Hey! My name is Jenaye and I am a momma to a 16 month old perfect little girl who is the center of my whole world. I had my daughter at the start of the pandemic last year, and I want to speak openly to the struggles that I faced during post partum that extended beyond the fourth trimester. Let me preface by saying that I would consider myself a relatively motivated, perfectionist go-getter who thrives off of constantly doing things and as a result, I have innate anxiety that honestly keeps me moving. I don’t say this to brag, and in fact I wish I was able to tone my anxiety down quite a bit, but this is crucial to know for what I’m about to share next.
I would say that my post partum struggles probably looked pretty similar to a lot of women’s struggles. I was sleep deprived, had breastfeeding difficulties, I was sad at times but not terribly often, had several periods where I missed my pre-baby body and the ease of my pre-baby life, but loved my baby hard and was so thankful to be her mom. I thought I was doing ok, considering I was navigating the pathways of new motherhood while raising my baby with the help of only my husband since we did not allow visitors over, not even my own mom, thanks to the uncertainties of covid at that time. I was surviving, barely.
Transitioning to motherhood was like a huge slap in the face to me. I was a NICU nurse for 4 years and had experience caring for babies, so I thought I would be all set, but there is nothing like caring for your own, especially during the middle of the night when things seem to be 10 times more difficult. I’m assuming everyone reading this has babies, so you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s hard and miserable, end of story.
Back to my anxiety. It skyrocketed after I had my adorable babe. I started to have irrational fears for her safety and my family dynamics. However, I was passing every single little post partum depression screening tool I had to fill out at each of her appointments and my own, so I thought I was just honestly being overdramatic and needed to suck it up because this must be normal or else I would have been flagged as being depressed. So I kept on living my new motherhood life and struggling to my core. I remember looking at my husband at one point and saying that I did not want to be a mom anymore. There were periods where I absolutely hated it.
I started to experience random bouts of extreme rage. The rage was directed towards my husband mostly, and at things that I just absolutely could not control, but never towards my baby. For instance, if he didn’t do the dishes and I needed a clean bottle to feed the baby, I would be raging and yelling at him. I know that seems irrational, but it was not for me during those moments. There were times where I would literally punch pillows and scream into my pillows because I was so angry. One thing that I knew for sure was that I did not like feeling that way, and I hated even more that I could not control my emotions. My husband came to me one day and told me he thought I needed to see a psychiatrist. This makes me emotional because I had known it in my heart all along that I needed help, but I think as a mother you try to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and do it with a smile on your face, so your emotions get brushed under the rug and things start to fester. This was about the time that I was returning to work at 4 months PP, and my coworkers quickly became my therapists, so a psych session was never scheduled. Going back to work and being able to socialize again was my saving grace. I had returned to semi normalcy when my life became more regimented, and I had time away from my daughter to feel like a normal human who didn’t have a child hanging from her boob and was constantly stressing about her 32 minute long naps.
My mental health started to improve, though it was a process. Once it took a turn for the better, I started to focus on my health and getting back into an exercise routine so that I could reserve that time for myself and my needs, and feel good doing it. Exercise had always been an important part of my life, and I lost that briefly after I became a mom, like many things that are easily lost during parenthood. I joined a clean supplement company with an amazing community of women (and men) beside me encouraging me to stay on track for my wellness goals, both physically and mentally. Having support in all of these ways-in ways that I lacked when I was isolated and at the peak of my struggles with mom rage-was what healed me.
I will admittedly say that motherhood rocked my world and left me with my own needs not being met even in the slightest, which I later learned can lead to “mom rage” and is a variant of post partum anxiety. I did not have the traditional PPA and PPD symptoms. Rage was about my only symptom, and its not talked about enough, so I am here hoping to shed light on it. I have made it a mission to support my friends during their post partum seasons and openly discuss their mental health, so they know their feelings are valid, that it’s ok to seek help, and to give them hope that things do get better. Every woman’s post partum journey will look different. There should be no judgement and instead a plethora of support for women supporting women; moms supporting moms. It is how we will be able to navigate and survive through the toughest of times and remind ourselves that while there are bound to be bad seasons, it is never a bad life.
Thank you for checking out Mommy Tea Blog! Jenaye and Kyleigh met through their husbands several years back. She is an amazing woman and an even better mommy! I hope that her story will help to normalize these feelings for those of you who can relate! Postpartum is definitely not the same for everyone. Jenaye also is a FNP and is passionate in holistic wellness. She currently works with plexus to promote gut health and speaks at kids wellness events in her spare time Promoting immune health! If you are interested in learning more please reach out to her on Instagram or through her site http://mysite.plexusworldwide.com/JenayeBroe