My life literally changed the day I published the post: “Why We Are Not Traveling With Joaquín Just Yet.” I thought it was going to change for the worst, since the majority of my followers are travelers and once they knew the truth about me battling postpartum depression and anxiety and that it was keeping me from traveling they would no longer be able to connect with me. However, I was 100% wrong. My life changed for the better, because people strongly related to me whether they were a parent or not. They craved authenticity and truth. I could not believe the outpouring of love and support I received. Something ignited in me that day and I kept writing deeply personal posts like this, this, and this.
Thankfully, with time I mentally started to feel so much better that we began traveling domestically with our car to places like Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Wilmington, Atlanta, Winston Salem, and Little Washington. I even had a moment of braveness and booked our first plane ride to Kissimmee, so that Joaquín could celebrate his third Birthday at Disney. The problem is that I made every post look as though these trips were easy for me, but the reality is that they were not. Yes, mentally I was feeling better, but certain things trigger my PPD and PPA and travel is one of them. I still after so many years of dealing with this cannot believe that I once visited Hong Kong twice in one month without a care in the world, yet the idea of driving somewhere three hours away makes me want to throw up.
You see one of the things that really helps keep my PPD and PPA away is a schedule. And with traveling there is no schedule. That loss of control is crippling for me. If you have never struggled with mental illness than you might not be able to relate, however if you do than you know exactly what I am talking about. On top of that, I follow so many family travel bloggers that make it look so easy and they have two, three, sometimes five children! If they can do it, why is it so hard for me?
I began seeing a grief counselor after my grandmother passed a couple of months ago and with her help and my husband’s, they both gently pushed me to 1) travel internationally and 2) be open to my followers about what I was feeling before, during, and after the trip. At first, I resisted and then with time realized how badly I needed to do this for myself and for my family. Traveling was my greatest passion in life, not only did I need to reconnect with it, but I also wanted to set a good example for my son: you are stronger than your fears.
So, we booked a trip to the Turks and Caicos. It was a direct flight (less than three hours) and we had been there twice before, thus I knew what to expect. Having said that, I could feel my PPD and PPA quickly returning. I was overwhelmed with the packing and organizing, I kept thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, etc. What had I gotten myself into?
Then I remembered I was a traveling expert. I could not predict what would happen during the trip, but I knew how to handle pretty much every situation due to my over a decade of travel experience. I started to calm down, make lists, and I even decided to try something new: Instastories. I announced my trip and all of the feelings I was going through. I held my breath and all of a sudden messages of love and support started pouring through. Just as they had when I had written that first post about my PPD and PPA years ago!
If you happened to follow along during our week in TCI, then you will know that I shared the highs and the lows. I was as transparent as I possibly could be. So many people applauded and encouraged me, that I am feeling such a huge desire to create something new for myself here at My Beautiful Adventures. I just do not know what that looks like yet. I am extremely proud of myself for going on this trip. I definitely fell back in love with traveling. I have no doubt now that I can continue to travel with my family, hopefully to further destinations. Baby steps, right? In the meantime, I promise that I am putting a lot of thought and effort into the direction I want to take this blog, because authenticity is what makes an adventure the most beautiful.