Malinda Costa, Victoria Patrice (3), and Vivianne Cesaria (10 months)
Wilmington, MA. Photographed in West Springfield, Mass.
Malinda shares -
"I am amazed at what my body did. From conception to delivering the placenta every moment of each time was jaw dropping. My body did something truly amazing TWICE and I love it for that. Sure I have my moments that I catch myself thinking about how I used to look but it doesn't last long as I am blessed to have had such fantastic experiences.
With my oldest daughter postpartum was much harder than I expected. I read all the books, hired a doula, packed the perfect bag and made all the arrangements. The birth center was fantastic. My labor and delivery were a little out of the norm but not bad. Victoria latched on immediately and nursed for at least an hour. But when we got home and my milk came in so did the blocked ducts and mastitis. From there, it was a four week struggle to get my baby girl to latch. Finally, a home visit from a lactation consultant saved us. It wasn't anything she thought me but something she said while she was liking out the door - "Relax mom, either way your baby is doing great."
About 45 minutes later I picked up my crying newborn unhooked my nursing tank relaxed my shoulders sat up straight and brought her nose to my engorged nipple and then it happened. She latched on and it brought tears to my eyes.
Postpartum depression and anxiety don't just happen to moms who harm their babies or ultimately end their own lives. There are degrees of severity. My postpartum anxiety made itself know in the form of horrific daydreams. Whether I was driving on the highway or walking down a flight of stairs, my mind would take me to a scary place while making up terrible things that could happen to us. I had no idea this was a form of postpartum anxiety and depression. It lead me to keep the thoughts to myself because I didn't want to scare anyone. I was happy, I loved my babies, I wasn't "depressed" but my hormones said otherwise. On the outside I was your typically glowing but tired mom but on the inside I was scared of what my thoughts meant. I would tell myself and other parents to be honest with yourself, partner and doctors about how you're feeling. Everyone's journey is different but you aren't alone.
I have no momento's of my childhood to share with my girls someday. I never want them to have to go through that. If I'm ever no longer with them someday I want them to have these photos and my storytelling look back on and know how proud I am that these two beautiful girls are what made me a new woman, a mother. "