Postpartum depression isn’t something a lot of women talk openly about. There seems to be an air of shame around it, almost as if speaking about your struggles means admitting failure as a mother.
It can be especially difficult for a new mother trying desperately just to make it through the day, every day.
For me, postpartum depression was a part of my daily life. I woke up day after day not ever really sleeping, wiping the tired tears from my cheeks and silently moving forward on autopilot. Smiling on the outside, I hoped no one could see that I was one breath away from a breakdown, daily.
I vividly remember my very first postpartum appointment at the doctor. Why couldn’t I stop crying? Why did everything hurt, all the time? Why did the sound of my baby’s cry make me want to jump out of my skin? Was I broken? Was I a terrible mother?
Not long after I had my daughter, I relocated back to Indy and in no time, I was back at work. With the new schedule of leaving her every day, I struggled to focus on work and to find something, anything that felt…normal.
In the process, I took several different types of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. While they did help reduce the amount of anxiety I was experiencing, I felt mostly numb and often just disconnected. I knew something needed to change.
I had a yoga practice before becoming a mother. But like most things from my previous life, yoga disappeared after the baby came and my entire life was immersed in motherhood. As a woman and a mother, it’s almost expected that we give the entirety of who we are to everyone else, especially to our children. Whether it’s pressure from society or pressure we put on ourselves, it’s so common. Yet it doesn’t get much real attention.
Sitting at my desk one afternoon, shifting uncomfortably in my chair (so much time had passed since childbirth, but my body still hurt so much), I googled local yoga studios. A few offered warm or heated yoga, but I was looking for something specific: Bikram yoga.
Bikram yoga is what, many moons ago, had changed my life. Yet it was the first thing to disappear after the baby came. I couldn’t justify leaving my newborn baby at home. I couldn’t justify taking that time for myself. I couldn’t justify the cost.
It took almost two years, but I finally realized that this was necessary for me—a matter of survival. I had been squeezing the last few remaining drops of myself I had left from a cup that was practically shattered. This was something I desperately needed so that I could pour from a full cup again.
And so I signed up for The Hot Room, which offered Original Hot Yoga, a modality based on the Bikram yoga practice. It consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity.
The afternoon of my first class there, I knew I had found my new yoga home.
It’s been over three years since I started my journey to recovery from post-partum depression. In that time, I’ve managed, with the support of my doctor, to take myself off every prescription drug. I not only started to find myself again after motherhood, I found a new and renewed strength in being a mother.
And I received my RYT 200HR teaching degree so that I can give back and pay it forward. I now teach the same yoga that saved my life and then saved my life again—the yoga that saves my life every time I step on my mat or step up to the mic.
Will I ever be fully recovered from my struggles with anxiety and post-partum depression?
But through the meditation, the therapeutic benefits and the healing that this yoga brings to my life, I now have the tools I need to be strong. I have the tools I need to be a better person. I have the tools I need to be a better mother.
I tell my students that life isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be.
And this yoga isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be.
If it was, we wouldn’t be here.
That said, it doesn’t have to be hard. It can just… be. And it never matters how fast you move, as long as you keep moving forward. One breath at a time. One posture at a time. One step at a time.
So, if you’re a mom struggling with post-partum depression or just a mom who desperately needs to feel like you have something that is your own, there’s a home for you on your mat.
Maybe you are struggling with a new body that looks, feels and acts different now. Know that it’s okay. Know that you are beautiful. You created life. For whatever reason or motivation that brought you to your mat, know that it is your journey. You are always right where you are supposed to be.
I can’t wait to see you on your mat. I’ll be there holding space just for you, whether that’s alongside you on my own mat or in one of my classes.
I see you. There’s a place, just for you. Namaste.
About Caroline Escobar
Caroline really loves fitness as a whole and being active every day. She’s an ex-CrossFit athlete who still loves to toss heavy weights around with some good ol’ fashioned cardio. Otherwise, you can usually find her home with her daughter Grace and partner, Chelsea. Caroline religiously practiced Bikram yoga when she lived in the D.C. area. She moved back to Indianapolis and kept her practice going by joining The Hot Room. Caroline realized teaching this modality was her calling. This yoga helped Caroline through some difficult times and helped her find her strength. She believes in paying it forward, in being a good and humble human being, with compassion and gratitude. To learn more about Caroline, visit her page.