Testimony by new mother Joana Salvador 15/07/2020:

Even when everything is going well… and me and my baby are happy and healthy, a visceral feeling of tiredness and frustration comes up.

I’m 40 years old and in April 2020 I started my second journey as a mother. The feelings of joy, fulfilment, pride, superpower of “I’m here for you and I can everything” are overwhelming! Yet, there are days when, in one second, “overwhelm” easily switches to the opposite, and I feel highly sensitive and emotional. It’s scary the feeling of “am I enough?”. I feel my body trembling, tension, weakness, irritation, a longing for relaxation, maybe similar to withdrawal symptoms, when you leave an addiction.

Meditating on this second round of post-partum experience, I feel more confident, more resilient, less vulnerable but I know that the potential to explode is there, somewhere inside of me. I consciously try to transform it and use it as positive energy to help me when I feel that I am giving up, when I feel that I am falling down to sleep, sleep, sleep, when I want to scream “Don’t suckle anymore because I don’t have more milk”, or “what are you feeling because you don’t stop crying and I’m doing my best”.

Sometimes I feel something similar to the fire of  pre-menstrual tension… Even without losing blood, the cycles continue and when that coincides with a bad day I need to activate a protective mode and act as auto-pilot.

It has been a great help to have a post-partum doula with me, specially with this new Covid social conjuncture – the environment at home is more heavy, being outside is full of restrictions. Having someone to talk to, someone that really hears me and is there only for me, someone to cook, to give me postnatal yoga lessons, do the rebozo, massages, someone that is present for whatever I need, so I don’t feel alone and tired. It’s amazing to feel that someone is taking care of me!

I feel honored and blessed for receiving, for the second time, this big responsibility and challenge – being a mom.

The following 2 thoughts always give me strength and inspiration when I feel down:

1. “If I’m here is because my mum did a great job. I want to do it too. God only knows the kind of challenges each one of us is able to handle.”

2. “Believe in woman’s natural power. Mothers exercised it for thousands of years. I can too.”

Artwork by Gérémia Doula