The Courage to Become | Naya Weber
My family and I have been living in the Austin area for about three years, after moving from our home of eight years just outside of Fort Worth. My husband found his dream job, which required us to leave our friends and move down I-35. The timing of the move couldn’t have come at a worse time: I was only 3 months postpartum after having our second son. At a time when I needed my village the most, I ended up a few hundred miles away.
While I did know people in Austin (a grand total of 4 people in the whole area), navigating a new city with a toddler and an infant was daunting. Because I had no idea where anything was and traffic scared the living daylights out of me, and we ended up staying home a lot. I kept the kids entertained with crafts, books, and watching more TV than I care to mention. However, I felt like a prisoner inside our apartment. What I didn’t realize was that I was developing a case of postpartum anxiety and depression.
We moved to a rental home in south Austin a few months later. I was grateful to have my own space for a while, a backyard to play in, and parks nearby. Despite the relief, my temper was out of control. My husband has always been a good gauge for my behavior and he gently let me know that I needed some help. He felt like he was walking on eggshells around me. I finally sought out a therapist and started meeting her weekly to get through this. After the first visit, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me and I wished I had found her ages ago.
Part of her care plan for me was to get out of the house and meet people, specifically other moms. She also helped me frame the recent life changes in a different way – I was getting a fresh start in a new city.
I took the opportunity to pursue something I was passionate about while living in Fort Worth: I went back to school to finish education in order to become a lactation consultant. Supporting breastfeeding families was something I was very passionate about and did on the side prior to our move. Getting back to that part of me helped me so much.
I also met a number of wonderful women through a stroller-based fitness program. Being around other mothers felt great. They couldn’t have been kinder or more welcoming. Before long, I was one of the gang and had a good group of friends I saw several times a week. We’ve attended each other’s kids’ birthday parties and dropped off food after a new baby or illness, and more.
Fast forward to present day: I’ve completed all of the prerequisites to sit for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam, and rocked the test this past October!!!
The moms I met are still very much a part of my life, and we see each other at least once a month to catch up. I did run into several obstacles while going back to school, namely childcare. Not having old friends or family around made it challenging, but my mama village came through in the form of meals, childcare, and sharing their babysitters. Any mother will tell you that a good and reliable babysitter is worth her weight in gold!
More than anything, I’m grateful to feel more like myself than I have in years. I feel settled and like I have a purpose. I’m not who I was prior to the move, I’m a new and improved version of myself that is somehow still the same person I have always been.
Another layer has been added on to a solid foundation. Something that helped me through the difficult time was that it was okay to let my guard down and ask for help. Whether it was for my mental health or someone to watch my kids for an hour so I can get groceries, it is okay to reach out to others for assistance. It is okay to be vulnerable.
This is a place where there's plenty of hope and grace to go around. Here I am with my family. Aren't they precious?! Let's get serious - we got really fancy for this photo - but usually we are in shorts and t-shirts (hello, Austin weather!)