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postpartum — a beautiful bitch

I’m 5 months postpartum & I’ve started therapy last week with a professional whom I trust & feel completely comfortable being vulnerable with —whilst sitting in front of a tiny screen in the comfort of my own living room (teletherapy).

If anything, I just need to process & unpack things I’ve learned, felt, experienced, & observed this year—from pregnancy, postpartum, postpartum in a pandemic, uncovering racial injustices, unlearning racist systems I’m guilty of perpetuating, recognizing the greed and corruption in our current capitalistic and colonized healthcare institutions & just learning to navigate parenthood with a myriad of contradicting pathways to choose from.

Nevertheless, my own body has been in a state of overwhelm and exhaustion. I’ve not granted myself permission to lean into my feelings about the rollercoaster of emotions that comes from carrying, birthing, & supporting a baby with my body. And now, in the midst of a pandemic, I’m navigating the stuff being mostly isolated and with this sense I’m doing it alone.

My partner works full time and sometimes is not home until it’s almost bedtime for the baby. I have long stretches of time where it’s just me and the baby, while I also try to work from home and it can be beautiful but it can also be very ugly. I’m tired. I don’t recognize myself and sometimes as much as I want to socialize and need the support, the stress, anxiety, and depression keep me from going anywhere or reaching out.

As a perinatal therapist and social worker who works with homeless and near homeless families, it feels like I’ve been hyper-aware of my privilege lately and because of this, I’ve thought, “how dare I even feel this way?” I truly have felt I did not deserve the right to seek out support or vent out my own frustrations and hurt safely because I felt I have “no right to complain”.

Anyway, It’s important to share my concerns, fears, & focus intentionally on what I can actively do & control within my bubble with an unbiased professional. The wellbeing of the ones I hold most dear as well as members of my community depend on it. I now feel it’s it’s okay for me to hold space for both.

In fact, It’s potentially harmful to those I seek to be of service to & walk beside because I cannot intentionally hold space for the perinatal community at large without giving myself a safe place to breathe, metabolize my own history of stress.

We are not meant to do ANY of this alone. My therapist said it best, “Postpartum—it’s a beautiful bitch, isn’t it?”

shared by guest author Kelsie Hammons, LMSW, PMH-C