The birth of my first born was a terrifying and traumatic experience for me. Due to a catastrophic error from the doctor, I almost lost my life. I spent a week in the hospital recovering physically, but years recovering mentally. I suffered a great deal of anxiety and PTSD. What was supposed to be one of the most joyous moments in my life, had actually been pretty devastating.
I am head over heels for my daughter, and motherhood has made me feel whole, but giving birth the first time around had my mental health suffering big time. After two years of trying to cope and failing miserably, I reached out and got help. What that meant for me was seeing a therapist and getting on some meds.
I’m not ashamed, and I don’t try to hide anything about my parenting journey from people who are willing to listen. My first birth experience was a huge trajectory change for me, and led me to the work I do now about which I am so passionate.
I am a birth doula and childbirth educator. It became important for me to make sure no other women or parents-to-be suffered the same fate. I now support women in the community by giving them as much non-biased and researched information in order to make informed decisions about the birth of their babies, support them through the process, and then transition into parenting feeling confident and having a positive views on birth and parenting.
Community is important to me, so I also started a wonderful online community of moms where we put the “village mentality” into practice. We meet, share our stories, and we do life together. I don’t want any mother to go through the same isolation I felt after giving birth, and if they are feeling traumatized or like they aren’t coping, I want them to feel like they have a safe place to let those thoughts and feelings out.
Motherhood can be heavy, but it can also be the most exhilarating experience, especially when you feel supported and connected. I’m happy to say that I gave birth TWICE more after my traumatizing experience, and they were both extremely redemptive, liberating, and healing experiences for me.
I am grateful that I am here to raise my kids, and know what my threshold is for keeping on top of my mental health and self-care. I could go on and on about the importance of self-care as a mother, but that may be a story for another time.
– Toni, mama, wife, music lover, professional mother-helper, coffee addict >> learn more