How Stevie Wonder Helped Me Through Postpartum

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor talking with my husband and brother, who was visiting from out of town, when “Uptight (everything’s alright) came on with that amazing horn section. It was like something switched on in my body & I couldn’t help but get up and dance.

I had pretty normal postpartums with my other children. So, I was surprised when postpartum was harder after my third baby – especially since she was a dream child. I felt overwhelmed and in my head way too much. I experienced my first ever bout of depression and my anxiety skyrocketed. For about a month I cried a lot, had panic attacks at night and wondered when I would feel like myself again. Feeling connected to my kids was never an issue – if anything, I felt like a Mama Bear, hypervigilant & wanting fiercely to protect my young. But I worried about what was happening to me. I worried about the kind of world I had brought them into. And, I wanted an off switch for my brain. The harder I tried to think my way out of this funk and sleep deprivation, the worse it got.

Dancing with Stevie became a family affair & helped get me out of my head & into my body. Many mornings, I’d set the alarm clock to wake us up to this music. At 7 o’clock the horns would begin, and even if I woke up feeling off, my legs would start twitching to move and I would get myself up to dance. Slowly the other sleepy heads who had made their way into our bed in the wee hours would begin dancing, too, and it was a party. My 6 yr. old always wanted to hear Signed Sealed Delivered & we would shout out the lyrics as we swung around the room.

As I look back on that time, now, I still remember how scary that unfamiliar emotional terrain felt. But, there were also many gifts in the challenge. Times that take you to your knees can be catalysts for opening, positive change, and surrender. Each child, it seems, helps loosen our grip on control and frees us to live more fully in the moment. And, I’ll always have fond memories of all of us dancing like crazy – the morning sun reaching in, touching us all with its golden light, inviting us to reach for higher ground.

11 thoughts on “How Stevie Wonder Helped Me Through Postpartum”

  1. Thanks! It's amazing how getting into your body, singing & connection makes such a difference mentally. Postpartum is a much longer story than I posted about here, but I wanted to share this special aspect that helped.

    It turns out that dancing as a family works when our kids are throwing tantrums or down right surly, too. These days, Steve will turn on "Helicopter" by XTC (drums & wires, I think) & they go nuts bouncing around – even Skye!

  2. I ask that you consider adding this site for free help for anyone who needs it and fabulous information from someone who has been cured from panic attacks and who will call and email anyone who needs it personally. He’s helped so many people. thank you.

  3. Thank you for this. I had a baby in November and I’ve been feeling down lately. When I saw the YouTube video on your post, I immediately pressed play and danced with my little boy. I feel much more myself already.

  4. Hi Valerie,

    I've been checking out your RVA blog with Patience & Jorge, too – it looks great. I'm so glad Stevie helped you feel better on this snowy/rainy Wednesday. Something about just getting up & moving your body really does stir up those endorphins & alter mood. Keep up the dancing! Also – a great postpartum resource is Therese's Postpartum circle – I think it's the first Monday of each month – ask Patience for specifics. Take care!

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