Let me tell you a little something about the last 8 weeks. They have been HARD. Way harder than after my first daughter was born. Between C section recovery, a death in the family, a fire, a baby with medical issues who never wanted to be put down, and sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night total for weeks on end, I wanted to go back in time and not so gracefully laugh in the face of the mom I was before, who thought she could handle anything. Not to mention the GUILT that comes when you have to put down a screaming baby and walk away to keep your sanity, or when you don’t trust your sleep-deprived self to make rational decisions, or when you feel like it could be so much worse, and you should just suck it up and deal. At my 6 week postpartum checkup I couldn’t help but unload on my doctor, sobbing in her office. Then she said those terrifying words: postpartum depression. There it was. The phrase no mom wants to hear or say. The unspoken reality that so many of us have experienced, to some degree.

Hearing those words helped, though. It was a reality check, the words pulling me outside myself just enough to gain some perspective. I knew how to take care of myself but somehow that knowledge was getting lost in the shuffle of bad luck and exhaustion. I decided to start taking one step, each day, to commit time to myself.

So here I am, doing much better, thankyouverymuch. Still having mood swings occasionally and still tired, but what mom isn’t? The three things in this picture have been game changers for me: fresh air, exercise and the #ergocarrier. And hiking to the top of a mountain also gives you something you didn’t intend to seek: perspective.

To all of you out there who have been there, or who are in the thick of it, don’t be ashamed or afraid to say it out loud. It’s all a part of the journey. And if we raise our voices together, there’s no telling who we might helphike

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Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.