Updated: May 26, 2021
*Trigger warning: discussion around postpartum depression, anxiety, and motherhood*
Jodie | Burlington, ON | Triathlete & Founder and Executive Director of Fitness for Mental Health
I spent many years trying to convince myself that motherhood wasn’t for me. I told myself that the postpartum would be hard. I told myself that it wouldn’t be fair to pass down my anxiety to another human, but something in the universe told me that becoming a mom was something that I had to do (so here we are). Recently, I’ve had to learn how to manage my anxiety in different ways than I’m used to, but in a strange way, the pandemic has been a bit of a blessing. There are less expectations of me. I’ve been able to rest and move body when it feels right. I’ve had time to consider how to build my aftercare support network… and the community is there. A group of individuals who will not only help me with my mental health, but teaching me how to do this thing.
I haven’t asked anyone else yet if they wake up at 3 am thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Is it normal to be this scared? Meditation has really helped by being able to acknowledge my fears. To be able to recognize them and then allow them to pass. Knowing that whatever is meant to be; will be. That the only thing I can do right now is exist, in the best possible form that I can.
I remember going to the doctor for the first time when I was around 26. I thought I had high blood pressure. I told her, “My fingers are tingling,” and she told me to take some time off work. Fast forward 5 years and I found a doctor who told me I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). That day was the day that my whole world changed - for the better. I had something that would help me, a diagnosis. Something that I could learn about, a medical condition that I could treat. I’ve spent the last four years of my life learning about mental illness, discovering that our mental health is just as volatile as our physical health, and trying to understand why these two things are treated so differently in the medical system and not to mention in our everyday lives. Talking about it makes it so much easier. The more we talk about it, the easier it gets.
I think about our son, and what I want to teach him about mental health. About all the things I didn’t know. To be able to talk to him and tell him, "There’s nothing to be ashamed of my little boy, it’s a part of who you are, and it’s our superpower."
Photography & Creative Direction: Nikki Dicunto