The radiant Sarah Colbath and Rufus (3)
Becoming a mother was something Sarah didn't realize she wanted to do until she was approaching her mid-twenties, "when some sort of bionic, clock-driven urge burst into my every waking thought. I went from 0 to 60 on wanting to have a baby and it was a very strange experience". She and her partner agreed she should get through school first and then they would go from there, but on a lengthy trip around the world they accidentally got pregnant. Despite her desire, the unexpected nature of her conception caused her to become utterly depressed and terrified. "It was an incredibly conflicting experience that I hold a lot of pain and guilt around. I thought a lot about those who try so hard to get pregnant, or lose their babies and I felt wholly undeserved of this person who would be entering our lives. I considered abortion while abroad, and again at home, but couldn't wrap my head around it. I hoped the pregnancy would pass on it's own. More guilt. I cried a lot. I felt alone despite lots of support. I went to a few counseling sessions which made me feel worse. I worried about life after pregnancy and who I would become".
Luckily as a doula and future midwife, Sarah already had a lot of knowledge around preparing for birth and had an amazing team at home. She thinks this made all the difference in her transition to the fourth trimester. Her son was an angelic newborn and for the first few months she was in love and happy to be where life had steered them. It got really hard after he started to get bigger and more awake and she went back to school. She struggled with her emotions and has definitely experienced postpartum depression and rage - "A lot of which I didn't realize I was experiencing until I emerged from the fog of the first few years".
She says that becoming a mother has been the most tumultuous, emotional, joyous, terrifying, and beautiful thing. They continue to bed-share and breastfeed, an experience that has been 100% the right decision for their family, and she can also understand why it is 100% not the right path for many others. "I feel wildly touched out most of my day, and struggle to find peace in this stage of motherhood. I know I will miss it, as everyone tells you, but I also try to validate my own experience as a mom of a young boy, which often feels like a long, challenging slog. Rufus has a wild and defiant soul, but he's so sweet and loving. I trust that he chose us to be his parents, and I try to honor our journeys here in this life with love and patience, and trust that it's all happening as it should".
Sarah says that she has never felt comfortable sharing her story because she often feels it is less relevant, some how. "I try to view that feeling objectively as a product of the patriarchy, and additionally the sensationalism that surrounds our lives constantly through political and social medias. This project is a challenge for me to find worth in myself as a person, a woman, and a mother. I also hope I can help shed some light on prenatal depression, which is much less known and is a topic on which few conversations are taking place. I also want to help establish normalcy around full-term breastfeeding, in part because there is a lack of understanding of scientific information around human biology and breastfeeding. I also want to participate in protest against the maddening double standard that women face around breastfeeding and our bodies in general. I look forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone in many different ways!"