Dear Mama, We were not designed to walk through life alone. Beauty, victories, pain, and losses are just a few of the fibers intertwined within the fabric of our lives - and they often coexist in the same season. Isolation is a dangerous place, and so often, a place where parents find themselves when the latter feel overwhelming. I've shared some of my post-partum struggles with friends and clients, but many don't know that it's one of the main reasons I pursued being a doula. I had two beautiful, empowering births, and certainly wanted to help other moms discover how to have their best birth as well. But the drive behind helping families comes from experiencing the harder, darker things and realizing that coming out from under them wasn't going to happen on my own. Little did I know that the level of support I received in pregnancy and birth was just a taste of what I would need throughout my motherhood journey.
Photo Credit: Nostalgia Studio
One particular day when my son was about two months old, I found myself in a dark corner of his room crying as he slept peacefully. I told God through angry tears that I couldn't understand how He would allow this again after I beg-prayed throughout pregnancy to be spared these feelings of overwhelming anxiety and depression. I felt hurt, angry, confused, alone, and completely hopeless. After all, He so faithfully answered so many prayers throughout my pregnancy and birth. And here I sat now, feeling abandoned.
Even typing it now brings those raw emotions back up - the heart crushing feeling of being pressed on every side, a prisoner inside my own mind. I knew that I appeared to be doing well enough on the outside, but was suffering on the inside. I called my friend and as soon as she gave her usual happy "hellooo!" seeing my number on her caller ID, I couldn't form any words. As I sobbed. I remember her saying, "Oh pal, I don't know what to do. But I'm going to pray for you." As she petitioned the Lord on my behalf right there over the phone, I let go of everything I had been holding in and holding onto, realizing that I had been trying to wade through everything on my own.
As I worked through those times, allowing others to encourage and support me, I often felt peaceful reassurance that I was not being punished or left behind, but was being allowed to experience those struggles for something far beyond my current circumstances. I felt in my heart very assuredly that my experiences were not just about me; that God would use them to strengthen me, build my character, and somehow use them to help others. Though I felt called to be a doula, I remember thinking that no mom would want to hire me - someone who clearly did not have it all together. But in my spirit, I was reminded (and am still reminded all the time) that God doesn't call the equipped - He equips the called. And He also doesn't make mistakes. He was never going to ask me to be perfect to serve Him; He was always just asking me to show up and trust His leading and His timing. I realized that not once was I ever alone or hopeless, and His promise to always be with me would never change. I used to see a rainbow and the first thing I thought about was rain. Now I see them and am reminded that God's promises are unchanging and steadfast in all seasons.
I was not designed to go through those challenges alone, sweet mama, and neither are you. At some point, we will get to the end of our own abilities and need more. We can do hard things, but they are made a little less hard when we allow someone else to step in alongside us. We are #bettertogether.
Romans 5:3-6 2 Corinthains 1:3-5
One of my favorite songs in the months after Meyer was born: "I'm Yours by Lauren Daigle
I chose "Better Together" because motherhood is a beautiful opportunity for transformation, and I believe that a community model of support facilitates healthy discovery and growth. Our society is hurting and divided. We may not each make huge strides in change, but we all have a part to play. I believe that by helping a mother discover her abilities and find her voice through encouragement and truth, she can move forward raising her children in confidence - strengthening our society.
It's paired with a rainbow with three arcs as a reminder that even when we don't have the answers, and no matter what season of life we are experiencing, we can be confident in God's promises to us. Each of us are (1) loved, (2) beautiful, and (3) created for a purpose. And He continuously gives us everything we need to fulfill that purpose.
Since March, so many people have bought t-shirts and given donations, all of which have provided funds for three families to receive quality childbirth education of their choice, one mother to receive reduced-cost doula services, two local Black student midwives furthering their education, and a local non-profit breastfeeding support group. YOU are making a difference in your community, and I can't thank you enough! To order this or other styles supporting Alabama mothers, visit the By Design Birth Doula Services storefont on Bonfire: https://www.bonfire.com/store/by-design-birth-doula-services/