depression

Ep 098: Parent-Child Disconnect After PPD: My Story

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Postpartum Depression is real. It happens to so many women and isn’t talked about enough. PPD is part of my story and it deeply impacted my relationship with Bella, my first born. But we have come a long way and because of that, I think it is time I share our journey and how we got to the healthy place we are today. And I want to give you freedom, if you are struggling with this too. You don’t have to be the victim forever. PPD is only your story if you let the pen keep writing that way. If you don’t want that anymore, write a different story. Make the choice. I did and it saved my relationship with my daughter!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • Her story with Postpartum Depression and what it looked like in her day to day life.

  • How PPD can impact the memories you make with your kid(s).

  • Things she did to redeem her relationship with her daughter, and how you can apply them to your own situation.

Mentioned in this Episode:


Well, motherhood is hard.  I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friend! Welcome to The Purpose Show! I am sharing today something that is really heavy and a part of my story. I've definitely talked a little about PPD and my experience with postpartum depression and depression in the past, but I've never really gone into this deep of a dive publicly about my struggle, the story of me and my daughter Bella, what PPD did to us, what the enemy tried to do to us, and everything that we've gone through.

This always happens when I'm thinking about sharing something hard or I know eventually I will, but when the time comes that topic kind of finds its way in front of me over and over and over again. To me it's God's way of, almost in a humorous way, showing me it's time. It's an unavoidable amount of signs that He gives me.

This has been happening lately with talk about depression and misunderstandings about depression, especially postpartum depression, which is what PPD is. If you've never heard that acronym, that's what PPD stands for.

I want to open up and share this side of my story, especially because lately I've been so overwhelmingly grateful for where Bella and I are today. She's 10 now. She just turned 10 and I've been noticing so many things that have been healed almost without me realizing it. It's really, really a testament to how God works and what happens when you decide that your story is not going to be the way it's been going and you're going to change it. What I'm going to share is really raw and I know that it's really easy to judge if you've never experienced postpartum depression, especially at the level that I had it.

And it's not that one level is more of a badge of honor than another level of PPD. PPD sucks. It's just that the way that mine went really robbed me of a lot of time, a lot of memory and a lot of relational connection with my daughter. At the level that it was at, it took a lot from me. And so, to see what I've gained back is amazing.

If you never understood PPD it's so easy to judge, even if you're not meaning to. Or if you follow me and you like me, it's easy to still judge a little bit, even if it's subconscious. So just keep in mind that I'm a person and I have feelings. This is my experience and it was a panic and I've only done the best that I can do every step of the way.

And this is my story. This is my experience.

I'm sharing because I know for a fact that there's somebody out there who's listening to my voice right now who's had parent/child disconnect after depression, especially PPD. And they feel awful about it. They've probably Googled it a few different ways, trying to find some sense to make out of this situation. They are lost and confused. They're worried and they feel terrible. They feel guilty. They feel like they're a broken mom.

I'm doing this episode to tell you that you're not broken. You went through something really difficult and you can change the way your story is being written and that doesn’t have to be it. The aftereffects of postpartum depression don't have to be a period at the end of the sentence for your relationship with your child. And that's the main message that I want you to get. That’s why I'm starting this out by saying that.

First of all, let's just get a disclaimer out of the way. Postpartum depression is real. PPD, so is PPA, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum psychosis. These are real things. Just because you've never experienced it doesn't mean it's made-up, fake, or any less awful than those of us who have walked that road say it is.

This is one of those things that gets debated all the time. I really don't understand why there's even any debate because the side of the debate that saying that this is “made-up” has never gone through it. It's angers me. Like those of us who have struggled are asking for that or want a pity party or wished it upon ourselves to struggle so hard in an otherwise really sweet season of life.

Having said that, I just want to start by sharing how PPD started for me. Bella was my first born. We weren't really sure if we could have kids. I have PCOS, it's an ovary syndrome that typically comes with infertility issues. When Brian and I were newly married we thought like, “Oh well I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.” But we really weren't concerned with starting a family. I got pregnant very surprisingly about eight months into our marriage and I just was shocked.

So, I'm going through the pregnancy and we're young. We're poor, broke, just trying to figure life out and get to know each other as a married couple. Our first year of marriage was beyond rocky. And then towards the end of my pregnancy I started to just feel weird and different. For me, postpartum depression actually began at the tail end of my pregnancy.

It doesn't really matter what caused it. You can have PPD without logical reasoning and reasons behind it, but our circumstances in life at that time definitely didn't help. We couldn't afford to stay in our little apartment. I had just gotten Bella's nursery all decorated. My mom and dad helped me out and took me to the baby store to get some stuff. We thrifted a lot and I got her nursery all ready to go. Then we found out that Brian was getting laid off from his job at the time and we had to leave. And so, we moved in with my parents and that whole situation just kind of sealed the deal. It really sent me into a difficult time, which was really poorly timed for how I was struggling emotionally and mentally already.

Without knowing it, PPD was creeping in and then this happened and it just made it worse.

My birth with Bella was very, very, very traumatic. It ended in an emergency C-section. It was so awful. I had a panic attack while they had me strapped down on the operation table. I was strapped in and I couldn't move. I was telling them that I could feel the pokes where they were going to do the C-section. They were asking me if I could feel it and I said, “Yes, I feel it.” They kept giving me more anesthesia and more and more. And I kept saying, “I still feel it.” And they said, “Well, you're going to feel that we're doing something but you shouldn't feel pain.” And so I said, “Okay, I don't think I feel pain.” And they needed to get her out. So, they did the surgery and I completely felt the first slice.

It's a feeling that I have all the time in nightmares and it wakes me up in the middle of the night often, because it was so searing of a pain. It was so awful. I just felt out of control and that's when I started to have a panic attack. They couldn't calm me down. They had to put me out because I was freaking out. When I woke up, I didn't know where my baby was. I didn’t know where my husband was. I was next to some lady making notes on a chart next to me, and she told me that my baby was born, that she was healthy and fine and that my husband was giving her a bath. I just remember immediately feeling robbed of something, actually, a lot of things.

I finally got to Bella and I held her and I just remember I felt something, but I didn't feel what I imagined I would feel. I remember noticing my emotions don't fit this circumstance. What's wrong with my emotions? I remember having that thought.

We had a lot of trouble breastfeeding, lots of lactation consultants coming in and out of my room. It was just an excruciating healing time after my first C-section. It was so painful. I felt like I couldn't hold my baby and my cut hurt so bad. I had a lot of issues with the staples. Chronic, constant problems all the way through the healing process.

And postpartum depression - it felt like it took advantage of me in that difficult time of healing. Like it saw an opportunity and it just took over. That's how it felt.

We were living at my parent’s house. We had our own little room, but I felt like I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be a family in my own house and I couldn't understand why this was happening, why Brian had gotten laid off. It didn't make any sense. How was all of this happening?

The postpartum depression got so bad so quickly. Eventually when it really took over and it got to be the worst, it felt like I was out of control of my own self. It felt really scary, really dark, super lonely.

I had detachment from Bella and her cries. I definitely had a few normal days of talking to her, videotaping her when she was cooing and feeling like a little bit of a normal mom. But those days were way outnumbered by the hard days.

For me postpartum looked day-to-day, like watching TV, not being able to get out of my bed, physically not being able to get out of the bed, so much so that I would just hold in urine because I felt like I couldn't even get up and go to the bathroom. It just was debilitating.

It looked like just going through the motions, not being myself, ho-humming my way through events and things that I needed to be at, family birthday parties and things like that. It looked like just throwing myself into other things to avoid my motherhood issues.

I actually ended up studying for the California real estate exam and passing on the first try. I threw myself into that because I couldn't bear what I was dealing with in my relationship with my new daughter.

I was so ashamed of my struggle. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I couldn't fix it. I would lie in bed and pray for help. I felt like nobody was listening. It took a really, really long time for anyone to say, “I think there may be something wrong.” That really hurt me that my family and my husband didn’t realize and help.

There was one incident, Bella was around six months old because I was feeding her baby food. Bella was is in her little feeding seat on top of the dining table and I was standing there feeding her baby food peaches. I was standing there and she was cooing and spitting. You know how they spit the food back out at you and all, that phase. Instead of being happy, silly, talking to her, wiping her mouth, trying to feed her and enjoying the moment, I was really angry with her that she was fidgeting and spitting out her food. That’s the thing right there, what I just said, that isn't even my personality. That's not like me at all. I was just not myself. I was like a Zombie or a robot or something.

I had lost my personality. It was like my soul got sucked out and I was just my body, my anger, my sadness and that's it.

I was feeding her peaches and getting really frustrated. My mom was folding laundry on the couch right across the room from me. And Brian was there too, looking for jobs on the computer. I remember I got so fed up, I said something to Bella like, “Oh my gosh, come on! Just eat!”

I was getting more and more frustrated and my mom came over, took the peaches and spoon from me, trying to be helpful, and said, “Here you go. Just take a break. I'll feed her.” And I grabbed the peaches back from her, slammed it down on the table. They exploded, flew up and peaches got on the ceiling, on the table, on the walls and everywhere. And I yelled, “Don't you think I know how to take care of my own baby? Do you think I'm a terrible mother? Obviously, you do.” I started freaking out, again, just not like myself at all.

And that was the moment where I for sure realized something was wrong. And that night Brian and my mom came into the room where I was lying in bed, and gently suggested that I might need to go to the doctor and get some help. I was already so angry at them for not seeing my issues and helping me, especially Brian. I was so hurt that he didn't notice and think “I need to help her.”

And you know, obviously he did notice, but he was as freaked out as I was. We were new parents. We were 21. He had no idea what to do. It's not his fault, but at that time I was so angry. I was angry, but at the same time I didn't really know what was wrong with me myself, or how to articulate to anybody how I was feeling.

My brain wasn't functioning healthfully. I wasn't my direct self that I normally am. I just sort of sat there and withstood my own personal living nightmare.

It caused resentment and a wall to go up between Brian and I early on in our marriage and it was an issue that stuck that we had to spend a lot of time working on later after I was healthy.

My PPD was so bad for so long (it lasted a little more than a year) that I actually lost memory from Bella’s first year of life. So, what will happen is I'll look back and I will see myself in photos with her, but I don't recall being there at all. I can't really picture her as a baby like I can the boys.

I have one memory of Christmas morning that year (Bella would have been about 10 months old). I had refused to go on medication because there's substance abuse that runs in my family and I was really afraid. I was uneducated about how antidepressants can help. I was scared and again, my brain wasn’t functioning correctly. I didn't have the brain capacity to make that decision wisely for myself. I still wasn't on medicine and I was still just really sick and really struggling.

That Christmas during the depression, Brian gave me one of the seasons of “Friends” on DVD because I had really enjoyed watching that show. I had never seen it before. I was watching them on TBS during the day and it was making me laugh. It was one of the only things that made me laugh and he got me the next season of “Friends” on DVD. I remember opening it and expelling so much energy to try to have a normal reaction to this present, but it was so forced and I could tell and everyone in the room could tell. I could tell that they could tell that it was so forced.

All I wanted in that moment was to just be normal again and it was such a bad feeling. I'll never forget that. That is my most prominent memory of my daughter's entire first year of life.


Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend?  Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard.  I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want you to have it. I want to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened.


I saw my family giving each other concerned glances after I opened the present and kind of communicating to each other about me with just their eyes, you know? I just felt so helpless. I was trying so hard to be normal and I couldn't. I was so tired of fighting and so tired of trying.

So basically, as soon as Bella was born, my relationship with her was under attack and it was strained. She was my first baby, but I was pretty sure you're supposed to feel something when your baby cries and I just didn't. And I know that this is the part where some of you are going to have a lot of judgment and that's okay. But that's not the mother that I am. That’s not natural motherhood. Something was off. Something was broken. I could feel it.

I had really hoped that things would be okay, despite my struggle, but I couldn't control the fact that I felt so little connection to my daughter. We just kind of carried on like that. And I tried. I would go to her because I felt it's my obligation to go to her…I'm the mom.

But Brian did a lot of stuff because he was there. He was laid off for a while, a really large chunk of the first year of her life. It was just really, really dark. It was really hard.

At Bella’s first birthday, I had finally gotten on medication about a month before that and I was feeling a little better. As the months went on, I got healed and weaned off my medicine and I stayed okay. And it was good. It served its purpose.

I still felt a disconnect to Bella, not even just a disconnect, but this “tension,” this push-back toward connecting with her. Something in me would fight back anytime I tried to form a deeper connection with my daughter. This was something that I thought about and tried to figure out basically 24/7 because it concerned me. I knew it was wrong. I knew that medicine couldn't fix that and I didn't know what to do about it.

Take this with a grain of salt if this isn't your thing, but I firmly believe that this was a spiritual attack. Mother/daughter relationship issues go way back on my side of the family. There's been legitimate abandonment. My mom was literally dropped off and abandoned by her birth mom. There's verbal abuse, emotional neglect, and other problems in my maternal lineage as far back as my mom and I know of. I believe in generational curses and spiritual warfare. I've seen so much, way too much, to not see that as the truth, especially when it comes to family relationships.

I believe that is a really big part of what happened with me and Bella and that there was a war raging for our relationship.

I want to say that moving forward from that things got better. Bella and I today are incredibly close. I'll get into that more in a few minutes, but I want to give freedom to anybody struggling with this too. And I also want to discuss what I did to make this relationship that we have now happen.

I have never heard anybody talk about this. Why is nobody talking about this? So, I want to do that today.

If you are listening to this and you're feeling that “freedom relief” feeling that somebody's talking to your situation…a situation that is dark, terrifying, heavy, embarrassing, horrifying, and awful…I'm so happy that you're here and I know it's not an accident.

Please know that if you're listening to this and that's you, my gosh, God loves you and He brought you here. Okay?

Secondly, this is not your fault. You are not a bad mother. You are not a broken person who is inept. You're not unable to raise your child. You are not the wrong choice. You are not a mistake. Your child is not a mistake and you can get through this. You can.

There is another side; however far away it feels, however dark it feels, there is another side and you can get there. I want you to have that hope.

I know, even as I'm saying this to you, 10 years out, it's so emotional because it so dark and I've been there. I've stood where you're standing and my gosh, it's so awful. It's just like a black hole and there's nothing. You can't see anything.

When a mother doesn't feel anything when her baby cries, something is damaged. I just want you to know it's not weakness to need to get medicine. It's not weakness to need to get healing. You're not making the wrong choice. You need help.

This example is given a lot, but I'm going to give it again anyway in case you haven't heard it. If you get diagnosed with diabetes you're a diabetic and you need insulin, are you going to feel weak for that and not take it? No, of course not. You're sick and your body needs something. You're going to take the insulin. Depression, especially postpartum depression when it gets this heavy...I do believe that there's a “blues period” for a lot of women, and you'll have to kinda just weigh it out. But for me, and if you're at that level, when it gets bad and you're not okay, it's not going away. It's not lifting. Something is off in your brain. Go and get that insulin. Go get the medicine. You need help. That's what it’s there for.

Outside of that, I want to discuss what I did to make mine and Bella's relationship stronger. After I came out of the PPD, I was maybe about a year out of the postpartum depression tunnel, when I realized our relationship is still strained. She’s so little but I know she feels that, I know she feels the pushback and I don't want to feel it. I don't want to sit and have time with my daughter and feel a resistance to closeness to her.

Over the course of years, what I did to fix things and repair things, I basically just decided that the dark wasn't going to continue to rob me anymore. This was not going to be the story of Bella and I. It just wasn't. It had been so far, but it wasn't going to be anymore

I didn't know what to do. I couldn't find books about this parent/child connection issue. I didn't know what was going to work. I didn't know where to start. But I just started. I started by deciding the dark isn't going to win anymore. I'm not going to be robbed any more, and I'm going to figure this out.

I also got real about what was going on. How exactly did I feel when Bella tried to get close to me? Or came and sat on my lap? Or I tried to get close to her? Where was the pushback and resistance really coming from? What's the source? I would feel it…I didn't know this at the time, but I was going into a little bit of a meditative state, honing into my internal self and feeling that feeling all the way.

Have you guys heard about that technique? Don't push your feelings away. Feel it more. Lean in to that feeling and ask yourself, “Where is this coming from? Why am I feeling this?” Sometimes I would hear nothing. Other times I would “feel” an answer and I would feel like, “Okay, when she touches me I just feel irritated.” That sounds awful, but things like that. Just being honest. Not pushing because it's so awful to be a mother and to feel those feelings and it’s even more awful to admit that you feel those feelings, that you're having those thoughts. But get real about it. Don't suppress it, ignore it and pretend it's not there. Lean into it. Feel it all the way because answers come out of that.

I also prayerfully walked forward trying to figure things out. I talked to God about all of this as I walked through it and I realized that He can handle our realness. Don't be afraid to let Him in on it. He already knows what you're struggling with. I used to feel like I didn't want to tell Him how I was feeling, I felt so bad about it. Here He gave me this gift. I was supposed to struggle with infertility and here's a baby, a toddler girl in front of me, and I didn't want to spend time with her, or I had a resistance to closeness with her.

But I let Him in on it. I was honest and I talked to him about it as I walked this road. I asked that He would show me what I needed to see to heal. And He did. He would show me little things like, “just go over and hold your daughter's hand. Why don't you sit and watch that movie with her instead of cleaning right now?” Things like that. He showed up in the mess and helped me walk the path one moment at a time.

As Bella got older, 6 or 7-years-old and up, I started to find things in common with her and I would take part in those things with her intentionally, even when I didn't feel like it.

For example, today we go and we get manicures together every two weeks religiously. It's our thing. It's our time away from all the boys at our house. We talk on the drive. We listen to whatever music she wants. I go into the coffee shop and I get a coffee and she gets a hot chocolate. We go get our nails done. We just kind of relax and enjoy the time. We pick our colors together and then we spend a little bit of time out together after that. And it's our regular thing every two weeks.

Ever since I was trying to intentionally heal from this parent/child disconnect, we've had things like that and it's changed as she's gotten older. When she was really little, she didn't want to go get manicures so it was different. Maybe it was playing horses with her. Maybe it was reading her stories, whatever. But I found things in common and intentionally took part in those things with her.

Another big thing that I did was I let her talk and I made sure that I actively listened to her. We have developed this thing where we take drives together. Anytime that I've needed to have an important conversation with Bella, I'll take her for a drive. It's come from when she was little and her brothers were toddlers and babies. We would get everyone in their car seats, get in the car and we would talk and the boys would fall asleep in their car seats and it formed this tradition.

When a kid is talking to you, they're usually talking about something that you don't really care about. But the thing is if you don't listen to your kids when they talk about the things that don't really matter when they're little, they're going to see that you don't listen to them and they're not going to talk to you about the things that really do matter when they get older.

So, I listened to her talk about her toys and the show that she's watching on Netflix. Now I listen to her talk about dragons (she's really into dragons) and unicorns, the story that she's writing, whatever movie that she just watched on Netflix. I listened to her talk about those things and now she'll talk to me about the hard things, the awkward things. And we have this super close relationship that I think a lot of parents who didn't struggle with parent/child disconnect don't have with their kids.

We struggled with it so much that it almost was the demise of our relationship before Bella was even old enough to realize. We have that closeness. As she's gotten older, things have gotten easier and better because I've worked so hard at this for so many years.

I want to give you that hope.

Do something. Do something. If you're struggling with postpartum depression, check in with yourself. Is this something that you need to just kind of let run for a little bit? Has it been a while and you're not getting better and you know what you need to do? Go get medicine.

Are you out of the PPD or PPA or postpartum psychosis period and you're just dealing with a parent/child disconnect? That doesn't have to be your story. You can write a new story.

Today Bella and I are so close. We have such a good relationship. I can tell her, “Sweetie, mommy really just needs a little bit of alone time right now, let’s spend time together tomorrow.” And her feelings won’t get hurt. I can share with her anything that I need to share with her. I can talk to her. She can talk to me about anything.

She's 10, so we recently had “the talk” and it went wonderfully. She felt so secure and at ease to ask me questions and it was beautiful. It was a beautiful time for us. We have talks all the time. We have our regular manicures that we get together. She wants to spend time with me and I want to spend time with her. Our relationship is so close. I can't believe that this is the relationship that we have after what we've been through.

The lesson that I have learned here is that you don't have to be the victim forever. That is only your story if you let the pen keep writing that way. If you don't want that anymore, write a different story. Make the choice.

I hope that this has given somebody out there so much hope. I hope it helps.

I don't care about the judgment that's definitely going to come from sharing this.

I just know that there's somebody out here listening that has this right now and has been super scared and worried about what it means and I just hope that this episode brought you a lot of hope and a big light to just bring you some peace.


This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 084: Putting Off Decluttering? I Wrote Your 'Why' For You

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When it comes to decluttering, many people get stuck on the hurdles that come up in the process. They don’t take action, they procrastinate, and they never dive into it. When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard. So if you are putting off decluttering, I promise this episode will show you why you need to do!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The importance of your “why” and how it pushes you toward making positive changes.

  • How materialism is linked to narcissism and and depression.

  • Why she wants to see you move forward with decluttering and the value it will bring to you and your family.  

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! I'm so excited for today's episode because we are getting scientific.

Also, I am sitting in the desk chair at my hotel. I am recording this month's episodes during a hotel getaway, and the chair that I've just moved into for this episode is making farting sounds. So, if you hear a weird sound, it wasn't me. It was the chair. I promise.

Anyway, let's dive in. I want to get into this. I'm super excited.

What I'm mainly known for is decluttering and the problem that people get super hung up on is these tiny hurdles that come up in the process of getting rid of your excess in your home. And not just the tiny hurdles; even the big hurdles. The point is that they don't take action or they procrastinate. Or they let a problem get in their way, be in their way and stop them, whether they've been making some progress, and then they get held up and stop, or they never even start because they are so held up on the hurdles.

And the thing is is that I don't talk about this for nothing. This isn't just something that I randomly do, or that I kinda like talking about, or that I'm just good at. This stuff really matters. The reason that I talk about decluttering, the reason that I've built a business, a podcast, a blog, an email list, and all this stuff around this topic is because it is my life's work. This is my story. I was robbed of my motherhood. I was not living it. I was super overwhelmed. I was struggling with depression. I was missing out on my life, on my days. I was shooing my kids away from me so that I could catch up on the housework and letting these mundane pieces of life be my life, own me, and take all my time and focus.

When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me, that I could put it in its place and simplify so that I could focus on what actually matters, and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. And that's what I do. That's what I share.

It's frustrating to me when I see people not understanding that. I get that life is really busy, really full, and there's a lot of different things pulling at your focus and attention, but honestly it breaks my heart every time I see a comment or hear someone saying that they don't have time to declutter and simplify, that they hate their house, that they feel stressed when they walk in the door, yet they're doing nothing to move forward.

I think the biggest thing that I see - there's like five main things that I see - but the biggest, most common one is just that people are seeing decluttering like this big futuristic task they want to take on but haven't started yet, and that is just not how it needs to be seen at all.

It can be started immediately. The good thing about decluttering is that you pretty much see results right away. It's like instinct gratification. You get rid of something, you have more space and more time instantly. And that's pretty rare. It's not something that happens with everything.

So, I find myself getting super frustrated with women who are complaining about their homes, feeling like they're stressed when they walk in the door. They don't have enough time in their day. They're unhappy. They're dissatisfied. They're unfulfilled. And it's like you’re making this decluttering thing this big thing you're gonna do some day instead of just starting.

Some of the biggest excuses that I hear are, “I'm busy. Well, my husband isn't really on board. He doesn't get this. Well, but I work full time. Well, we're moving soon, so I'm waiting,” which that's my least favorite one because why would you move your crap into a new house when you have a perfect opportunity to declutter now while you're packing and only move into your new space what you want there?

You know, “We're renovating. It's hard right now. I'm afraid to hurt people's feelings if I get rid of certain things. Well I don't know what to do with things that I decide not to keep. Should I sell them? Should I donate them? Like I could use the money.

It's so frustrating because when I tackled all the clutter in my house - six years ago when I started this process, before minimalism was a fad, before there was a documentary about it, before there were a billion books on the topic - when I started this, it was nothing. I didn't even know that it was called minimalism. I had no idea it was a thing. I was just a desperate mom crying out to God on her bathroom floor and saying, “Please help me. I know that I'm called to abundant life. I know that I'm not living it right now and I know that you did not intend to exclude mothers from that promise, so tell me what I'm doing wrong. Please help me.”

When I figured this out, I tackled all the clutter in my house and it was the worst time for me. I had three kids under age three. I was seriously struggling with depression and all I wanted to do was go to bed and turn on Netflix. I had no money, a huge overwhelming house. It was my first year of homeschooling and things were crazy. I had every reason not to do this. My marriage was a mess. Seriously, every reason not to do this.

Brian was not on board. We've talked about that a lot and there's an entire lesson with an audio interview between the two of us in Your Uncluttered Home where we talk about how much he was not onboard with letting go of things, how we worked through that and how he wasn't on board for two years. I had every single excuse, everything against me, every reason not to do this, and yet I did it.

What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard.

So, I started to get really frustrated with all of these excuses that I hear and all these things. I get it. It's hard to make change. It is. But really what these are is excuses to not move forward.

And I decided, you know what? I'm going to write your ‘why’ for you, so that's what I'm doing today. I'm literally writing your ‘why’ for you and showing you, here's why you need to do this. Here's why no matter how much you have going on, no matter how far away you're moving, no matter how much you are afraid of offending people by getting rid of stuff they gave you, no matter how against this your husband is and how that feels like a huge hurdle, no matter what's going on, why you need to do this now.

So, I'm a Christian and as such I rely on Scripture a lot of the time and I've written articles about how minimalism is living biblically and all that stuff. It's good stuff. But today I want to talk about how science is, as always, catching up with Scripture and it backs this up so well.

So first, let's dive into an article published by Leaf Van Boven at the University of Colorado. His article focused on the fact that investing financial resources in experiences makes people happier than investing in material possessions. He basically came to find that materialism is directly linked to narcissism and depression. That's pretty heavy.

He cited that several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general. Think about that statement. That's super intense. Several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general.

Now, if you're familiar with Scripture, think about how many things can you think off the top of your head that back that up? That the message is to store up treasures in heaven and desert what is here on earth and focus on eternity. Focus on what really matters. So, we're just being told again what we already know.

There is something that I want to read you, too, from another article on this study that was done on studying people and things and the relation between that. This is what it says, super scientific, ready?

The way people describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. This article uses linguistic analysis software to analyze 60 different dual income spouse's self-guided home tours by calculating the frequency of words describing clutter, a sense of the home as unfinished, restful words and nature words. Based on a principle components analysis, the former two categories were combined into the variable stressful home and the latter two into restorative home.

Over three weekdays following the home tours, wives with higher stress home scores, had flatter diurnal slopes of cortisol, a profile associated with adverse health outcomes; whereas women with higher restorative home scores had steeper cortisol slopes. These results held after controlling for marital satisfaction and neuro-neuroticism. Women with higher stressful home scores had increased depressed mood over the course of the day, whereas women with higher restorative home scores had decreased depressed moods over the day.

It's okay if you need to use your phone app to skip back 15 seconds and relisten to that a couple times; I had to read it like five times because it's a lot of scientific words and it's a lot of information. Basically what we already know and what I teach all the time, this is backing that up. That the amount of clutter in your home is directly correlated to the amount of stress. More stuff - more stress. Less stuff - less stress.

So, these people did a study on dual income spouses giving a self-guided tour of their home. They took note of the types of words they used to describe their rooms as they went through and gave a self-guided home tour. They found that the words they used, the way they described their home, the tone they used, and the way they felt about their homes in general, were so directly tied to the amount of excess, clutter and stuff in the space. This really matters.

There's another study that I want to draw attention to. It was done by two people. One was named Darby Saxby and the other was named Rena Repetti. These two did a study that was published by Sage Publications and the study was called No Place Like Home. Here's a quote that I pulled from it. “The home can be a place to unwind from the work day, but when housework and home repairs compete for the attention of time-strapped, working parents, home can become more of a source of demands than a haven from the outside world.” Who is feeling like they want to raise their hands up to this? Like the house can become such a demand for your time and attention and needs so much work, that it ends up being like this giant chore list and task lists versus a haven from the outside world. What can we do to make our homes more of a haven? For ourselves, for our husbands, for our children, for our families as a whole?

Create less work. And that is why I so, so, so am hard hitting about minimalism.

This study by Saxby and Repetti also found that it's likely - “highly likely” to quote them - it's highly likely that individual's feelings about their homes also shape their everyday fluctuations in stress and mood. So how you feel about your home is how you feel in general. It's how stressed you are. It's how your mood is in general. It affects your thoughts. It affects your inner workings. It's so important.

There was another study done at Harvard that said that “eliminating clutter would cut down on housework by 40%.” How would your life even look if you had 40% less housework every day? That is a lot less burden for you.

Another study done at UCLA, which I talk about all the time, found that the more stuff that’s in a woman's house - they only did the study on women because they found that men weren't affected enough to show results, which I think is hilarious - but this study found that the more stuff that was in a woman's house, the higher her level of stress hormones (cortisol). The same study also found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with their home life and family to how they feel about their house. So, the more clutter and chaos in the home, the less happy the woman is with her family and her life.


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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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So basically, there's your ‘why.’

If you've been coming up with excuses…You're moving. You're waiting for your adoption to go through or your baby to come. You're renovating your house right now. Your husband just doesn't really seem to get it. Things are just really busy and you're in a really full season. Your kids are all in sports and school is really hectic. You're going back to get your degree and you'll wait till later.

These are all good reasons to wait, but if you're coming up with an excuse and you're putting this off, I'm here to tell you, look at how serious this is. Seriously, look at what this will do for you and what you feeling lighter will do for your family. Could you even get a better ‘why’ than this?

What I want this episode to do, I want it to be a pep talk and I want it to say, “Stop overcomplicating this. You know what your problem is. You know exactly what the solution is. Just do it. Just do it.”

I've said this before, but I'm just going to leave you guys with this: This is your why. Feel free to come back and revisit this episode and listen to it over and over again to get amped up and remind yourself why this matters, why it's worth your time.

If you're having trouble finding the time, decide this is a priority. What do you do with priorities? You pencil it in. If you need to go and get a physical at the doctor and it's important to you, what do you do? You call them. You make an appointment. You put it on your calendar. You find the time. You get the time off work. You create space. Whatever it is you need to do, you make it happen. You put it on your calendar and you show up.

Treat this like that. This is an appointment that you cannot break. This matters. It's affecting your psych. It's affecting your mood. It’s affecting your stress levels. It's affecting your marriage, your motherhood, your family. It's affecting your kids' childhood. It's affecting everything. This matters; so treat it that way.

What I did when I was in the throes of decluttering, in the very beginning of all this, was I set aside Monday and Saturday mornings just for a couple of hours and I would just have at it. So schedule time. Find some space. Even if it's 30 minutes a week, it's something. Don't let this become nothing.

What I don’t want is this: I don’t want you to hear this episode and hear like, “Oh my gosh, she's so right. This is so important,” and then get really worked up to where it's such a big deal that again you find yourself in a cycle of seeing it as this big thing you’ll do someday that’s really important to you, but you’re not going to do right now.

Yes, it's a big deal. Yes, this super matters, but 10 minutes is better than no minutes. Do something. Clear out your junk drawer. Take a look at your closet and just get some stuff out of there. Go into the toy room with your kids and say, “Guys, I bet you could each find 10 things that you don't really play with anymore that we can give to some kids in need. Let's see who can find 10 things the fastest.” Just do that. It'll take you 10 minutes.

Just start somewhere. Stop over complicating this and just do it.

Once you decide this is important and you're going to treat it like an appointment and pencil it in, the other common hurdle is where do I start? You have two choices.

You can start somewhere that is sucking up a lot of your time and energy. Maybe that's your laundry for you. Maybe it's your kitchen. You just feel like you have way too many dishes and somehow, even though you only have four people in your house, you end up with a massive pile of dishes to wash every night. Start with the dishes. Simplify. All you need is a dish per person. Let the rest go.

Maybe it's your kid's toy room. Maybe you want to start there.

Start somewhere that’s really over complicated, that’s sucking your time and energy from you and just start there.

Or you can start somewhere that’s really easy. A really easy ‘yes and no’ decision area like the bathroom. The bathroom is so often just loaded with clutter. I was just talking to a friend and she told me that she bagged up four full trash bags of stuff just in her tiny little bathroom. It's not even a big bathroom.

But the bathroom is typically not a place where we store sentimental items. It's usually easy ‘yeses and nos’ like old makeup and hair tools that don't work anymore that we're holding onto for whatever reason. Start in there and let that be an easy ‘yes and no’ area, and build the momentum you need to keep going.

The point is that you're just starting. Stop waiting. Stop making this seem like this big thing you have to do someday. Start now. Start making progress. You will finish.

Eventually you will get to the other side where you can say, “Wow, the things in our home are the things we love and the things we actually need. Things are lighter.”  You’re going to be in maintenance mode and it's going to be awesome.

But first you have to stop making this way more complicated than it actually is.

You'll have to let this episode serve as your big ‘why’ and let it push you forward and just start.

So, you already know what your problem is. You already know your ‘why.’ I just wrote it for you. I just said it to you.

You know exactly what the solution is and now it's time for you to just do it.



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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

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