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Postpartum Depression Sucked, But Here’s What It Taught Me

May 13, 2024
Jess discussed overcoming postpartum depression and embracing motherhood.
Postpartum Depression Sucked, But Here’s What It Taught Me
May 13, 2024
Jess discussed overcoming postpartum depression and embracing motherhood.

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ON THIS EPISODE OF AMPLIFY

Jess shares her experience with postpartum depression and anxiety on Amplify. Though challenging, she gained valuable insights into motherhood, leading to a more positive outlook on embracing new life phases.

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Today, Jess opens up about her personal journey with postpartum depression and anxiety. That period sucked, but she learned some valuable lessons on motherhood and emerged with a completely different attitude about embracing a new period of your life.

Amplify with Jess is produced by Earfluence and brought to you by Mic Drop Workshop.

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to Amplify with Jess Ekstrom, a show designed to help women get out of their head and into their zone of influence. Happy Monday, everyone. Here’s some food for thought to start your week. After Ellie was born, I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety. I’ve definitely talked about it on this show before, but I feel like now that I’m gearing for the birth of my second. I’m finally really able to look back and talk about it. Also, because I’m trying to figure out how do I not let it happen again or find a different way. Because I was so confused when it happened. I had dreamt of becoming a mom ever since I was a little girl myself. And when Ellie was born, I was like, why am I just not euphoric right now. I I dreamed of sitting there watching her sleep, like, just with adoration and love. And instead, I sat there and watched her sleep, and I was just filled with fear, wondering if she was breathing. Wondering if I was going to be able to breastfeed her when she wakes up and how long she’d cry before she’d fall asleep again. And when I was flagged for postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety at Ellie’s six week pediatrician appointment, Jess, That was you heard that correctly. The pediatrician was the one to tell me, not the actual doctor. I was actually relieved to learn about the science behind postpartum hormones. When you have a baby, you experience, like, the most insane drop of hormones that your body will ever experience. And so I don’t know, like, what in the Darwinism made that hormone drop part of our female evolution, like, hey, here. Here’s a human life that you have to care for. Plus, you’re going to be as fragile as a piece of hair pulling a cement truck. Here’s your baby. Check out is on your left. Like, how is this the way that we have evolved? But that’s the reality. So when we were prepping for Ellie’s arrival, Jake and I consumed dozens of courses, books, videos, podcasts around Ellie’s needs and how to care for a baby, yet I’m still scratching my head that there wasn’t as much as even a pamphlet around how to care for the mom’s mental state. A plethora of information around the physical state postpartum, but not the mental. So when I was in the hospital with Ellie after she was born, a doctor came in when we were about to get discharged. And she said, you know, you might experience what’s called the Baby Blues, where you will feel sad for a few weeks, and then that will pass. But if it doesn’t, there are tons of resources for postpartum depression. Great. I said already kinda feeling that you know, sinking feeling. I was like, well, do you have a list of those resources? No joke. She the doctor says, I’m sure you can just Google them. The doctor said that and left the room. I kid you not. I was privileged enough to have a husband in a support system who did the research for me But not everyone has that. I got help. I got medication. And a new chapter of life began where I could actually start enjoying, like, being with my baby and absolutely loving with every fiber of my being, being a mom. And so I vote to rebrand the Baby Blues as the Baby Hughes because Blue is only one shade on the color wheel, and you will experience a lot of different shades. So over a year in, still processing that season of life, but I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that when you’re going through something hard, don’t aim to get through the experience and get back to your old self. Get curious about your new self. In the thick of postpartum, I’d be I just remember sitting in a chair, just like the one I’m sitting in now rocking her, both of us were crying and just thinking about how the old me would have been able to handle this. The old me would figure this out without crying. The old me could fit into these genes the old me would want to see friends. The old me wouldn’t get overstimulated by music and bright lights. There were so many versions of the old me that I was trying to push myself back to. But the thing I needed to hear, which might sound harsh, is that the version of who I was before Ellie no longer exists. And that might seem scary, but what I’ve learned is that it is actually a permission slip to enter into a new era of you. And let me be clear. This is not one of those, like, bounce back from baby better than ever, people magazine cover stories where, like, the celebrity got her body back, but somehow you know, ran at a time to talk about her live in Nanny and dietitian and private chef and personal trainer, nothing wrong with those, but if you’re gonna talk about your progress, own your privilege with it. And I feel like with trying to get back to the old us, we’re not recognizing the new us. And when we come out of hardship, whether it’s postpartum or really anything in our life, We don’t need to aim for better than ever. Just accept that you’re different. So this isn’t a manifesto to, like, take every hardship and turn out your brightest new addition of yourself. The new me feels more emotional. I get more overstimulated. I forget why I walked into the kitchen And all of this is the composition of a new and different me. The new depth of my feelings can be challenging. Because I feel like I used to live life between, like, a four and a seven on the scale. And now I hit those ones and I hit those tens. And this new range of emotion has changed my career. It’s changed how I write, it’s changed how I speak, and it’s changed how much I care. No. Seriously, I feel like as a professional speaker and author, as a result of caring less about work outcomes. I have a looser approach, which has unboxed a whole other level of creativity in my content, a relaxed demeanor in my presence and performance on stage. I used to think that my future just lived and died by my resume or my bank account. Now I feel motivated to provide for Ellie’s future and my future kid, but I also know that All she needs is her family, and she’s happy. And the other gift I feel like I was given was the green light to be a beginner and try new things because I was so thrown from what I knew that I was good at, that all of a sudden I realized what it felt like to be bad at things. Here’s what I mean. We all get in, like, a rhythm or routine, a comfort cycle where we know who we are. We know what we’re good at. We know our likes. We know our dislikes, and we know what time we wake up and what time we go to bed. And that cycle is great. I love being a creature of habit. However, when you wanna try something new, that’s not a part of your comfort goal, it feels really daunting. But when you experience a huge life change, like having a baby, or moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, or whatever it might be. A huge piece of your comfort circle pie chart is now missing And when a huge piece of the pie is missing, why not just bake a new pie instead of trying to refill that spot exactly as it was. It’s like and I’m, like, I get I’m really big on analogies right now. It’s like you make built this beautiful house made of Legos. And all of a sudden, something smashes it into all of its individual pieces. Instead of trying to rebuild the house of Legos exactly how it was before, why not make something different? Like a dinosaur or a car, or just ask chat GPT what you should create. So after my Legos were smashed when Ellie was born, and I got help, which for me meant medication, childcare, and a lot of help with Jake and my parents living close by, I signed up for stand up comedy classes. It was something I always wanted to try. But obviously was scared and always seemed to talk myself out of it. But this was my new Lego project under construction. So Instead of focusing on rebuilding the OldME, I welcomed what the new me was curious about. So, baby or not, over the past three years, we’ve all collectively experienced hardship and uncertainty as a result of the pandemic. Some of you might have your legos smashed on the table. Others might be starting to rebuild but wherever you are. And whenever you’re ready, I welcome you to take any life change. As the permission to pivot into a new version of you. You are allowed to grieve the old you while being optimistic about the new you. Both of those can exist at once. So with that, I will leave you with this. Don’t focus on becoming better. Focus on evolving into new versions of yourself. Whatever that means in this season of you.

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