Welcome to So mini-pathsYahoo Life’s Upbringing Series about the joys and challenges of raising children.
After the birth of her first daughter, Cleo Wade struggled with postpartum depression. The New York Times bestselling author and poet remembers sitting in the bathtub and wondering what she could do to feel better. “When I’m having a hard day, I like to light a candle, sit in the bathtub and put on a candle Tara Brach “Podcast,” shares Wade, who remembers hearing Brach say the words “remember the love.”
“I can’t remember anything else she said – [but those words] snapped me out of my haze,” Wade tells Yahoo Life. “Of course it didn’t cure my postpartum depression, but it gave me the foundation of how to be kinder and gentler to myself so I can cope.”
Wade says that until that point, she didn’t realize how much she was beating herself up for being in brain fog or thinking, “I can’t do this” or “I’m so tired” or “What is it?” “What’s wrong with me?” “I really didn’t allow myself to be kind and gentle,” she says.
This moment ultimately inspired Wade to write Remember loveher new book and her first original work for adults since 2018 Heart talk. “A big part of this book is about finding yourself when you feel lost in the dark,” she explains. “While I wouldn’t say the entire book is about a postpartum journey at all, I would say that every time I felt lost, I thought about every time I felt lost, and every time I felt like that I had to pick myself up again or find my own light in the dark, [and I asked myself,] ‘How much did that cost?’ And I wanted to share what I think helped me.”
A mantra that guided Wade through this particularly challenging time: “Your motherhood is only as strong as your personality.” “There is no exact formula for curing postpartum depression; “It’s different for everyone,” she notes. “But [setting the] Intention to take care of your personality [helps]whether that is [getting] the extra support you need so you can sleep more or have more time for yourself.”
Wade, mother of daughters Memphis, 3 1/2, and Bayou, 2, also focused less on trying to achieve balance and more on finding harmony. “Balance isn’t really achievable for me in adulthood or parenting,” she says. “The only thing that is achievable is harmony – allowing flexibility and allowing things to look the same or different. You thought the day would look like this, and then your babysitter was late or couldn’t come and it looked like this. That doesn’t mean you failed and weren’t enough that day because you had to change and change. It just had to look different. The attention you hoped to give to this matter may have changed in this way. This is just a better, simpler way to look at parenting. If you try to work toward balance, you’ll probably end up feeling like you’re not enough every day.”
Wade also made a point of emphasizing self-love Remember love as what saves us on our worst days. “We often think of self-love as a battle that we either win or lose,” she explains. “Whether you’re dealing with postpartum, a major life change, or grief, you’re not the same person you used to be, and that’s why every time we change, we need to get to know ourselves anew so we know how we love ourselves can be a different person. And I know that a lot of the way we feel like we’re failing at self-love is because we’re not actually saying, “Okay, you’re different and you need different things.” And love is about that. Providing you with the care you need, wherever you are, and it might look different than it did three weeks ago [ago].”
These days, Wade enjoys the fact that every day with her daughters is a different experience. “What has really struck me about living with really young children is that love is our birthright,” she says. “Our love is ours no matter what happens. You know this is true because you see this in children when they are little. My children never judge anything about themselves. They don’t think there is anything wrong with their personality. They enjoy everything they do. Only when you go out into the world and the world says, “You should look like that” or “That’s pretty” or “That’s not pretty,” do we develop judgments and feelings of shame that lead us away from our own self-love.”
The poet says that looking at her children through this lens gives her the optimism she applies when she struggles on certain days and is “not great” about herself. She also looks forward to being able to remind her girls as they get older how much they naturally love themselves. “I will always be able to tell them, ‘No matter how you’re feeling and what your teenage hormones are saying, or how much despair there is in the world you’re in, when you feel disconnected from the world.’ Your love, it is there. And it was always there because I saw it,” she says.
Even though toddlers have a reputation for being a bit difficult, Wade is over the moon for this stage. “I really love this age,” she says. “I mean, they’re definitely scary – three-year-olds are so scary. I’m definitely afraid of my two children. They are just so powerful. But I think a big part of parenting is just being a witness. I love watching them grow, their interests and language develop, and their bond grows stronger as they get older.”
Ultimately, she appreciates the fact that raising her daughters brings out the “most fragile parts” of their personalities. “Motherhood requires you to confront and maintain fragility and resilience simultaneously, ensuring that both exist without one overpowering the other,” she says. “For me, I like feeling soft and vulnerable and scared and overwhelmed and saying, ‘This is really hard.’ “Being able to hold that in one hand while in the other hand I’m like, ‘I can do this.’ This is where I get support.'”
Giving yourself the space to accommodate crowds is a must as a mother. “We really try to put ourselves in a category as a mom, like, ‘I’m a Type A mom,'” Wade says. “In fact, when you can be anything, when you can hold everything you feel and allow them all to be true and allow yourself to live in contradictions, you truly become a human being and a mother.”