For our #WeAreWeCan campaign, we sat down with Leandra Ale-Marheine, age 33, to hear her story. As a first-time mom, Leandra struggled with the transition into motherhood and struggled with breastfeeding. She often felt isolated and lonely, and she didn't feel prepared for the overwhelming expectations that came with motherhood. Watch her video below and read our conversation with Leandra to learn more about her story and how she found help and hope.
COULD YOU SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US AND TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR STRUGGLES AS A WOMAN?
I struggled with the transition of becoming a new mom. It was very lonely. I also struggled with postpartum depression, but I didn’t even know I had it. I didn’t know how to be a mom. I didn't know how to take care of this little human that just came home with me. I didn’t know his "hungry" cry, his "tired" cry, or his "just wanting to be held" cry. I thought I had failed as a mom, and it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him.
HOW DID YOU FIND STRENGTH AND SUPPORT THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I found strength in my own mom and my mom tribe that I found through Instagram. They helped me at the lowest point in my life. They helped me understand that I couldn’t fail at being my son Carter’s mom because all he wants is me. Seeing my son smile when I’m having a hard time helps me get through the day. Also, I started to see hard days as a challenge—changing the language helped me see the day differently.
DID YOU FIND SUPPORT OR ADVICE FROM OTHER WOMEN?
These women in my mom group are the most amazing people—each one of them have helped me in their own way. They lift me up when I fee like I’m drowning. My mom taught me how to love myself as a mother. She taught me it’s OK to fail—you just get right up and shake it off.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER OTHER MOMS WHO MAY BE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION?
Find your tribe and let them know how you’re feeling. It’s OK to seek therapy. Your baby needs a healthy mom—a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy mom. Your baby will always love you even when you have a meltdown or yell at them.
WHO IS A WOMAN THAT INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
So many moms in my group and my own mother inspire me. They all helped me get through the first year of parenthood. They have showed me that we are all in this together. My mom inspired me to keep going every day even after a challenging day.
WHY IS SHARING YOUR STORY IMPORTANT?
So many women don’t have the support they need. Seek help if it’s with a therapist, group of moms, your husband, or family members. Know that you’re not alone and all first time moms go through this. Motherhood is a lonely journey if you don’t find your tribe. We all need a support group, we all need to love ourselves, we all need to be healthy for ourselves and for our kids, husbands, and families. Sharing my story gives me a voice to let women know they are not alone.