Listen in as Sarah speaks with Celeste Yvonne, a sober mom advocate, writer, and certified recovery coach well-known across social media as @theultimatemomchallenge, to discuss her new book It’s Not About the Wine: The Loaded Truth Behind Mommy Wine Culture.
After voicing her concerns about postpartum depression, she was dismissed by her OB, who gave her one of two options: enroll in a psych ward or let it work itself out. Left with zero support and a new baby, many assured her she’d need alcohol to get through motherhood. Listen in as Sarah and Celeste dive to the conversation of “It’s Not About the Wine”.
I Had PPD. My OB Told Me to Go to the Psych Ward or Ride It Out (today.com)
Celeste's Official site: www.celesteyvonne.com
Celeste's Facebook: @theultimatemomchallenge
Celeste's Instagram: @theultimatemomchallenge
Click here to purchase Celeste's Book!
Follow Previa Alliance!
Previa Alliance (@previa.alliance) • Instagram photos and videos
Previa Alliance Podcast (@previapodcast) • Instagram photos and videos
Keep the questions coming by sending them to email@example.com or DM us on Instagram!
Hi guys, welcome back to PreviewLiance podcast. This is Sarah here with you, and today I am super excited to have on to list Yvonne. She has nowhere on social from the ultimate mom challenge and you know her as being a sober mom advocate, but she has a new book out. It's not about the wine and you may be going okay, well, what does that mean? Well, we're going to tell you, but this story that I'm so happy to bring to you is about how we all need to take a look at ourselves and why it's not okay for moms to not be okay, and so let us welcome, so happy to have you.Speaker 2:
Thank you, sarah, I'm just delighted to be here.Speaker 1:
I will be very transparent. I heard about your book and I thought, huh, okay, there has to be something more to this and dive it into it. Before this interview and the statistics that recently just came out that the number one cause of maternal mortality in the first year of childbirth is suicide and overdose and I thought, okay, that makes sense. Right, we're numbing, how we're feeling and I thought this is the perfect opportunity to have this conversation with you.Speaker 2:
Yeah, it's a topic that we desperately need to tackle as a society, because it's so easy to feel gaslighted in new motherhood that you should only feel hashtag blessed, you should only feel incredible and cherish every single moment. But when your head's not there, none of that, none of that matters, there's nothing to cherish because you are in survival mode, and that needs to be talked about more. We need to allow mothers to be in a place where they can safely say how they're really feeling, without fear of judgment, without fear of having their kids taken from them, without fear of implications, and just support and just help. That's what mothers need more than anything, and we're not there yet, sadly.Speaker 1:
No, and you brought that up. So you and your story let's go back to. You're a new mom, and when did you realize something wasn't right?Speaker 2:
The very first day I would say that things did not feel right and we chalked it up to our baby head colleague. We chalked it up to being new parents. We didn't know how to swaddle properly. I mean, other parents, family members told us all the reasons why we weren't doing this right and that's why the babies crying so much. We weren't swaddling properly. The baby's cold. You're not using the pacifier. I mean like every single thing you could think of. Everyone was giving us these reasons why our baby was just screaming all the time. I felt like I was in this place of I can't do this. I'm the worst mother ever Like what mother who doesn't even know or understand her own child's needs. Probably from the first day I brought the baby home, my first child, and I was scared to death of telling people that of course, you know, the last thing I wanted was for people to think I was incapable, I was incompetent, so I had a lot of imposter syndrome and then you have all the family and friends going to cherish every moment. You'll love this, You'll miss this someday. And in my head, like I'm screaming because I'm like I'm not good at this at all. I don't know if I just made the biggest mistake of my life. I don't know if I'm meant to be a mom. This baby is relying on me to survive and I can't meet its needs. I think things just started to spiral from there. And then, when you add the lack of sleep, the struggles with breastfeeding, all these things that just kind of roll into this new identity you now have as mother, my postpartum depression hit me pretty hard, probably in the second to third week, to the point where my mom left to go back to her home. She had been helping me to that point and she left and I just had a panic attack. I was like I can't do this alone, don't trust me alone with this baby. Like she was probably the only person on the earth that I felt like I could safely say that to. I could not tell that to another soul, but she had to go. So she went and things just really spiraled for me from that point.Speaker 1:
I resonate so much with that, and you're right. First, let me ask you this Were you ever screened in pregnancy for postpartum depression? Were you ever? Provided it's called the Edinburgh, it's 10 questions, less than five minutes. No, so I wasn't either and I was never screened postpartum. And people will always ask this well, why do you guys always harp on screening? It's like because it asks you to check in with these fillings and it's a safe place to, and I think that's one of the first places that we're going wrong. There's so many ways we're going wrong for moms, right, but the first is like no one's ever asking mom how she's mentally OK and, to your point, they're not comfortable if she says she's not.Speaker 2:
I think the screening really misses something very important for new moms, and that's assuming you get screened at all. But it's the eye-to-eye contact, it's the empathy, it's the humanity. Like we're missing that piece of it when we're checking in on new moms. And, not to mention, things will change week to week. So a six-week screening like the entire world just changed in the last six weeks. So even if you felt good on week three, week four is a totally different ballgame and there's no place mothers can go that I'm aware of, where we can be regularly checking in on them, comforting them and allowing them this safe conversation to have to say, well, I marked whatever it is on the screening. But I want to tell you where I'm struggling and that's the conversation that I wish new mothers could be having with somebody who is a doctor or a nurse but who can express that they're safe to speak with.Speaker 1:
Absolutely, and we are trying to create that and we're rolling out this person called the navigator that's essentially going to do it, because we realize exactly what you said and I needed. That, too, was OK, this is what it may look like, but, sarah, what's really keeping you up at night? I struggled personally with not being able to sleep. I was convinced my son would die in his sleep if I slept. Intrusive thoughts which I know you've shared about as well. For readers, I'll link this. Celeste wrote a beautiful article today Parents. That really expresses early days postpartum depression better than I've ever read, truthfully. But I think that is the key here is that what we made percent was inside of us and someone going. I've been there. You're not a bad mom if you have this thought of what have I done? I remember walking around with my second in the neighborhood he was a newborn crying. I called one of my best friends and I said I think I've just ruined my life and she was just like no, you have it. But you know, you express all this in this book right. You rip out all vulnerability and you're sharing what I hope moms are going to read and say OK, that's me. Now. What did you do about it? Where did you get to this lesson now? Yeah.Speaker 2:
So let me go back with kind of the breaking point for me, which was that phone call to my obstetrician. When you know, my mom knew I was not in a good place, but she was no longer in the same state as me. So she says just call your OB, Just call her, Tell her what's going on. She felt helpless. I felt helpless. I call my OB and I say something's really wrong. I don't feel good about this. I'm worried about the baby, I'm worried about me. And my OB said if you're having thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, you need to go to the local psych ward, Otherwise you're doing fine and it'll pass. And that was our conversation and I, like my stomach just dropped. I hung up the phone because there was no way in hell I was going to go to the local psych ward and check myself in, Like I would rather. Honestly, I would rather any worst case scenario than being torn from this baby I had in my arms, who I loved dearly but was scared to death of. So I completely checked out when she said that and I said no, no, no, everything's fine, Thank you, Bye-bye. And I said to myself don't ever go there in a conversation again. No one is safe. You can't trust anybody. All they'll do is try to take you from the baby. And that was such a scary realization to have. And it's a realization that I've experienced other times in my life too, where it feels like when we get vulnerable, when we tell people we're struggling, it's almost like they try to create a wedge or divide or to scare the you know what out of you into either going one direction or the other, and that's not the answer. That would never be the right answer that I can think of, to scare a new mother into making a drastic decision one way or the other. So what happened after that? When I did realize if I don't make a change, something awful could happen is and this took weeks it took weeks for me to feel safe enough to call a different OB to say kind of the same thing, without making it sound quite as real as it was, that yeah, I'm a little scared, I'm not feeling good, I'm feeling a little bit of depression creep on. I definitely downplayed it the second time and she said to me let's get you on a antidepressant right now, and that antidepressants saved my life. I mean, that was the changer, that was the game changer, and I did not have to be separated from my baby. I did not have to go to a psych ward. I did not have those symptoms of depression to that extreme. This was something not very uncommon or hard to fix, and that's all I needed. I just needed somebody to offer me solutions with empathy and not scare me, and that I mean. That was it. That was such a transformational moment for me because it was the start of my motherhood journey In every single sense. I felt like a mother when I was on my antidepressant, because I could actually experience motherhood again.Speaker 1:
That is something so powerful and it's just not reaching because there's so many moms that are told, like you were, just go lock yourself up, or there's just such a lack of knowledge and education about what you experienced. Did anybody during your pregnancy say hey, post-partum depression is the most common complication? Did anybody say that to you? Or were you just like what the F is happening?Speaker 2:
They might have, I don't remember In my pregnancy for my first child. I have a history of anxiety. I have a history of depression. I know now that those are all key factors for my chances of getting post-partum depression and anxiety. Did I know that at the time? I'm not sure I, just my pregnancy was so anxious. Anyway, as you know, I've always had kind of an uncomfortable relationship with alcohol. So when I cut alcohol out for my pregnancy I was already going through a lot mentally, Like this was kind of a weird new lifestyle and a change and it felt good that I was scared and I knew with every fiber of my being that I wanted to go back to drinking once the baby was born. So I think I just had so much going on mentally during my pregnancy that even if I was warned, it might have just fallen on deaf ears, yeah, and I think that's a common theme.Speaker 1:
Sometimes we think, oh, it's not gonna happen to us, right, or like we've got this. So then what's interesting about post-partum depression is it can last up to four years post-partum untreated. So now we're getting into the mom stage, right, where you know, if we survive the newborns, right, we survive, and they're into toddlers and it starts being mommy needs wine, right? I remember someone gave me a onesie that says mommy needs wine because of this or, and it was like it points up and then there is nothing. I think alcohol is an individual decision, clearly, but what I think we're happening to moms and this whole book is bringing such light to is, instead of saying, what does mom need? She's not okay, we would rather just hand her a glass of wine.Speaker 2:
Yeah, joke about it.Speaker 1:
Yeah, so what? Through this experience and right in this book, what have you to the mom who she's going? How do I know if I'm turning to wine instead of what's going on inside, or how do I even start? What would you say?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I mean, I would say, and what I wish I could tell myself when I was so eager to start drinking again post pregnancy, was if you have a history of anxiety or depression or if you are struggling with postpartum depression, alcohol is the absolute worst thing you could be putting in your body every day. That is a means of self sabotage. It will make your symptoms worse and it will negate any possible benefits if you're taking an anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication. That's something else I was not aware of. I started going to my nightly wine thinking, as long as I'm doing it around the breastfeeding cycle, everyone's good, mommy's getting what she needs, baby's getting what he needs, and not realizing I was sabotaging myself and I was making these symptoms even worse Genuinely. It's so frustrating to me that when you look at doctors or even people on social media talking about the harm, or lack thereof, of breastfeeding while you're consuming alcohol and the implications for the baby, nobody's talking about the implications for the mother. I mean the use of alcohol when you have a baby young enough that you're breastfeeding it. It's harmful for the mom. I mean. We can argue all day or debate how harmful a little bit of alcohol is in breast milk. We know with certainty that it's harmful to the mother in biting it. So that would be the first thing I would tell any new mom that even if you're having just one or two drinks, there will be negative effects from that and you get to weigh whether it's worth that for you or not. But you have to make an educated decision and knowing what you know you can. But if you go into it without knowing this information, thinking I'm taking my antidepressant, I know I'm struggling with postpartum depression but nothing seems to be working and you still choose to drink alcohol, you know at least that you're taking it with a risk. But the people that I worry about are the ones who are doing everything very dutifully and thinking the alcohol is helping them or supporting them in some way. So that would be the main thing I would wanna say to any new moms.Speaker 1:
And you think about it right, we're ready running no sleep, grabbing hormonal imbalances. We're having a loss of identity. We're having relationship changes. I mean we're having a perfect storm that, if we don't even include alcohol in this, we're already trying to, like, pull ourselves out of it. And then what do you say to just the whole marketing effect that's been happening, right, that it's just, oh, it's okay. Moms are not okay. Like let's just keep giving them alcohol, instead of saying what can we do, what can we help with? Instead of saying, here's a glass of wine, mom, you know, instead of like, let me do the laundry for you.Speaker 2:
Right, the alcohol market is the industry's completely feeding off mothers at our most vulnerable. I would say. They know we are in a hard place, they know parenting's challenging, they know that new mothers are going through all the things you just expressed and it's a easy target market because you're kind of catching us when we're off guard and we're desperate for solutions. I think mommy wine culture is to so many and it is a symptom of a larger issue. It's because women lack support in so many aspects societally that when you have people joking that alcohol's going to fix what ails you, it's easy to follow that narrative down that rabbit hole. I mean, when I was in early motherhood with my firstborn, I wanted to be in on the joke. I wanted to know why. You know everyone was laughing about mommy's needing so much wine and I think a lot of people think it's just this harmless little saying that we say just because we all know motherhood's hard. It's a wink, wink kind of response to I see you, mama. But the problem, like you said, is it really encaps our cries for help. It really puts a stopper on offering help or being vulnerable with each other or talking through some of our problems or offering to actually help and support each other.Speaker 1:
Holy I think it goes back to COVID how it's like oh mom's, your superheroes right here, work from home here, manage your kids here, isolate from your village is that same mentality? It's easier for them to placate us than to actually be uncomfortable because of how much we're taking on.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's exactly what alcohol is doing it's placating us, it's numbing us out, it's keeping us during the pandemic and now just as much it's keeping us from getting angry, essentially, and not demanding more essential changes on our day to day to support so many mothers who are in this position where many of us are returning to work. Many of us are doing it in the six weeks after we have our baby of unpaid maternity leave If we got any at all. I mean, we are in such a dire state in our country where we are expected to return to work. We get unpaid leave, we're back in the office now we're dealing with childcare and our pains and our struggles get laughed off or we get called superheroes Like this is not helpful.Speaker 1:
No, it's gaslighting, it's toxic positivity too that we experience and I think I'm so excited about this conversation and getting out to our listeners just for them to think it's you have to be uncomfortable a little bit with them and it's fine. I was uncomfortable, admitting, in the beginning. I didn't feel like myself. I was struggling, right Like. I think this is a generation of moms that were raised never to talk about our mental health. We were just supposed to smile, right so to be uncomfortable in ourselves and say I need help or I shouldn't feel this way, right Like I think that's a huge first step. And then your book about talking about how to fight against what society's trying to hold us down with and find out who we are at the end of it is just beautiful and empowering. And let's talk a little bit. They wanna follow you on social and join in your challenge with you. What does that look like for them?Speaker 2:
Yeah, you can find me on social media at the ultimate mom challenge. I also write weekly about sobriety and I offer sober inspiration on Substack. I also am a host of Sober Mom Squad and we host meetings three times a day, every day. I host a Wednesday and a Friday meeting and that's for anybody who identifies as a mom and is sober or sober curious, and it's just a place where we can gather virtually and connect with other mothers who are also on the same journey and support each other and be vulnerable and have these safe places to say what's really going on, because you don't get a lot of that in the mommy play dates or the mommy play groups or at the PTA, most places where I'm with other moms that I don't know well. I am not at a place where I'm like let me tell you about my struggles, right. So to have that safe space where you can just be like I am struggling, I had a day from hell. I am so triggered to drink right now, but I've seen where that's led me. What did you guys do? I mean just to have that conversation and to be able to have these connections is such a game changer and it's something that was born out of the pandemic. It's one of the few good things I would have to say that came out of the pandemic, that we can have these virtual conversations and connections.Speaker 1:
You're so right. You know, at the PlayDates A PlayDates you don't ever get to speak because one's like chasing your child and you're like, oh gosh, don't put that in your mouth, my kid's fixing to jump off this. And you're right. It takes a long time to get to that vulnerability of someone to say, you know, it was many, honestly, a year or two years probably. For some friendships that I share with my mom friends, this is how bad I really was. And they're like I didn't know. And it's because there wasn't a place, like you're describing, for me to say guys, this is what I'm feeling. And someone to say I've been there. I felt the same way and I think it felt just so much shame. You know that this is who I was at that moment, which it's not a character, trait or flaw, right, a thought's a thought. We say that a lot too right. And a thought doesn't have to define you. So I wish I would have had that community. I think it's so impactful.Speaker 2:
Me too. I did not have this community when I first quit drinking. I only got involved when the pandemic started. But I'm so grateful that we have it now for mothers who are in that place where they don't have anyone they can safely talk to or they just don't feel the connection that you need to. And motherhood, you know, making friends, making connections, is so hard as it is. It's so lonely. New motherhood is just the loneliest feeling, even when you're never alone. And to be able to just hop onto a Zoom call with a dozen other people who you can feel a connection to can really impact positively our mental health and I hope it helps people in the way that I know it's helped me.Speaker 1:
You already help in so many people and thank you for being so vulnerable about your experiences in the post-pandemic depression. Have you seen I guess this is the interesting thing I've seen the older generations been like, oh, come on, now, get over it, or what are you talking about? This is how we coped. Have you had that same kind of negative feedback? I would say that we get, now that we're trying to talk about mental health with moms and we're trying to do better.Speaker 2:
I've heard every comment in the book I get. A lot of mothers have been doing this for generations and yet your generation seems to be the one that likes to complain about it the most you know, like something to that effect. You know, mothers have been complaining about it for generations. Mothers have been using drugs and alcohol to cope for generations. Just because we're the generations that are waving the flag saying unacceptable, I'm not going to just numb myself out through this. I want to see changes at every level. That's not a bad thing. In fact, I'm all here for it.Speaker 1:
I would say you know, I'm so sorry, that was your experience. It probably is triggering to know that we are fighting for our mental health, we're fighting to be present moms, we're fighting for breaking generation cycles. You know, let's talk about that. I'm sorry for your experience, but you know, like I'm sorry, you walked up a hill, you know, in the snow, carrying 15 pack facts, right, that whole thing, yeah, exactly.Speaker 2:
We're going to.Speaker 1:
Uber. That's great, you know. I think that's just comforting for all moms. Just to hear is like, yeah, you know you're going to get some negative feedback on this journey to find you and to support yourself, but look at Celeste, she's doing just fine with it. You know that you just take that feedback and out the door and I want to leave our listeners with this. We always ask our guests this and this can be anything. This doesn't have to be. You know we've had every response. But what is one thing that you would have told yourself before you became a mom that you wish you would have? No, and like we've literally had every kind of answer known to mankind, so it doesn't have to be on this topic. We've had get the zipper onesies, don't ever do buttons.Speaker 2:
We've had someone say that and I think it's very valid. Yeah, snaps, oh my God, snaps were the worst. We went through so many ups and downs in like I mean I wish if I could go back and talk to myself, because at one point I was such a shell of a person, like just I was feeling so fragile, I just I was afraid I would break and shatter into a thousand pieces. I wish I could go back and just tell her I saw the future and everything works out. Nobody dies, nobody gets hurt, like everything's gonna be okay. And I wish I could go back and just give myself that confidence that, even though it doesn't feel like it, everything will be okay. That would have been such a gift for me nine years ago and it would have just eased my mind because, as you know, with intrusive thoughts they are so consuming. It's really hard to separate the thought from who you are, and it was really hard for me not to think I'm a bad person for thinking like this. I'm a bad human. And now that I know that that's not what intrusive thoughts are and that's not who I am, I wish I could go back and share that with younger me.Speaker 1:
And you know, the fact is is we try to really be this education front because if research has 80, 90% of new moms I say 100% of new moms have intrusive thoughts to some extent. Some have more, like myself, but I think, even just knowing you're not the only mom who's had this thought, there's so much power to that that we can take shame. So I would have wished someone would have told me that too, Cause in that moment we don't think it's gonna be okay. You can't really see past, Honestly, that moment sometimes hours, you can't see past Right, and I wish I would have heard that too. So if you are a mom, or a mom to be, please just take Celeste's words right there and hold true to that and no, it's gonna all be okay. Where can we find your book? Amazon, we can download bookstores. Go grab it and we're gonna link how to follow you on social and we'll do some fun promo for this. But again, you're creating waves and you're gonna make a huge impact and we're honored that you shared your time and story with us.Speaker 2:
Thank you, Sarah. I think what you are doing on here is so important. I wish I had this on my early motherhood journey, but I'm so glad others have it now. Thank you.Speaker 1:
All right guys, get the book All right, celeste till next time. Thank you for being with us.Speaker 3:
Thank you Returnal. Mental health is as important as physical health. The Previous Alliance podcast was created for and by moms dealing with post-paramed depression and all its variables, like anxiety, anger and even apathy. Hosted by CEO founder Sarah Parkers and licensed clinical social worker Whitney Gay, each episode focused on specific issues relevant to pregnancy and postpartum. Join us and hear how other moms have overcome mental health challenges, as well as access tips and suggestions on dealing with your own challenges as moms. You can also browse our podcast library and listen to previous episodes at any time. Please know you're not alone on this journey. We're here to help.