Solo Trip- A Milestone in Motherhood

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A few months ago, I was sitting on the couch with one of my best friends catching up. We were venting about what was stressing us out. We joked that we should celebrate turning 30 by running away to someplace warm (like we all do during the long Wisconsin winters). 

We day-dreamed about where we could go during a weekend getaway. What did we truly want to do- Hiking or climbing? Touristy activities? I joked that a true vacation needed a beach, good company, and good coffee and food.  

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I didn’t think about this abstract trip after our visit. I’ve imagined so many travel plans that it just got filed away in the “someday” pile. I’ve been a mom for 7 years and have never strayed too far from the kids. I’ve either been pregnant, pumping or nursing each babe until they were 2, or honestly too anxious to leave them.

I mentioned anxiety; I’m not talking about your general separation anxiety. I’m talking about full blown anxiety attacks, intrusive thoughts, not leaving the house- anxiety. For the last 2.5 years I've been working really hard on getting into a better place with my mental health, I was in therapy for almost two years, and I’m still taking medication for everyday management. All in all, I’m in a REALLY good place.  

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A few weeks went by and then I got a text from my friend asking- when should we take this trip? Without hesitation I checked my husband’s work schedule and double checked my own, I want to plan around my clients’ due dates as best as possible.  Just like that we planned a trip to Los Angeles and not once did I second guess leaving my family or get worked into an anxious mess.  

We were gone for 5 days. We spent our time exploring the neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops, we walked all around the local stores, and relaxed at the beach every day. I was able to truly relax and rid my body and mind of so much stress. I was even able to reflect on some of my goals and how I want to live life over the next few years since so much is changing! I came home ready to immerse myself back into the realities of motherhood and birth work. I feel so grateful to be healthy enough to live the life I’ve been striving for.  

I’m writing all of this to say: It’s crucial to take care of yourself. We cannot effectively raise our children, maintain healthy relationships with our friends and family, or even truly be ourselves if we are not honoring our own needs. The periods of struggle do eventually get better and the hard work of therapy and mental health management can pay off. OUR NEEDS ARE VALID AND SHOULDN’T BE LAST ON OUR LIST.