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Worthy in the Mess: My Postpartum Journey

I'm Alexandra!

I'm Alexandra Jensen. I'm a wife, mom, founder, friend. I'm a lover of Jesus, business, and a good solo dance party. I'm your new best friend, here to remind you that you are absolutely worthy of living the life of your dreams...

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Basically, we take a deep dive into my journal and how I navigate life. 

Here I am. A new mom to a three-day old baby boy. I’m standing in the shower washing this new body that I don’t recognize, that now feels like marshmallow cream. You know, the marshmallow cream in a jar? Just. Like. That.

Everything is puffy.
My face.
My gut.
My vagina.

What just happened? I delivered my baby on a toilet with the help of a squatty potty – that’s what happened. Really, not the vision that I had in mind for that moment, but here we are.

I’m forever changed.
All at the same time.

Through the steamy glass of my shower, I found myself staring at my new infant. He’s swaddled perfectly in his Dok-A-Tot on the bathroom counter. I know what you’re probably thinking, but don’t worry; it’s a good-sized counter. Even with a couple feet from the edge, my new-mama mind couldn’t help but wander into worst case scenarios. “Do you think he’ll be okay on the counter?” “What if he moves suddenly and falls off the counter?” “We don’t have insurance for him yet.” “CPS will definitely be called on us.” I’ve always been someone that has dressed rehearsed tragedy, but this was my new baby I was thinking about.

Still, the thoughts went on and on.

I remember staring at him in that moment, completely frozen. I was mourning a version of myself before him. She was long gone. Wasn’t this everything I wanted? Wasn’t this everything I prayed for? After seven years of absolutely no sign of pregnancy, God brought this miracle into our lives and he’s here and he’s healthy and I’m here and I’m healthy. How lucky was I?

My parents always used to call me, “the feather in the wind.” When things got hard, I ran. When I was uncomfortable, I hopped on a plane, or got in my car and moved to whatever city I wanted. As I aged, I learned that living a life like this wasn’t sustainable. I caused a lot of heartache to people that didn’t deserve it. Thank God for my husband, Wayne. Meeting him diminished that yearning inside of me to escape. He never let me run, even when I wanted to. He required that we face it all, together.

As the days went on, I would tell myself “Alex, women all over the world are yearning for a life that looks exactly like yours.” The house at the end of the cul-de-sac, the Goldendoodles, the husband, the baby, the Volvo – I was living was my teenage vision board, but better. I GOT THE VOLVO.

And now… all I wanted to do was run away.

So, I ran.

Not literally, but like everything else, I brushed my feelings of wanting to escape aside, and got back to work. I carried a lot of shame for all my emotion, and I wasn’t willing to vocalize my thoughts. I didn’t need help. It was all going to be fine.

By the end of week two, we were at our first visit to the Birth Center where we delivered Jackson. My mid-wife pulled me aside and handed me a clip board with a questionnaire attached. “We need to have you fill this out to ensure you aren’t experiencing any post-partum depression. You’ll respond to each statement with how you have been feeling within the last week, and then we will calculate where you’re at.”

Alrighty… how tough could this be?

Statement 1:

I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things.

As much as I always could.
Not quite so much now.
Not so much now.
Not at all.

“Well, yeah, things have still been funny. Wayne’s always funny. Okay, I’ll answer always.”

I circle always.

Statement 3:

I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong.

Yes, most of the time.
Yes, some of the time.
Not very often.
No never.

“Well, I wasn’t sure how to bathe Jackson the most comfortably the other night. It was my first time, and I got his face wet in the kitchen sink. He got upset after that and then I got really upset. Okay, I’ll answer some of the time.”

I circle some of the time.

Statement 5:

I have felt scared, or panicky for no reason.

Yes, quite a bit.
Yes, sometimes.
No, not much.
No, not at all.

“Uh, yeah. It’s scary having a new baby. I panic all night long. Is he breathing? What if he stops breathing? Wayne, is he breathing?”

I circle yes, sometimes.

Statement 7:

I have been so unhappy; I’m having difficulty sleeping.

Yes, most of the time.
Yes, sometimes.
Not very often.
No, not at all.

“I’m not unhappy; I have a beautiful new baby. I’m not sleeping though, and I did Google “signs of SIDS” at 2AM last night, but doesn’t everyone do that?”

I circle yes, sometimes.

Okay, last one.

Statement 10:

The thought of harming myself has occurred to me.

“Well… I did picture the volume of people that would show up to my funeral last week…”

I circled never.

“Shit, she’s going to think I’m depressed. I can’t have that happen. I must go back to work. I must move forward with my life. What kind of questions are these? Don’t all moms cry for no reason? I don’t think I’m depressed. Does every mom immediately love the new human living in their house? My eyes well up with tears as I sign the paper and hand over the clipboard.

I completed the postpartum questionnaire every week for five more weeks. I am proud to say, I came out unscathed.

Or so I thought.

About seven months after having Jackson, I knew something wasn’t right. I couldn’t stop crying and things like going to Target alone became terrifying. And we all know that if a solo trip to Target doesn’t sound like a dream, we’ve got a problem. I continued to dress rehearse tragic scenarios in my mind and the images I would see in my head were evil and vivid. I started having nightmares about my son and would wake up throughout the night sobbing as if what I dreamt was a reality. I was so embarrassed.

I lacked motivation to care for myself in the ways I had in the past. Things like a fitness regimen, and healthy diet were removed from my priority list. The morning routine I had developed for myself had gone out the window. I always knew that bringing life into the world would shift my routine, but this wasn’t a shift. This was an earthquake. The best way that I can describe it is that I did not care about anything. I knew the steps that I needed to take in order to get myself healthy, but I just couldn’t take the next right step. I was stunted. I was stagnant and I was afraid – a version of myself that I hadn’t met before.

The dark thoughts continued, which led to me questioning a lot of the moves I was making. Was I a good mom? Was I showing up for my son in the way he needed? Does he even know I’m his mom? Does he like me? My confidence continued to diminish from my own negative thought process, which really is off brand. I mean, I’m the Worthy girl. I’m the woman on social media preaching about worthiness. But right now, I wasn’t even able to believe myself.

I had a few back-to-back calls with my mom. During our call, she expressed that she was starting to get scared for me. She was really pushing me to take some time off. She asked me if I thought I was a harm to myself. I paused… I couldn’t lie to her. So, I just said, “I don’t think so.” I told her that I had experienced some dark thoughts, but that the likelihood of me doing something to hurt myself was slim. It was hard for me to hear myself have this conversation. She said that if things didn’t start to get better soon, then maybe I should investigate seeing a doctor and taking something to “eliminate the fog.”

The path to peak mental health is different for everyone. Choosing to not use medication has been an important part of mine. Women have created a world where we require ourselves, through the good and the bad, through the life-altering moments, to keep it all together. I’m here to tell you that these unrealistic expectations that we’ve put on ourselves are not only impossible, but they are also so unhealthy.

It’s okay to fall.
It’s okay to ask for help.
It’s okay to need someone.
It’s okay to take a break.
It’s okay.
You’re okay.
We’re okay.

As my mom and I hung up the phone, her parting words were, “Take care of my daughter. Take care of Jack’s mom.”

I knew that a spiritual battle was waging against me and my family, and prayer was the only thing that lifted me up in the hard moments. I prayed for peace in my soul. I prayed for courage and strength as I tried to figure out how to navigate my thoughts. I prayed for protection for my family. I prayed that whatever evil was trying to enter my mind would be eliminated. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to move throughout my home and that light would outweigh the darkness in Jesus’ name. Even now, writing out that prayer brings tears to my eyes – because I was desperate.

Over the last couple of weeks, desire has ignited in my soul again. I’ve started with baby steps to overall wellness; just one step at a time. Day by day, little by little, brick by brick.

These are the things that are working for me so far:

• I sleep trained my baby (I used the tools she provided had my son sleeping through the night by day three.
• I started getting up at least an hour before everyone in my house to have time with myself.
• I started journaling again. I journal my prayers and gratitude every day. Incorporating a gratitude practice and seeing it on paper has been monumental.
• I incorporated movement. Just 30-45 minutes on the treadmill walking at least 3 times a week.
• I de-cluttered my home. You’d be amazed at the level of stress we place on ourselves just by accumulating too much stuff. If I hadn’t touched it in a year, I got rid of it.
• I started taking supplements (I use Cymbiotika – they have a great quiz on their website that will guide you on what to take.)
• I opened up to trusted people in my life and told them about the way I was feeling.

I’m forever changed.
All at the same time.

My heart expanded during this season of my life; it is swelling with empathy, and compassion, and love for the mothers who do it alone. For the mothers of multiples. For the mothers who are experiencing what I experienced. For all of you. I see you. I respect you. We must be better. We must lift each other. Because we all know that this really is the hardest, most rewarding, and beautiful job on the entire planet.

For those of you that are soon-to-be mothers, yearning to be mothers, or are not quite there yet, this post is for you too. It isn’t to scare you; it’s to share a bit of my experience. For some reason there’s a stigma surrounding this topic, but it’s a conversation that we should be having more of.

We were not meant to keep it together all the time.
We are human.
We are women.
We are worthy of the mess.
We are worthy in our mess.
We are worthy. Period.

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  1. Lynsey says:

    Worthy indeed 🤍🤍

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