Rachel Platten is an award-winning singer whose hit "Fight Song" is the perfect soundtrack to a bad day. She's a busy, touring performer and also a new mom who's not hiding the fact that she is fighting postpartum anxiety.
Platten is among the many moms who are participating in the March of Dimes #unspokenstories initiative, sharing the challenging and frustrating parts of motherhood on social media in the hopes of making a change for the mothers who come after them.
She welcomed her daughter Violet Skye back in January and tells Motherly that while she had a difficult pregnancy, she still wasn't prepared for how challenging postpartum life can feel and the anxiety that would linger after her maternity leave ended.
"I think I just didn't realize how incredibly hard it is to make a human and then what the first couple of weeks or months postpartum would feel like. That was the biggest shock," Platten tells Motherly, adding that she's very lucky to have support many mothers can't afford, as well as a great partner, and friends and family who were there when she needed them.
"But none of that mattered. It still felt very lonely," she says.
We know that early motherhood is so hard, and agree with Platten when she says that every new mom needs to have other women in her corner to back her up on those bad days when little things feel like impossible challenges. That was the case for Platten when the power at her house went out one day. In their pre-baby says she and her husband would have just lit some candles and turned an inconvenience into an opportunity for romance, but with a baby in the house, a power outage caused a lot of stress.
"My husband and I started fighting, doubting ourselves, frantically trying to find a place to save my dwindling frozen milk supply that I'd need this week for an out of town show, running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We were underslept and exhausted and by the end of the day our mellow, sweet violet was screaming at the top of her lungs for two hours straight and could not be comforted," Platten shared on Instagram.
In short, it was a very bad day, and not the only one she has had since becoming a mother and juggling her new family life with touring and working.
"I've cried a lot in green rooms, cried through feedings, cried huddled on the bus knowing I have months of this to go wondering what on earth I got myself into with an infant?" she captioned another Instagram photo recently.
In that post and in her conversation with Motherly, Platten emphasized the importance of finding other moms to connect with in the fourth trimester. "I can't recommend enough to new moms finding your own group and building it," she says. "I had no idea how much I needed other women until now."
Platten turns to her friends and reaches out for help when she needs to and she wants other mothers to feel comfortable doing the same. That's why she's sharing her story so publicly, so that other moms will know that "even if you're crying while you're feeding the baby, you are enough," she says.
Platten's sharing her #unspokenstories because she thinks the stories that are spoken, the ones about glowing pregnant women who aren't puking in airport bathrooms and the perfect pictures we see on Instagram are contributing to a kind of wishful thinking, a social denial that paints motherhood as easy and breezy when it is really, really hard.
This denial can make moms think that if they're not cherishing every moment with their baby or loving #momlife that something is wrong with them, but nothing is wrong with us. It's really just that hard, mama. That's the truth more people need to speak.
"If you're struggling through it, you are beautiful and you're doing an amazing job," says Platten. "I want everyone to be easier on themselves."
And that's why she is sharing a story that isn't easy to share.
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