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“i think it took me a little longer than most to find my groove…”
They say becoming a mother is the best thing that will ever happen to you. They say that the first second you see your baby’s face you will instantly fall in love and live happily ever after in motherhood bliss. But what happens when after 9 months of nurturing this baby in your womb, prepping a nursery, changing your life and anticipating their birth, you look at your baby and think, “My baby is trying to kill me.” When Alexis Barad-Cutler realized she couldn’t relate to any of the warm and fuzzy feelings mom blogs talk about, she felt ashamed and alone.
Having Postpartum Depression (PPD) was one of the darkest periods in my life -- and since I was experiencing it while all my peers seemed to be enjoying the magical newness of motherhood -- I felt like a monster.
As the founder of Not Safe For Mom Group (NSFMG), Alexis is truly rewriting the motherhood narrative by creating intimate spaces where women feel open to being vulnerable, and supported even in their rawest moments.
Yes [motherhood] is beautiful. Yes it’s glowey. But also, there’s THIS. Together, we can create a new narrative of motherhood. [One that is] more inclusive of lots of things and lots of different experiences.
Alexis is a storyteller, speaker, digital content creator and author.
Read below and see how Alexis is #UndeniablyUnfiltered
ALEXIS BARAD-CUTLER @notsafeformomgroup / @alexisbaradcutler
C+C: What is the best decision you ever made?
Alexis: To quit the medical school path I thought I had to pursue, and follow my passions into the writing world. It was only supposed to be a “mental health break”, but I ended up falling in love with editing, and the world of publishing. If I hadn’t trusted my instinct on that, it would have taken me a long time to land where I am today – or I might not have found my way to doing what I love at all.
C+C: What is the worst decision you ever made?
Alexis: To not enlist or accept any help when I had my first son. I was living far from friends and my immediate family, and ended up having an emergency c-section, and my husband had to go back to work a week after I got home from the hospital. It was a really horrible time, and the lack of support contributed greatly to my developing postpartum depression.
C+C: When or where have you been the happiest?
Alexis: I am the absolute happiest when I’m reading to my boys at night, cuddled in my oldest son’s bed, with my youngest resting his little head on my shoulder. There is no better place to be than near my children, at the end of a full day, and seeing them be riveted by a book. I love knowing that they are developing a love of stories and storytelling. It is also nice that even though my oldest enjoys reading to himself, he still wants me to be near him before he falls asleep and hear me read to him.
C+C: What advice would you give your younger self?
Alexis: I’d tell myself to try to enjoy moments more, and not do so much “preparing”. I’ve lost so many good moments to the “getting ready” for them part, making sure that they are perfect, or that I’m adequately prepared for every possible thing that could happen. If I could go back and just say to take it easy, go with the flow, and just be in a moment, instead of trying to advance-manage it, that’s what I would do.
C+C: Fill in the blank "I am ___________ enough!"
Alexis: I’m leaving the blank, blank. I am enough. I’ve wasted too much time in my life trying to be “everything”, and trying to be “more than” enough. I am extremely self-critical, and easily go to places of self-blame and shame. If I fall short of perfect, then I feel like a failure. Of course, this is an unattainable way to be. So, I’ve been doing a lot of work these past few years on being OK with where I am, whatever that place happens to be.
*Quote originally posted in an article on Jen Schwartz's site Motherhood Understood