Reflecting on a year of motherhood + entrepreneurship (Q+A with Meghan!)

May and June commemorate a few special moments behind the scenes at White Leaf, including Mother's Mental Health Awareness Month (May), The Charleston Postpartum Support 5K Run and Meghan officially being named to the board, and Cameron's first birthday (June 3rd)! We are taking the opportunity to look back at the past year and catch up with Meghan on the delicate balance of motherhood (growing from 1 kiddo to 2!), the non-stop pace of entrepreneurship and navigating her history with postpartum depression and anxiety with the birth of Cam. 

To catch up on Meghan's inspiring journey, make sure to read her first blog post, in which she opened up on her experience grappling with postpartum depression after the birth of Keegan in 2012-2013. She also shared how she has leaned on the power of self-care and community after Cameron was born to have a much more positive experience overall, which you can read here as an uplifting follow up, full of helpful resources for new moms!

Q: How has the first year with Cam been overall? What are a few adjectives you would use to describe it?
A: In a word... fast! It is probably a combination of having Cam later in life (I’m now 41!), raising him alongside a rapidly expanding business and simultaneously being the mother I have always been to our first son, Keegan. All of these elements have really expedited the first year for me, and it has been an accelerated ride with rapid transitions to the next milestone and stage. 

Keith has been here alongside me every day, night and evening wake, something that was missing when Keegan was in his first year of life as he was working 12 hour days/nights as a chef. This has made such a difference for my mental health and experience, and has helped time move quickly. Time flies when you are properly supported. 

Q: You walked us through all the different methods of support you harnessed when Cam was a newborn. How about over the past 6-9 months?
A: We have been fortunate to have been able to enroll him in the sweetest nursery school program which is only about 1 mile from our home.  I get to take him in the morning by either driving, biking or having an early morning walk there in his stroller. It provides me with some time to think and prepare for the day, listen to my favorite Spotify stations or podcasts and simply give me my morning. 

Cameron attends 5 days a week, full time, so I am able to focus on me, my business and carve out time for Keith and I to connect as well. That was the missing piece before, and I wonder if this is also true for a lot of moms -- that their time is monopolized by the needs of others in the family and their work situation. 

I was very deliberate this go around to build in "me time" and I can honestly say it has made a huge difference.  I really wouldn’t be able to achieve this autonomy if it weren’t for Keith’s flexibility and assistance. We consistently communicate about when each of us needs our own time to go to the gym or simply be alone.  Regularly checking in and taking this time helps ensure that we can take care of ourselves, and then also show up for our family, friends, the business, and beyond.

Q: How is Cam different than Keegan -- in disposition, as a baby in general?

A: Oh, where do I start!  I know you are not supposed to compare and contrast siblings, but wow, two completely separate personalities! They may look like carbon copies at their respective ages, but Cam is a force. He is determined, persistent, loud and full of fire.  Keegan had a very gentle demeanor — very soft, sweet and generally a carefree baby.

Q: What has been the high point of the past year and the unexpected challenges as well?
A: Being able to provide Keegan with a sibling and seeing how Keegan and Cam’s relationship has unfolded has been so special and even better than I could have ever expected.

An unexpected challenge has been slowing down and not wishing Cam's baby years away. As anyone can probably relate (parent or not!), being present can be difficult with so much going on. We have also been so accustomed to living life with an eight (soon to be 9 year old!) and having the freedom to leave the house, lock the door and go about our day. Now, we are back in the baby stage again, and all that entails, from diaper bags to nap times to contend with. For this reason, I make a consistent effort to be present with Cam and really appreciate and relish in the baby stage.

Q: Is having two children significantly different to you than one? And, now that you are the Co-Founder of a quickly growing business!
A: Yes! We always refer to White Leaf as our second born because even in today’s day and age with infertility as a part of the common rhetoric, you would be amazed how many people insensitively ask why there is such an age gap between our two children.  I deflect by making light of the giant startup in our lives. 

It’s also true that having two kids, with the sizeable age gap that there is, is almost like having an only child again. Thankfully, Keegan really is such an amazing help with Cameron, always wanting to play with him, cuddle him and get him from his naps after he wakes. He loves doting on and taking care of Cameron, which is incredible to watch every day.

Q: Speaking of...How has the growth of WLP affected parenthood this time around?
A: Having experienced 128% growth (thanks in part to you and the incredible team we have!), raising capital and having a baby all in the span of one year has felt like time has been in a vacuum. But with rapid growth, and a great group of investors behind us, we have been able to start to bring on a dream team that has taken a great deal of the load off of just Keith and myself. I really could not be where we are today at White Leaf if it were not for the amazing group of people that we have in place now.

Q: What does being named to the board of Postpartum Support Charleston mean to you? Why is it important / special?
A: I was so incredibly honored that Elaine DeaKyne, the Executive Director of PPS Charleston, invited me to the board.  It was an exceptional moment to be asked to contribute to such an incredible non-profit that has personally helped in my own healing. 

I had not been able to truly speak about my surviving postpartum depression until I was in therapy again preparing for Cameron’s arrival. Anytime I had even thought about my PPD history, I would end up in tears and shutdown. Therapy helped me realized that I was not alone then, and I certainly am not alone now, and provided me with the internal and external resources to reach out for help, support myself to the fullest, and share my story.

There are so many women suffering and struggling in silence who feel that what they are experiencing is happening to just them.  I am in a position now and have a small but significant platform where I can share my story, my survival and provide mentorship and insight into how to navigate such a debilitating mental health disorder.  PPD is the most under diagnosed mental health disorder yet, but also one of the most curable with the right help.  I owe it to myself from 9 years ago to speak up, and to all of the like-minded women out there to help however I can now.

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