Sometimes a house full of kids feels like the loneliest place in existence. Aubrey, a Utah mom of three, made her way out of isolation and grueling postpartum depression after the birth of her first son and went on to found The Mamahood Blog, an online community of 30,000 moms and counting. Every day, Aubrey champions the life-affirming power of mamas connecting with mamas.
My friends call me “the connector.” I’m always bringing people together, and I love spreading awareness to moms that connection is key. Yet I have felt deep loneliness, whether I’m thousands of miles away from friends and family or right across the street.
Because – welcome to my world – I’ve been pregnant for the past five years! Or at least it feels that way. I’m either changing a bum, nursing a baby, or chasing a five-year-old. These beautiful babies are so worth it, but there’s no doubt that I’ve been through some rocky points in motherhood. Building connections with other mamas has been my lifesaver.
My first son was born in the middle of a dark, cold Utah December. Breastfeeding wasn’t working. I was too stressed to eat. I kept desperately texting my sisters with questions. In the first two weeks of having him, I lost 25 pounds. I wasn’t healthy at all, mentally or physically.
I just felt so off. I’d wanted to be a mom forever, and then I became one, and I was like, ‘Who am I? I can’t just hand him off to the mom! I am the mom!’ It was a dark time.
I became suicidal. I hid the knives because I was scared that I would do something to myself or my family. And I was sick about it. I was too scared to tell my husband, so I suffered silently by myself.
Then I went to a family party, where a close cousin took one look at me and cut to the chase. “How are your hormones? How are you doing, really?” And I said, ‘This isn’t normal. I can’t be normal.”
After she opened up about her own postpartum experiences, I was able to finally share mine. She said, “You know what? Go home and talk to your husband.” So on the way home I got up the courage to tell him what I was going through. I think I even said a prayer. I truly thought he would think I was a monster. But I’m so grateful I did because the conversation opened a world of trust, support, and love, and I was able to get some help.
Since then, it’s been all about staying connected to friends and family, particularly other moms. I’ve gotten creative because some days my hands are so full that it’s impossible to leave the house. I used to use an audio walkie talkie app when my kids were asleep, whispering in the closet so I didn’t wake them up. Then someone suggested I download Marco Polo, and I told my friends, ‘Hey, we need to use this. It’s way more fun because we can see each other.”
Now, I’m not kidding, I’m on Marco Polo 99 percent of the day. I can hop on Marco Polo to check in with a mom friend and ask, “How are you feeling?” without us having to get ready, put on makeup, or drive anywhere. We have genuine support and love right here.
Moms so desperately need connection. We all need connection, whether we’re social or introverted, and whether we admit it or not. When you have connection, you have a place. You feel valuable. You have somewhere to land.
In the beginning I used Marco Polo for myself, as my own saving grace. And then Marco Polo and The Mamahood connected. We held a joint event in September 2018 that brought together 75 moms who needed a village, and we laid the groundwork for a network of Marco Polo / Mamahood groups. Marco Polo aligns so well with my vision for curing loneliness in moms, and there’s so much we can do together. This is just the beginning.
Together, Marco Polo and The Mamahood are facing the loneliness epidemic head on. If YOU want to connect to other moms who might be having similar experiences, fill out this form, and we’ll help you join a Marco Polo group!
2 thoughts on “How this mama transformed postpartum pain into a network of connection”
This is awesome!
Julian, we agree – Aubrey inspires us and reminds us of the power of everyday connections. Thank you for reading her story!