Meet Natalie from Pennsylvania!
(Originally a Jersey girl!)
Let’s give a very warm welcome to Natalie! How are you feeling today mama?
Today I woke up feeling motivated! I mentally planned out my day, and hopefully I get to be as productive as I say I will be. It is tough to keep the house clean with a toddler but I try!
How many children do you have?
I have one daughter, who just turned 2, and even writing that out sounds crazy! Time flies!
How old were you when you had your first child?
I was actually 20 when I found out I was pregnant. I had just received my Associate’s Degree and was planning to travel the world! God had different plans for me but that’s okay, he gave me my best treasure!
Do you remember your initial reaction when you found out you were pregnant?
When I found out I was pregnant, I was flooded with many emotions. I was terrified, excited, nervous, and anxious! So many thoughts were going through my head, how was I going to tell my parents? What would be my boyfriend’s reaction? OMG WILL LABOR HURT? Before even taking a pregnancy test, I already had a gut feeling that I was pregnant. Once the test came out positive, I really said “I knew it!”.
What first comes to mind when you think of mental health?
When talking or thinking about mental health, my initial thoughts are how taboo that subject is, and how a lot of people take mental health for granted. It is so essential for ourselves to take care of our mental health, and unfortunately many are afraid to seek help. It is easier said than done, but encouraging others who may be afraid to get help can go a long way! Be that supportive friend/family member that others need!
Do you suffer from any mental illnesses yourself?
I have personally not been properly diagnosed, but anxiety does run in my family. I have never experienced anxiety symptoms up until last month. This pandemic has taken a toll on my mental health, but I try to remain positive and practice self-care as much as possible.
How was your mental health before you became a mama? How has motherhood changed or improved your mental health?
Before becoming a mommy, I had such a strong façade, I was known as the tough one in my family. No one could ever bring me down, make me feel bad, and you better believe that I spoke my mind! I had no worries in the world, and I was able to go out whenever I wanted. Though I was never a party girl, I loved having my freedom! I mean who doesn’t right?! I had so much more time for self-care, but once I become a mom, everything changed! I no longer was this tough girl, but a mom who had the softest spot for her little girl. Once I actually met my daughter, I vowed to make the best decisions for her, and always put her first. Motherhood turned me into this sensitive person, who in a way feared messing up my daughter’s life. See my mom was a single mom for a while, and though I was very little, I understood the struggle that my mom went through, for my sister and I. There was a time where I feared becoming a single parent and having my daughter go through the same situation, but my boyfriend and I sat down many times for that specific conversation. Putting our daughter’s wellbeing is a priority to us and we promised to always ensure the best for her. Hearing him say that he wanted to give his little girl the world, reassured me that things would be just fine.
I definitely did not have planned to become a mom, and since everything happened so fast, I did not have much time to mentally prepare myself. I can honestly say that my mental health deteriorated a little, not because of my daughter (I love her more than anything in this world), but because I had to adjust to a new lifestyle. I was not able to go out as much, or practice self-care as often. Balancing mom life and my own personal needs is a little tough, even now, but I try my best to put myself first sometimes too. I luckily have such a supportive partner who realizes that I need mental health breaks here and there!
Do you self-care?
I try to practice self-care as much as I can. My daughter is mine all morning and afternoon until dad is home. Once my boyfriend gets home, it is my time to do some self-care routines. I do my nails, and I LOVE taking long showers, it is so relaxing. I also occasionally binge-watch my favorite show, it helps me unwind after a long day of running after a toddler!
Advice for other mamas…
Some advice that I would give to mommies, especially new ones, is to not be afraid to ask for help. I was offered a lot of help when my daughter was born. If someone asks if they can watch your baby, let them! it gives you time for a quick nap or a shower. Do not feel any less of a mother for accepting help. Also, if you are like me and do not mind waking up early, wake up a little earlier than your kids. You can use that time to drink your coffee in peace haha! It gives me a little heads up in my day and helps as self-care in a way.
Let’s lighten it up!
What’s your drink of choice?
I LOVE COFFEE. It is such a cliché for a mom to say it but it is true!
What’s the cutest thing your kid has done?
To date, the cutest thing my daughter has done was go to the backyard, pick a flower, and walk back into the house handing it to me. What made it cute to me was that I was literally in the middle of a mental break down! Her innocence was a wakeup call for me, and I realized that I need to enjoy the present, and her while she is still so little!
Do you have a favorite restaurant or snack?
I think that my favorite snacks have to include chocolate and peanut butter. I have such a sweet tooth! As for fast food, I do have to say that Panera, will always be my go-to!
Tell us your go-to song at the moment!
At the moment, I do not have a go-to song but anything reggaetón will do, it’s the Hispanic in me! I do have to say though that my favorite artists are Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Adele. My family says I love sad music hahaha!
What’s one thing you want to do when this pandemic ends?
Once this pandemic is over, I WANT TO GO TO DISNEY. I am a huge Disney dork and I actually have a trip planned, but it is definitely something I am looking forward to!
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 and my latest video on Youtube💋