On January 28, 2018 I gave birth to my first child Ya’ara Kalifa (Yuh-R-Uh Cuh-Leaf-Uh). Although this moment was a joyous occasion, it also coincided with immense vulnerability through dependency on my family. I became aware of this immediately after my emergency C-section when the general anesthesia from my operation wore off. I was in excruciating pain and needed the daily assistance of my mom and sister to function. Prior to this day, I had only been ill a few times, I spent my pregnancy feeling strong, energetic and capable I assumed my postpartum term would follow suit. The swift transition from being independent to dependent highlighted the ways in which I needed to grow.
Being optimistic during tough moments has always been my superpower. Since I was young, I trained my mind to focus on things I could do rather than the things I could not do. However, it was difficult to maintain this mindset while battling postnatal hormones. Instead of asking for help, I cultivated expectations that others would voluntarily help. I would quickly find myself in a state of depression because I resented doing tasks and taking care of myself and baby alone while my body was in so much pain. But, I did not have the strength to voice that I needed help; I was uncomfortable in my vulnerability.
If I was going to rise out of depression and live a better life, I had to teach myself a new way of doing things. I started to communicate with my mom and sister about my needs. I took the risk of leaving behind the concocted memory of myself as solely independent. During the first weeks of my postpartum period, I taught myself that vulnerability rewards you with lower incidence of anxiety and depression. When I had help I felt so warm inside, I felt seen, and life felt easy. Today, I am grateful to say that this shift in mindset resulted in my further growth as a mother and person. Honoring vulnerability is proudly one of my new superpowers. My crippling birth experience revealed that choosing vulnerability over ego is the key to accessing new levels of joy and peace.
My postpartum experience reminded me that we are all living tools of The Most High. We must remember our higher purpose here on Earth and remain in a state of gratitude for all help given or received, without regard for compensation. I encourage all new moms who are blessed with the opportunity, to seek help from others; ask for help for any of baby’s needs and all of yours. Even if you technically can change that diaper, or don’t mind rocking baby to sleep, try to ask someone else to do the task for you instead, and often! You and your baby deserve the care. Your body deserves the rest, and your spirit deserves the affirmation of being protected and cared for during this very vulnerable time.
By Ashia Ezekiel