struggled with Postpartum Anxiety after the births of both of her daughters. She has experienced body image struggles, relationship turmoil and lack of support. You’ll see some of Brittny’s tattoos in the gallery below; the story and meaning behind her tattoos is so beautiful. It takes a lot of courage to be able to ask for help and admit that things aren’t ok—especially for mothers. Being able to acknowledge her PPA and find support is one of the most courageous acts Brittny can do as a mother.
Brittny has a beautiful loving heart. She is bubbly, cheerful and so real. Conversing with her is so easy and she has the ability to make everyone in the room feel at ease. Isn’t it funny how so often the ones we assume just have motherhood come easy to them are often the ones fighting a silent battle inside? Postpartum depression and anxiety is like a silent illness. It is not often talked about and it can just fester inside of us, isolating us and creating this feeling of utmost loneliness.
If you are reading Brittny’s story and you’re saying to yourself yes…this resonates so deeply with me I want you to know that you are not alone. The women in this project have so bravely and openly shared their stories with us for this reason: to build community, to create hope, and to let the readers know that they are not alone.
Brittny— You are strong. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are honourable. You are an inspiration. You are enough. You are loved. You are an incredible mother. Your daughters and son have one hell of a mother to look up to. The way you carry yourself with grace amidst any battle you are fighting is something we all can learn from you. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with us. Thank you for being open and destigmatizing postpartum mental health. Thank you for being you.
When you read Brittny’s responses be mindful and be respectful. These are Brittny’s words. This is only a part of Brittny’s journey. These experiences have helped build her into the incredible woman she is today. Here’s what Brittny had to say in response to some of the questions for the project.
Did you experience any birth trauma or trauma during pregnancy/postnatal?
No dramatic birth as of yet. I would say the most trauma that happened was the cord being around Braelyn’s neck and the doctor giving me a blank stare like she didn’t know what to do. The nurse then took over and got it all under control. She retired after my delivery for good. Eastyn’s was traumatic in the sense that once it happened it happened so fast that I couldn’t even think - she also came out so fast I was bleeding a lot and the doc wasn’t sure at the time where it was coming from so there was some concern but in the end all was okay.
Did you experience any anxiety or depression during pregnancy? If yes, did you feel comfortable sharing with your health care provider or close family/friends about these experiences?
I was okay during pregnancy, but post baby I had issues - I didn’t know what they were for along time so didn’t say anything as I felt “crazy” but since have got help from a lot of different health care providers and councillors. I have been on medication this entire pregnancy as its what keeps me stable and sane. It helps me tremendously.
Did you struggle with breastfeeding or feel pressure to breastfeed or formula feed?
I loved breast feeding - I found it extremely rewarding. Both of my girls breast fed until 12 months old, exclusively and I hope to do that with this babe as well.
Did you struggle with body image after the birth of your child(ren)?
YES, majorly. I was a smallish girl before I had my girls.. after Braelyn I stayed small, i got lucky being young, 18, and having a baby. The weight just came off.. but even 2 years later at 20 with eastyn and terrible eating habits, things were a lot different - I didn’t lose, I kept it all on. One day, enough was enough (2 years post babe) and I started working out and eating healthy and the pounds just came off - working out and eating healthy is the BEST way to lose weight - no gimmicks.
Did you have a good support group during pregnancy or postpartum that you felt comfortable sharing your personal experiences in?
I didn’t have much of a support group other then my medical team before the babies arrived, even with this pregnancy I haven’t had much of a support group other then myself, google and my man. I found the weigh in’s at the hospital on Thursdays helpful with my girls - the public health nurses were a lovely help and I plan to go back this time as well.
Were you aware of the resources available within the community of Powell River and Regional District for new moms and pregnant mothers?
I wasn’t and really still am not aware of the resources we have for our children or help within pregnancy.
Did you and your partner struggle relationship wise after the birth of your child(ren)?
My relationship was rocky as it was before children, it made it a lot more rocky with them. I wasn’t in a good place with my relationship when I had my girls but this time around my little boy will have a solid set of parents who love each other dearly. We are already more of a team then I ever had with my ex. Cole is amazing.
Did you find the adjustment into motherhood easy and natural or did you struggle with finding your identity?
Motherhood just came to me, I found it somewhat easy to adjust with the first baby and found it a lot harder with number two. It was just so much chaos. With the girls being older this time around I’m hoping that adjustment to a mom of 3/4 will be a lot easier.