Demi & Elijah
Demi, 23 years and her son, Elijah, 2 years.
What does “Motherhood” mean to you ?
I think I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s the craziest ride I’ve ever been on. It keeps me on my toes, it keeps me in check, it has made me more aware of myself. Maybe even too aware of myself, our thoughts and actions really do have an affect on our life and the lives of those around us.
My son taught me that, so I guess that’s Motherhood. Learning.
Tell me about your prenatal journey?
I was 21 and I was living life. I was shook. I was faced with a choice and I made my choice. It was a long struggle accepting my new identity, my role as caregiver, provider, teacher, and such. It was such a mental battle. I just as scared as I was excited. I didn’t know what to do or expect. It was overwhelming. I didn’t feel prepared and the pressure to get prepared actually put me on a 9 month paralysis that I didn’t learn a damn thing to get me ready.
What was the postpartum healing process like for you ?
It was a post partum dying process. I really felt so withdrawn from myself, like my body took over, it didn’t need me to do anything. It knew what it needed to do. It just knew what to do, how to nurse, how to change, how to bounce, how to sway. I felt like a robot and I hated it and I struggle with it. I wish that, I had the courage at that time, to speak out about how I really felt about not wanting to be a mom, about my fear of failing him and failing myself. It was dark, holding in all my pain, drained the light out of me. I wish I spoke out for support earlier.
What did you do when things felt too overwhelming?
When you’re a sleep deprived, young single mama, with no focus for the future, everything is overwhelming. Everything was overwhelming. Depression ran over me in waves. I felt doomed for eternity, forever exhausted, never to sleep again. Without being able to find/seek supports I took my oldest friend, pen and paper. I wrote out how I felt. It felt fucking good to write how i felt. “The baby puked on me again today, it was warm, I kind of liked the smell of it, milk puke. He was crying so I didn’t even bother to clean it up. I covered it with a towel and I rocked him to sleep. This is my life now.” I would pray in my journal, I would cry in my journal, I just put it all out onto the paper and asked for guidance.
Photos by Jennifer Toole