The postpartum shift – is the moment you awaken to and accept the fact that you are no longer the woman you once were and decide to embrace the better version of yourself.
I have two children. My Prince is 27 and my Princess is just a few weeks shy of 2 years old.
Yes there is just about 30 years between my children.
I know what you are thinking – why did I start over?
Well when you are granted a blessing do you question it?
What I do know is my daughter is the second most precious gift I have ever been given.
Yet despite all the joy she awakens in me, some things were just different this time around.
If we start with the basics physically I was super fit when I conceived my son. I was preparing for basic training when I discovered I was pregnant. So I just kept up with my daily runs.
I conceived my daughter Zoe in my early 40s — still pretty healthy and active. Yoga and healthy eating were a way of life — but I was tired a lot. Getting up to go to the bathroom was so tiring in those later months that I considered getting a port-a-potty.
With my son I never asked myself the questions: how do I want to show up for him or what type of woman and mom did I want to be? At 43, when I conceived Zoe I was consumed with these questions.
What I knew for sure is this:
- I desire to be with her as much as possible. No day care for her. I wasn’t missing out on her formative years chasing other people’s dreams and expectations for me.
- I desire a vocation that I could bend to MY priorities. Flexibility in scheduling was a must. And of course, my vocation had to pay more for the time I put in—I wanted to set my own fees. Taking survival jobs just to make ends meet that left me exhausted and unavailable to her wasn’t a long term plan.
- I desire to show up as both the professional creative ambitious woman I am and be the type of mother I imagine.
These goals were influenced by the age at which I gave birth to Zoe. I am now older, more settled and have more skills and resources and the severe postpartum depression I experienced with my son.
I missed out on a lot of his first two years. I share a bit of my story in Ep 1 The Black Side of Postpartum. Check it out if you haven’t.
The biggest influence to my mental shift is something we often overlook — spirituality. I never felt more connected to my feminine essence and what I know to be God than when I carried Zoe.
I thought obsessively about the role model I wanted to be for her and the generational pathologies I needed to shed from my own conditioning so I could achieve it.
But to create this life I HAD TO CHANGE.
Feel The Fear and Move Courageously Toward Change
Deep down I knew things would not be the same because I was not the same. I fought against the changes I needed to make because I was afraid. I think when we fight against what intuition tells us it adds to the depressive symptoms we may experience.
Postpartum depression is a symptom that manifests from many factors but one that is often ignored is the FEAR we experience when we know we have to become our BETTER selves.
We have to move forward and let go of who we were. And often release toxic patterns we have developed.
As a black woman I had to let go of the unhealthy self-sacrifice habit and being the fixer in my world. I had to let go of my I can do it by myself attitude – because even though I can I don’t have or want to.
You don’t have to do it alone either.
To use your energy trying to get back to who we were is both a waste of time and precious energy. And it really doesn’t serve your highest good or those you love..
Postpartum is an opportunity to gain clarity on your goals and let go of what isn’t working — because you’ll never again be so connected to your feminine essence and divine truth of who you are.
A Process to Gain Energy and Grow
You may be saying to yourself — well this is all well and good. But I don’t have the energy to make changes in my life.
I feel you. I hear you. I get it because I’ve been there.
My vision and Zoë drove me to take one small step at a time:
First I reclaimed my body to gain more energy.
I adjusted my diet, started to wean Zoe, and set realistic exercise goals by using a technique I call LINKING which I describe in my free e-book which you can find on my website. Self-care was no longer negotiable.
Then with increased energy I deepened my connection to self.
I prioritized time to sit and think about my life and my circle even if it was for 1 minute a day. I started asking for help. I began to set and enforce healthy boundaries. This helped me see my VILLAGE and make changes where necessary.
Thirdly, I accepted that the old Danielle is gone.
I mourned my previous life and who I was. I found safety on my yoga mat and journal to process the tears that came.
Finally I set intentional and achievable goals based on my values.
I set realistic personal and professional goals based on the energy and time I do have— and what I value now. I tempered my ambition. I hired the best international business coach for coaches on the planet, Rhonda Hess, to help me create a soul satisfying business I love.
It’s All Worth It
Real talk – It was tough. It took time, daily commitment and the necessary losses were massive.
- I let go of my condo.
- I chose to relocate to a place I didn’t want to go.
- I ended friendships that drained me.
- I finalized the end of my romantic relationship.
- I’ve burned a few bridges.
- I’ve gained some weight.
- It seemed like my locs responded to the stress and stopped growing for a few months. (You know how we are about our hair girls!)
But the work I put in and the pain I endured has brought so much gains …
- I’m healthier, energized, and feel empowered.
- I created a village that nurtures and supports my growth as BOTH WOMAN AND MOTHER.
- I’m more authentic. I show up for myself.
- I created a business I love with unlimited earning potential.
- I’ve built new bridges using the rich soil fertilized from the ashes of those I burned.
- I wake up every day happy and grateful to be where I am.
- Zoe is happy, healthy and thriving and so am I.
I am still a work in progress but that’s okay – because I learned that being BETTER is good enough.
Setting yourself up for success requires seeing YOUR vision and taking ONE small step in that direction every day.
I promise you the pay-off is worth it.
So, who do you want to be now and how do you want to show up? Are you wondering what just is your Mom-Style? I’ll explore this topic in a later episode on Mom-Style archetypes and the energy of transformation as part of my Connect Deeply series.
Until next time, Thrive Queen and Shine Brighter.