Mom's honest perspective on motherhood and self-love: 'Parenting is super hard'

Anneliese Lawton spoke to Yahoo Canada about motherhood, postpartum depression and self-love. (Photo via Instagram/annielawton_)
Anneliese Lawton spoke to Yahoo Canada about motherhood, postpartum depression and self-love. (Photo via Instagram/annielawton_)

Anneliese Lawton knows motherhood isn't easy.

Over the years, the mother-of-three has been through ups and downs on the way to welcoming her children into the world.

Three years ago, Lawton almost took her life after giving birth to her second baby.

"It was a low point in my life for sure. At that point, Kate Spade had lost her life to mental illness, and it shook me awake. It basically saved my life," she recalled in an interview with Yahoo Canada.

Lawton's troubles began when she was told her first pregnancy was high risk.

She thought she was going to lose her baby for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, and as a new mom, that's not what she expected her first experience to be like.

"When you have a higher risk pregnancy combined with underlying mental health issues, which I did and didn't know about at the time, it puts you in a higher category for postpartum depression," she said. "After my son was born I started struggling ... for me, it included feeling resentful of myself, and feeling that my child was deserving of a better mother."

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Eight months postpartum, the Greater Toronto Area-based author received the news that she was pregnant with her second child, and that it was another high risk pregnancy.

At the time, she was also diagnosed with a rare tumour around her facial nerves.

"As I was staring in the mirror facing the loss of the only thing that looked familiar to me since becoming a mom, my face, I had to dig deep within to figure out who I was without my physical appearance," Lawton explained. "But I started to spiral and experience postpartum rage ... My husband basically said we cannot live like this anymore. 'You're not OK, we need to figure this out.'"

At the time, Lawton "felt lost" in motherhood and believed her rage stemmed from the years of bullying she endured as a child.

"When you become a parent, adult problems don’t stop. Trying to find the space for you to be human and cope with the stresses going on in your life is the hardest part."Anneliese Lawton

"I was teased for my looks and all I tried to do was change my body, hair and the way I dressed to fit in with the crowd. I think the tumour brought back those feelings," she revealed.

Moreover, Lawton worried what would happen if she "lost control," because she "didn't want [her] kids growing up without a mother."

The 33-year-old ended up visiting a doctor who diagnosed her with postpartum depression. She started antidepressants, which "brought [her] back to life."

"I was thinking with a clearer head, being rational, just being able to enjoy life," she added.

Despite her success on medication, Lawton revealed that "parenting is super hard," but being able to parent without thinking she was a failure made it easier to cope.

"There's so much you struggle with as a new mom — breastfeeding, emotions, wanting your kids to have a wonderful life and worrying that you won't be able to do it," she explained. "So it's important to definitely get the help you deserve, because it can be difficult."

When asked what the hardest part of motherhood is to her, Lawton noted it can be a challenge to find space and time for yourself.

"When you become a parent, adult problems don't stop. Trying to find the space for you to be human and cope with the stresses going on in your life is the hardest part I think," she revealed.

Despite how challenging motherhood can be, Lawton has some advice for current, new or soon-to-be mothers — focus on healing and loving yourself.

"Honestly, work on healing yourself and your past traumas, and give yourself some kindness and respect," she said. "Self-awareness is also really important, and it takes time to get there."

Whether it's medication, therapy, meditation or yoga, Lawton adds there's all sorts of things that can help mothers feel at peace.

"Do all the self-care you need, in any form you require, and find other people to join your support system," she concluded.

To shop Lawton's book, Welcome to the Jungle: A Frantic Journey Through Motherhood and Self Discovery, click here.

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