For our #WeAreWeCan campaign, we sat down with Marissa Gradilla, age 29, to hear her story. After she became a mother, Marissa struggled with anxiety and self-love, and the pressure of perfection as a stay-at-home mom. Below, watch her video and read our conversation with Marissa to hear more of her story and how she found strength and support during her darkest days.
Could you share your story with us and tell us about some of your struggles as a woman?
As a woman, I have faced several challenges and struggles for the very first time, such as entering into the world of motherhood and adapting to the life of being a stay-at-home mom. I had this picture of what I should be. After awhile, I felt lost in a sense—not knowing who I was, forgetting my hobbies and interests, and, at times, feeling down for no reason. I felt bad for feeling sad because I love my kids and husband, but I didn’t understand the cloud over me. I put a lot of pressure on myself just trying to do it all. Tackling all the house chores, making sure dinner was made every night like I did before becoming a mom. It was a challenge I faced, as well as being in a society where I felt I had to be this perfect mom and perfect wife (the old-school way).
For awhile, I struggled and was helpless not knowing what to do. I knew I had to accept the fact that I had become depressed. I was holding back from going for a walk, having conversations, running an errand, and so on. The smallest things would make my heart beat faster. I was overthinking anything and everything. It was all anxiety. I struggled getting through it all while learning to love myself again.
How have you found strength and support through your experience?
I found strength within myself through the darkest days at the times where I didn’t know I had any strength left. I thought to myself, how can I take care of my loved ones when I can’t care for myself? I reached out to family and friends. I had the courage to make an appointment to see a therapist. With the help of that, I gained tips to move forward and understand that I wasn’t alone. I made time for myself whether it was getting my nails done, taking a trip to Target, hanging out with a friend, or just pushing to get out there even when I felt I couldn’t or didn’t want to. I also learned to accept that I wasn’t perfect and that I was going to have good days and bad days. It’s okay to feel vulnerable and to open up.
Did you find support or advice from other women?
I definitely found support and advice from a strong woman, my sister. She herself is a mom and a wife. We both didn’t know we had such similarities that once made us feel alone, from not being confident to feeling down or having guilt for the littlest thing. All we did was talk to one another and share our stories.
What advice would you offer other moms who may be in a similar situation?
My advice to other moms who may be in a similar situation is to please know you are doing your best. Love yourself through your mistakes because that is how we learn and become better as a person. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone close to you or to seek help from a professional. Make time for yourself even through the beauty of being a busy mom and wife. Believe in yourself no matter what.
Who is a woman that inspires you and why?
To me, every woman I meet and see inspires me. We all have strength, bravery, courage, kindness, and love. All women inspire me.
Why is sharing your story important?
Sharing my story with other women is important to me because I hope it can help others not feel alone. I want to help women understand that we are all different and the same in our own ways, that we can learn from one another, and we are a community. Together we can give each other support and strength through the challenges of motherhood.