Overcoming PPA/D and the Excitement of the Second Year

May 11, 2024

Olivia talks about her experience navigating postpartum anxiety and depression as a new mom, and how much fun she’s had as her baby grows. Read more about her journey in motherhood below.

First, tell us your name and a bit more about yourself!

Before anything else, I am a mom to a sweet and spunky one year old, Lila, and wife to my college sweetheart. Our little family lives in New Hampshire where we spend our free time gardening, boating, hiking, traveling and taking care of our many animals (one dog, two cats and 12 chickens!) I started my first business, Current, a brand and website design studio, so I could live this exact life to have the freedom to spend time with my family, while also doing what I love. I am also a mentor for Creatives, helping them build a business around their dream life through templates, courses, a mastermind and my podcast, Behind the Design. I truly love doing both, work and momming, but I don’t have much free time at the moment! When I do, I enjoy going on walks, reading and hanging out with friends.

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

One daughter, Lila. She is one (14 months)

What has been your favorite stage of motherhood yet? What has been the hardest yet? And is there a stage you’re looking forward to or nervous to reach? Why?

I’m going to be very honest here because I didn’t hear it enough before having a baby and I feel like these words could help take the weight off some moms’ shoulders…. I really struggled through the first 6 months of motherhood. The newborn stage was unusually rough for us because we could not put Lila down, had to hold her 24/7 and if you were holding her you had to be standing, would stay awake for hours at night – kind of rough. I had postpartum anxiety and depression, but didn’t know all of this until I was on the other side about 6 months postpartum. BUT, after all that, it felt like overnight something changed and everything started to calm down and ever since then every day really does get better and better. I feel like I’ve been saying this every day for a few months now, but NOW is my favorite age. Lila now makes herself (and us) laugh all the time, she has her own personality, she’s running around and is truly so much fun. I do not miss that new baby stage at all, but I would love to preserve this time! It’s so exciting watching her grow and I can’t wait to see how she continues to develop, but I guess I’m nervous about preserving her innocence.

Tell us about your journey into motherhood. How was the transition from no kids to kids?

We were very much ready for kids, however the transition was still shocking. I think it’s one of those things where you can read and listen as much as you want, but you really don’t know until you do it yourself. I think we will constantly be learning things through every new sage of parenthood, so we try to give ourselves as much grace as possible. We are definitely people who kept going with “life as usual” as much as possible. We bring Lila everywhere with us, we travel with her (she already has 2 passport stamps), she eats the food we eat, listens to our music, etc. Our life did not stop after having her, it’s only gotten better!

How do you define your role as a mother? What does being a mother mean to you?

Being a mother is everything to me. I’d like to define my role as a confidant, teacher and role model. Every day I am not perfect, but I strive to be there for Lila no matter what, and I think that’s what being a mother is – being there for your children, no matter what.

What about motherhood has surprised you?

The amount of free time I had before I became a mom. Like… what the heck was I doing with my time before this!? ha! But in all seriousness, the helplessness of babies and how much they rely on us, and will rely on us, for many many years to take care of them, teach them things and hold their hands through life. I never took motherhood lightly, but the magnitude of holding a baby in your arms every day of their life really surprised me.

We all love a good recommendation when it comes to baby gear! Do you have a favorite item in your baby’s nursery? Tell us about it!

Zoe travel stroller (seriously so light and easy!), Hippie Joey baby carrier (BEST baby carrier of all time, not kidding), and a portable sound machine.

Think back to the early days with your baby(s), then all the way up to today. Is there a memory in your baby’s nursery that stands out? What is it and why is it special?

There’s a lot of talk on social media about how the nursery doesn’t matter and to prepare for motherhood or whatever instead, but the nursery was really important to me. I moved around a lot growing up and my mom always made my room feel so comfy and homey, so I wanted that for my child. I have so many memories in that room, especially in the early days. Nursing, singing, cuddling, reading books, crying, sleeping in the rocking chair. Even now, every morning we spend a few minutes talking and at night we read our books in the nursery and they are memories I’ll cherish forever.

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for new moms?

You know what’s best for you and your baby. Give yourself grace, but also be confident in knowing that you are exactly what your baby needs at the moment. Don’t be afraid to ask for support by reaching out to friends, family, or a mom’s support group. Whatever you’re going through right now, you’re not alone.

And because I have to ask… What’s your favorite thing about the book, Your Nursery Walls?

That it preserves such an underrated, yet important piece of motherhood.

Thanks so much for sharing your motherhood experience with us! Where can we find you outside of this blog post?

@byoliviaaustin for all things business and motherhood!

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