In honor of Mother’s Day and spreading awareness about how we can best support new moms, we sat down with Elise Augustin-Gill to learn more about her postpartum experience. Elise is a beauty and fashion content creator, skincare expert, and new mom to Nova. In addition to sharing the beginnings of her experience as a mother, Elise also shares how losing her father during her pregnancy affected her grieving process and what it was like to lose someone and gain someone so important in such a short span of time.
Mother’s Day and Mental Health
According to the CDC, 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. These symptoms can include anger, anxiety, guilt, feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, and panic attacks. While many women won’t experience all of these symptoms, a fair amount will experience some form of post-birth baby blues.
“I don’t think I suffered from postpartum depression,” Elise shares. “However, I lost my dad when I was 28 weeks pregnant, and that has massively impacted my mental health since having Nova.
The Highs and Lows of Postpartum Life
Elise describes her first few months of motherhood as “a mix of incredibly beautiful, emotional, draining and rewarding.” As far as postpartum life goes, she says that she doesn’t think she was prepared enough.
“So much focus is put on how to look after yourself whilst pregnant and how to birth the baby,” she shares. “When I was pregnant, I tried to remain as calm and positive as possible as I was so afraid of anything harming her or for her to feel how sad I was. Now I sometimes think about all the things we are all missing out on not having my dad here to enjoy little Nova. I’d say that has been the most challenging part. It’s also rare to find other women that lost a parent so late into their pregnancy, and I actively search for relatable stories.”
We conducted a survey among our mom readers and asked them if their self-care routine shifted since becoming mothers and not springily; 68% responded yes. Self-care pretty much goes out of the window when women become new moms.
We also asked them if they felt they had put in more time and effort to maintain a sense of personal identity since becoming a mother, and an overwhelming 78% said yes.
The Magic of Motherhood
Elise says that one of the most rewarding aspects of motherhood is her connection with Nova as she breastfeeds. “Staring down at her content, sweet face whilst she feeds is a beautiful thing,” Elise shares. “I also love our play and sensory time. Watching her develop and interact is so rewarding.”
I’ve also found that the hardest part isn’t about the baby at all. It’s about figuring out this new version of me.
Getting to Know a New Version of Herself
Elise says that struggling with body image has played a role in her postpartum experience. As a fashion and beauty creator, her sense of style is a huge part of her identity, and she says it’s been challenging to learn how to dress for her current body shape.
“I’ve also found that the hardest part isn’t about the baby at all. It’s about figuring out this new version of me,” Elise shares. “Learning to balance work with relationships and things around the house, navigating grief, my postpartum body, anxiety over parental decisions, my passion projects, doing everything on hardly any sleep, and managing the new me.”
Loving Nova is easy, Elise says, but trying to get to know herself after this huge identity shift has been more of a challenge.
Supporting New Moms
Elise encourages those who are seeking to support new moms to remember that every mom is different, and motherhood isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience.
As far as how partners can best support the birthing parent, Elise says that the best advice she can give is based on what her husband does for her.
“I have the best partner,” she says. “I cannot fault him, and I think the best advice I can give based on what my husband does for me is just to be open and willing to listen to anything the partner that birth the child wants to voice and to take it in turns to rest.”