I'm Canadian, living in Calgary, Alberta. I've been running an online business for over 10 years now. I've created more websites than I can count. And I probably say "eh", like a true Canadian, more often than I know.
My husband is a full-time visual artist. We went to art school at the same time but didn't know each other. It wasn't till years later that we were introduced. It was at a local art market. After that, things moved pretty quickly and we fell in love. His artwork is his passion and I am his biggest fan.
I knew pretty early on that my life would never include a 9-5 downtown office job.
At 18 I took an art class for fun, enjoyed every minute of it, and then decided to go to art school. It was kind of a fluke how I landed on something that would take me through many years of my life. For an art project I had to make something out of some screenprinted fabric I had made in a textiles class. I wasn't sure what the heck to do, so I decided to make a couple bags. I knew right away I had a knack for this, so I ran with it. For the rest of my art school years, and many years after, I created handmade bags.
I sold them at local craft shows and online. And when I graduated I dove head first in to selling my bags on Etsy. For the next 7 years I created an incredible full-time income source for myself.
The best part was that I was that I could do this on my own terms. My own time. And using my own creativity.
In January of 2016, our sweet baby girl was born in to the world. And like many of you parents out there, I was not prepared at all for the drastic changes that were about to happen to me.
My birth didn't go the way I had dreamed it would. Instead of a natural birth with my midwife, I ended up with an emergency c-section in the hospital and lots of medication. The pain of recovery was hard on me. Both physically and emotionally. It breaks my heart to say this, but I didn't even want to hold my baby when she was born. I was so shocked by what had just happened to my body. Major stomach surgery. A big incision that would forever leave a permanent scar. Not being able to walk to the bathroom because it was too painful. It was too much for me to process at the time.
Our daughter was colicky for the first 3 months of life. She cried a lot. It felt like she was never happy, unless I was nursing. So that's what I did all day long. It was the only way she would sleep.
Her crying took a really big toll on our relationship. My husband and I felt like we had been hit by a truck. We even thought about separating because really it was the only thing we could control.
Looking back I know that my depression and anxiety started almost immediately after she was born.
And it got worse as time went on. I remember wondering if it would ever end. If I'd ever feel calm and happy around my baby. It took a long time to get to that point. Almost 5 months. I had friends telling me "isn't it the greatest thing to be a mom!?" I felt so much shame because I didn't feel that way at all. I hated it. In many ways I wished I could go back in time and make it go away.
(Boy is that hard to say out loud. The guilt and shame I felt as a new mom were just enormous.)
It wasn't until my husband and I started dividing up our time with our daughter that I started to begin to heal. When she was around six months old, we started "work shifts". I would take the mornings off from baby duty and work on my business. And he would watch our daughter. Then in the afternoons we'd switch.
I also began going to yoga. In particular, I focused on the restorative and meditative classes. It was during this time I began to face my pain and embrace it. In some ways I had to mourn the loss of the birth and newborn experience I thought I would have. And face the reality of it all.
My sweet girl is one year old now. And she is incredible. I love her immensely. She is my world.
I still face this pain and get anxiety with my daughter from time to time. But it is so much better now. I still look back on my birth with sadness. But I know that that's okay now. This experience is such a big part of who I am today. And it is so important that I constantly work at healing the pain from it. Having a child is such a unique and personal experience for us all as mommas. And we have to honour and support each other for that.