The radiant Rebecca Casto with her daughter Olive Aurora (4). Rebecca got pregnant when she was just 17 and entering her senior year of high school. She had a healthy and uneventful pregnancy other than all day sickness. She had been seeing an obstetrician and he decided to induce her at 40 weeks on the dot. Rebecca labored for 16 hours and felt really disoriented when Olive was born. She had a hard time connecting with her after not feeling present and developed considerable postpartum depression as a result. They attempted to breastfeed and just couldn't get the latch right. Rebecca says that her grandmother and mother didn't have any difficulty breastfeeding so she thought maybe some babies just couldn't do it. Looking back she feels she would have made a lot of different choices in her birth and breastfeeding experience but in the moment she had a hard time identifying what was going on for a long time. Her depression got really bad and she felt like she was reaching out but those she was reaching out to either didn't really understand what was going on or she wasn't conveying clearly. She got involved in a lot of activism as it made her feel like she had a purpose. She met someone there and was raped when her daughter was still less than a year old. She didn't tell anyone what had happened for over a year that she had be raped and it dramatically affected her and the way she bonded with her daughter.
Rebecca says she's in a much better place now in part due to the support she has found from online communities and connecting with those with similar experiences. She didn't feel like her body was hers and needed to process and find that connection. That support, along with other recovery communities and yoga have really helped her to heal. She still has triggers and seasons that are more difficult but she feels that in the last two years she's connected with Olive and those around her more than ever before. She still struggles with feeling as if she did something wrong and carries guilt for feeling like Olive's first year is a filled with fogginess and distance. She has always loved her, she just struggled to find those connections.
Rebecca feel that specific to being a woman and mother there is so much pressure to look and act a certain way and that if you don't you're made to feel inadequate or less worthy. Rather than focus on those physical and arbitrary standards we need to instead find that community. She feels that if anything she says can help bring peace within someone else then she has contributed something worthy here.