I had this whole idea inside my head of how I was going to be a great mom and do “all the right things”, make all the “sacrifices” to stay with my child until they had to go to school and focus solely on child rearing.
When I got pregnant, I was in my last year of college, ready to graduate with two semesters left. I was studying graphic design, which was double the workload of most majors (6 credit hours instead of 3 per class) AND I was also doing a double major in Business.
I quickly realized, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the amount of study hours and stay at home with my child, so I decided to drop graphic design and stay with Business because it was less hours, better paying jobs, and I could switch to fully online.
So I made my first “sacrifice” before I had my child to forgo attending classes -having any human interaction- to study fully online.
Later, my husband and I had a brilliant idea to start a business right after having a newborn. We went $30k in debt and struggled in the beginning.
I struggled to keep up with schoolwork while I became a new mom. I had no help from family because both our extended families live in other countries (Norway and Peru).
Last but not least, I went into a severe postpartum depression. It started with intermittent crying, a complete inability to take care of myself because I was hyper focused on taking care of this new little life entrusted to me, and a severe inability to let go of my child. I was so attached to my baby that whenever I wasn’t holding him in my arms, I would just cry as if someone had cut off one of my limbs.
My husband was completely unable to take our child anywhere or enjoy him because I held on to the baby all the time. All the time, I was anxious and scared that something bad would happen to my child, basically if I wasn’t there to protect him, I would never forgive myself for not “being there for him”.
I went through therapy for two-three months and it helped slightly. I slowly started to go out of the house to do activities outside such as go to the park or go to baby activities, and I felt more overwhelmed.
My lowest, darkest time was when we were $30k in debt, I cried every night thinking we would never go out of that situation and that I would need to go get a job, put my child on daycare, and struggle for years to repay it. Things took a turn for the worst when February 2015 my husband landed on the ER and we thought he had had a stroke.
Thankfully, it turned out that my husband did not have a stroke, he was “just” under a lot of stress… Having a newborn, fights with me and having me depressed all the time, next to no income and surmounting debt took a toll on him.
Yet, this tiny snippet of our life was probably the best thing that happened to us. It made us stronger as a couple, as parents and as entrepreneurs. We learned from many of our mistakes.
Now, for how I transitioned to being a work outside home mom:
After our terrible start, we began to work harder than ever, making sales through every available channel we had to us. We worked on our sales. Most of the time my husband was working ten hour days while I took care of the baby and did half his hours…. and we closed 2015 with $500k in sales and a very nice salary. The best part is that we paid those $30k of initial debt in the same year.
Once 2016 came around, it was time to move the business out of our apartment, so we rented an office! Our office is 5 minutes away from our home, and it is close to a daycare. Once we moved our business to the office, our stress levels went from 1000 to about 10. We were able to rest at home after a workday and leave work in the office.
At this point, my baby is no longer a sweet little bundle, but a full blown two year old toddler. During the last year or so, we had babysitters for some hours to take care of my toddler while I worked from home. However, I soon realized that I needed to dedicate more time to our business if we were going to grow. Despite having one employee, the business needed me.
I finally made the decision to enroll my toddler on daycare. The first two months were hell-he got sick all the time, but we only did half-time. Once he got used to the schedule and didn’t get sick so much, we transitioned him to full-time. He now goes to daycare with his daddy every morning with a smile, blowing me kisses good-bye and loves it there with his friends and his teacher.
My depression started lifting once I found a purpose for my life. Yes, I am a mom, but that is not the only thing that defines me in life, like I thought in the beginning. I find pleasure in my work doing photography, human resources and many other great tasks of being a business owner.
I also took time for myself, much as I felt guilty for it in the beginning. I went to do my nails, I waxed after 4 years, I started to exercise and with some determination, I’ve lost about 20 pounds in 3 months. All this things made me a better mom and wife, because I am happier and more relaxed, I can deal better with parenting challenges. Because I get more help with daycare and from my incredibly supportive husband, I am a better mom.
And that is how, after 2 years, my postpartum depression finally lifted and I became a work outside home mom.