Evan Goldstein Wiggill (37) and Jones (5)
Evan shares -
“I have not “lost” any children and recognize that is an immeasurable pain. I did however lose the idea of having multiple children after my son’s father and I split up. I never ever imagined having an only child. In fact, my father was an only child and would always say, “an only child is a lonely child” and made me promise not to only have one child. My son now has a half brother and step brother by way of his dad but I definitely have mourned the loss of having the kind of traditional, full siblings I always imagined.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my body and while that definitely still remains, age and motherhood have allowed for some grace and space for gratitude I did not have before. I was in awe of how much my body innately knew to do while pregnant and it allowed me to see it as more than just something that I want to mold, shrink, stretch and tighten, to something that has such a bigger purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself looking at 20-somethings with a melancholy envy but motherhood has given me the levity to also realize that’s a cruel comparison!
I didn’t realize it until I was years out and looking back at all the suffering I created, but I definitely experienced postpartum depression. I always have, and still do, struggle with some level of anxiety and depression but this was so intense and almost like a wave crashing over me but I never had time to stand back up to realize what was happening before another wave came. So it was just survival. And it was compounded by some intense family issues.
At the same time my son was born, my father was diagnosed with the stage 4 cancer that would soon take him, my brother was struggling with addiction and we were rallying to get him into treatment, I got a huge promotion at work, and I felt extremely disconnected from my then-husband. In all of it, my trigger was my struggle with breast feeding. The struggle was expected, as I’d had surgery to remove masses from my breast years earlier. Unexpected was how attached not being able to provide enough milk to my son was attached to my self worth.
I abused myself mentally and physically trying to produce milk and convinced myself I was a failure as a mother when nothing worked. And I stuck to that story for a LONG time. Looking back, it was just something I could control in an very uncontrollable time (some old anorexia thoughts creeping in). And, crazy thing is, I STILL feel the old wound when someone talks about how great their milk supply was or even when my son gets sick. That voice saying “he’s sick because you didn’t breastfeed long enough.” Luckily now I have the tools to be like, “Okay, no. Your son is a toddler and licks literally everything and that’s a much more likely reason for this very normal cold.”
You are, more than likely, doing so much better than you give yourself credit for. I, like so many women, have a tendency to be so hard on myself and all it does is get me more worked up and more disconnected from the place I need to be to be grounded and living my truth. One thing I do to help is picture myself as a friend of mine and talk to myself that way. What would you tell your friend if she was in this place? Surely you wouldn’t kick her when she’s down, so can you be your own friend? This has really helped me be kinder to myself. Then, from that place, I can make decisions with more faith than fear. Which I think is really the ultimate advice - trust your instincts. But, of course, to that you gotta see yourself as awesome as you really are. So, it’s a process.
I started following this movement when a good friend experienced a miscarriage (hate that word) and learned so much more than I ever imagined about everything from empathizing during a loss, to body acceptance, and even about women’s rights and gender fluidity. When I saw you were coming to Miami, and hosted by my doula, I was called to be a part of something bigger than myself (even though it terrifies me to have my picture taken in general and in underwear?! Yeah, hard pass.) I work in advertising and have spent way too many hours fighting against photoshopping every imperfection and casting “perfect” bodies for corporate campaigns. I crave the community fighting against this. And, on a more selfish level, I feel myself clinging to my sons “baby days” and wanted to preserve this moment with him before taking pictures in our underwear was a no go! Being pretty confident I won’t have more children I feel extra sentimental about him growing up and ending this phase of the motherhood journey so this was a gift to myself.”