Meet Annalyn from Utah!
Let’s give a warm welcome to Annalyn! Hi mama, how are you?
I’m actually doing really good, which is saying a lot right now! I was able to have a break away from my children and then we all spent some time with our families. It was great to have some time off from everyday stress! We all need an occasional break in order to thrive!
How many children do you have?
I have four children ages 10, 5, 2 (almost 3) and 1.5.
How old were you when you had your first child?
I was 18. So young!
Do you remember your initial reaction when you found out you were pregnant?
I was terrified. I was kind of in shock too. But I had this instant love and connection even then. I just knew this child was meant to be mine.
What first comes to mind when you think of mental health?
The first thing I think of is depression. That’s probably because it has been a huge part of my life for the last 10 years!
Do you suffer from any mental illnesses yourself?
I struggle with PTSD, Postpartum depression and anxiety.
How was your mental health before you became a mama? How has motherhood changed or improved your mental health?
I had some anxiety and depression off and on in High School. But becoming a mother was a traumatic experience for me and it deeply affected my mental health. The way I became a first-time mother left a scar for sure. Having my second baby was an incredibly beautiful and healing experience because it was an intentional experience of love. That wasn’t the case with my first. But even so, after a few months, I developed postpartum depression that stole the joy from me. I experienced postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression after my third and fourth baby too. With my fourth baby, the depression and PTSD symptoms were pretty severe. It has taken months to get back to normal and I’m still working hard on it daily.
How do you self care?
I go to therapy every week with someone I trust. That is a huge one! I also try to eat mostly whole foods, exercise regularly, and get enough rest. Trust me, I know how hard those basics can be, but they are vital to your mental health! One thing that was really difficult but made a huge difference for me was getting dressed every day. It is easy NOT to when you are exhausted and depressed! I made myself do it because I had to go outside and feed chickens and water my garden every day. Just being dressed made it more likely that I would exercise, go shopping, or be open to socializing with others. As an introvert, I isolate myself when depressed. But I still need a connection. So getting dressed and ready is important. Another really important part of my self-care is meditation and visualization. I especially enjoy guided gratitude meditations. I also enjoy getting out in nature, and having some occasional alone time.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share?
You know, there are so many things I think I’m doing wrong all the time as a mom. But my 5 years old still just want to be exactly like me when she grows up. All she wants is to be a mom (and have millions of babies, lol). I think it’s just evidence that we are doing better than we think!
Advice for other mamas:
You can’t give what you don’t have. So you MUST prioritize your self-care. Self-care is a practice, not a luxury. You have to work on it a little bit every single day. Also, don’t be afraid to get help. Therapy, medication, or just more support from your loved ones can make all the difference. If YOU are well, you can give motherhood your best.
AND DON’T FORGET…
Mama, you are enough. You are SO enough. Please know that! And know that it’s okay if it’s hard. That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. You aren’t falling if you can’t do it all. You are enough for this moment. Things aren’t perfect, but they are going to be okay. As long as you are trying, you can feel successful about that!
Let’s lighten it up!
What’s your favorite drink?
I am a water lover! You’ll think I’m crazy, but I haven’t had a soda in 15 years! I also don’t drink coffee, or anything caffeinated. I would choose water over just about anything else.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
I adore Call the Midwife. It makes me wish I could be a midwife myself! I rewatched the whole series after I had my fourth baby. I could watch it again if I could find the time!
What’s the cutest thing your kid has done?
There are so many. How do I choose? One that stands out to me right now is how my daughter thinks Preschool is “Pretty school” and cat litter is “Cat Glitter”. I’m definitely raising a little girl 🤣.
Salty or sweet?
I have a sweet tooth and love eating fruit or chocolate or any kind of treat. But I also love salty. I have really been loving lightly salted pistachios lately! I can’t get enough.
I have a sweet kitty. He is a big furball. My family named him Thanos (killer of mice, not half of all of humanity, lol). His real name is Theo. We rescued him from the shelter earlier this year.
Interested in being interviewed for Mothers & Mental Health?
Your voice and your story matter. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject INTERVIEW and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
As always, thanks so much for reading! Questions, comments, and feedback are always welcome. If you enjoyed this post, please comment, like and share! Make sure to check out my Instagram; @T_scorner 💋