The amazing Andrea Lewis and Elliot (14 months).
Andrea's mother passed away when Andrea was just 13 years old. In the year leading up to her death, due to a brain tumor, her mother lost the ability to even know who they were. While this obviously impacted Andrea hugely she said she didn't do much to accept or address her mothers death until she became a mom herself.
Andrea has dealt with anxiety in her daily life for quite some time and has taken daily medication as a tool to help treat and cope with her anxiety. When she conceived Elliot, she knew she'd have to wean off the medications she was taking and chose to remain unmedicated throughout her pregnancy. Andrea saw a therapist throughout her pregnancy to help her cope and she realized that because her baseline had been different on medication, there were a lot of emotions that she hadn't navigated. There was a period of getting used to feeling every feeling that took some adjusting to.
Andrea had a very healthy pregnancy and chose to have a cesarean birth. Eliminating some of the unknowns that come with childbirth was the best choice for her and she enjoyed knowing that the doctors were looking after both her and her baby so closely. While Andrea's recovery was difficult and painful, it was uncomplicated and she knew what she was signing up for which helped her through it.
Breastfeeding was very important to Andrea and so she chose to remain off medication for the time being. It hasn't always been easy and there have been times, especially in the early weeks, where her fight or flight was in such high gear she had to focus on the fact that her son needed her for his next feeding to keep her grounded. Andrea has learned to cope by being honest and transparent with her friends and family and giving herself the space and time she needs to manage and recharge. She's grateful to have such supportive people in her life.
Andrea never knew how much she needed her mom until she herself became a mother and it has been painful at times, knowing she isn't able to draw on her for help. Through allowing herself the space to grieve, she's been able to accept her loss, and has realized that rather than follow in her mothers footsteps she gets to invent motherhood for herself and decide who and what she wants to be as a mother with her own intentions.
Stepping outside of her comfort zone is something that Andrea is trying to challenge herself with and that's what drew her to celebrate her birthday with us sharing her story and documenting this moment in time with her beautiful boy.