A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

For most of my adult life, I’ve struggled with varying degrees of depression. It’s not something I talk about often because it’s not in my nature to make a big fuss over (what I perceive as) my flaws or weaknesses.

I’m also extremely fortunate that my depression tends to be cyclical and relatively moderate. And I’ve been through the cycles often enough that, even at my worst, even when I might not believe it in the moment—part of my mind always knew that at some point there would be light at the end of that dark and lonely tunnel.

Then I had a baby. And suddenly I found myself walking that tunnel not alone, head down and determined to power through to the end, but carrying precious cargo, unable to stop and address my own wounds because, well, I had more important things to focus on.

In some ways, it was good. I couldn’t wallow or exaggerate my problems in my own mind—to me, they just weren’t as important as whatever my baby needed. But, in other ways, it made things so much harder.

I couldn’t pause and practice self-care the way I would in the past because, well, to me, that just wasn’t as important as whatever my baby needed.

Postpartum depression (thankfully!) gets a lot of attention these days, but for millions of mamas, the dark days don't end after their baby's first (or third…or eighth...) birthday. So, to the mama whose depression struggles started long before that plus sign on the pregnancy test and will continue long after, I want you to know:

You are not alone.

You are not alone in those dark, disquieting thoughts. For me, depression brain is a voice whispering at the back of my mind as my husband and I watch a movie before bed: “He knows your flaws…how could he want to stay married to you?”

Depression brain is a voice whispering at the back of my mind when I see my friend’s post from a girls’ dinner on Instagram: “They didn’t invite you because you’re so boring now.”

Depression brain is a voice whispering at the back of my mind after I snap at a tantrum: “You should have handled that better. You are a terrible mother.”

Depression brain is a voice whispering at the back of my mind in the middle of one of my 2-year-old's famous bear hugs: "I wonder when she'll stop loving you?"

That voice is one we all hear, saying different things, but all with the same message: You are failing and unlovable. And it lies to all of us, mama.

You are not alone in the moments of pain. When your body feels so heavy you think your clothes might actually be made of lead. The physical implications of depression are so real. And for every time you curl up in bed thinking you just can’t do another day, I promise you another mom is feeling the exact same way.

But isolation is not your friend, so reach out to someone. Find a small circle of people you feel safe talking about your depression with, and give them the language you need to express when you are going through a low. (I.e. "I'm not feeling like myself lately..." or “Remember a few months ago when I was having a hard time…it’s happening again.”)

You are not alone in the loss. In the moments when you don't or can't answer "What's wrong?” because if you start to talk about it, you'll start crying and you may never stop. Talking about it will help, mama, so do your research and find a professional you can meet with. But there are also many things you can do for yourself to help take care of yourself.

Journal your feelings, book an exercise class, plan a relaxing evening at home, take a bath, prepare a nutritious meal, schedule a night out—whatever you know will help you feel cared for and strong.

You are not alone in the moments of anger. When you snap at your husband, resentful that he can't make you happy or that he seems so light while you squirm under this boulder of sadness, praying for rescue. Or maybe you snap at your mom. Or your friend. Or, perhaps worst of all, your child.

While you don’t want to get comfortable losing your temper on whoever is in front of you, carrying the burden of guilt for not being perfect isn’t helping you heal. Take a moment to breathe and try to come back to the conversation from a place of empathy. Try saying: “I’m sorry I said that. I’m feeling sad (or stressed) today, but I shouldn’t take it out on you.”

You are not alone in the moments of guilt. Guilt—heavy as an actual weight on your chest—that your child will remember her mom as sad. That she will remember her mom as sad all the time.

On my worst days, this thought guts me. I want to raise my daughter as positive and confident and happy, and every day that passes under a cloud of depression, I worry that I’ve already messed it all up. But I know it’s important to remember that, if I learn to deal with this (and my family deals with this) in a positive way, there’s a good chance she will learn to deal positively too.

And pretending that everything is great all the time wouldn’t be setting her up to deal with anxiety or depression or even just run-of-the-mill sadness she might/will experience in a healthy way. So I try to keep the dialogue honest: “Sometimes Mama feels sad or anxious without any clear reason, but we should always feel safe to talk about how we feel and try to find ways to help each other feel better.”

And I always remind her that she is so deeply loved no matter what.

Depression is often not visible. Especially as a mom, it’s often not days spent in a dark room or hours and hours of crying in the shower. We are pulled back into the world by our children, and so our suffering is usually much better hidden—or at least more easily missed.

Depression as a mother can mean days of weighted down hopelessness, extreme insecurity and feelings of being unloved or unlovable.

But remember, mama, you are neither of those things. And you are never, ever alone.

If you’re struggling with depression, know you can always get help. Call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone today.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

You might also like:

Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.

Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

You might also like:

As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.