My name is Regina, and I became a mama to my sweet baby girl Jeweliet in January of 2020. After having Jeweliet, I faced an emotional rollercoaster that I was unprepared for. I experienced intrusive thoughts. I washed my hands, as well as her bottles and toys obsessively. (The pandemic didn’t help.) I had severe anxiety almost all the time. It was a constant feeling that I was doing something wrong and that something bad was going to happen. I also wasn’t sleeping great, even though Jeweliet was sleeping well.
I was extremely emotional. Some days I felt on top of the world, and some days I couldn’t stop crying and beating myself up. I was self-medicating and trying to escape with drugs and alcohol as I had done so many times before. I was ashamed and embarrassed to talk about my struggle.
At about four months postpartum, I found myself at my breaking point. I experienced a manic episode that turned into psychosis and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I was terrified. I wanted a better understanding of what happened to me, and how I could avoid it from happening again. The experience led me to Thrive’s It Takes a Village perinatal IOP program.
I was beyond grateful that there was support available to me. Thrive’s perinatal specialists helped me process the struggles that accompany becoming a mom. I realized that the way I had been living wasn’t sustainable, and I needed help. I had to, as they say, “put my oxygen mask on first.” At Thrive, I developed a fuller understanding of my diagnosis and learned healthy coping skills to manage my mental health.
The Thrive perinatal IOP immerses you in self-care and empowers you to support your overall wellbeing. I’ve learned that simple practices, like meditating, eating nutritiously, journaling, and exercising, can do wonders for your general wellness.
Taking what I learned from Thrive’s perinatal IOP, I try to incorporate some sort of movement into my day. Diving into a nutrient-rich lifestyle has also proved beneficial. Additionally, I try to read something that’s personally enriching every day.
Supporting your mental health requires daily intention. Until coming to Thrive, I hadn’t realized that I had been abandoning my mental health. But your mental health is just like your physical health. You have to put effort into maintaining it. Now that I have the tools, supporting my mental health is something that I enjoy.
For any new parents who are struggling, I’d like them to know that it’s okay to use the resources that are available. You have to take care of yourself in order to be a strong parent for your child. It really does take a village. Remember, it’s all going to be okay and you don’t have to get through this alone.