#RAWmotherhood: Eschelle Westwood

Motherhood Portrait PPD PPA Postpartum

(Photo By Angela Baron Photographer)

My motherhood journey started young, I was only nineteen when my partner and I discovered we were pregnant with our first child. Having met and been together since I was seventeen it was a simple decision to keep the course and prepare to welcome our first baby. With the news of a new baby though came the news that my mother was terminally ill with lung cancer. Which meant my first pregnancy was plagued with a dreadful and stressful feeling at all times, making it hard for me to bond with my growing child. I started growing detached from myself, my growing body and what was to come hoping time would just stand still for just a little bit.

Having a looming dread that my little one wasn’t going to arrive in time to meet my mother I was struggling with my growing depression and anxiety. My oldest did arrive in time to meet my mother twice before she passed away. My detachment from my son was harder to deal with than I ever thought and ultimately made breastfeeding impossible for me. I loved my son desperately but I also was so scared of being a young mother with no mom to call for support or answers. It was all consuming. Being estranged from my father during this time made this even harder, feeling all alone and trapped inside a house all the time with a child. I found it easier to stay home than try to go out as I was growing comfortable in my isolation.

Motherhood is one of the most rewarding and isolating experiences any woman can have.

I soon became pregnant with our second child, given the due date February 17th, 2010 the anniversary of my mother’s death day. Deep down I knew that he was going to be born that day, regardless of everyone saying there was only a 3% chance. Low and behold that morning at 6:30am I started going into labour and gave birth to my son on the anniversary of my mother’s death. It was a full circle feeling for me as he responded to my finger immediately,and my mother’s name till he was two. His birth was a very healing experience for me in my grief as I felt my mother with me in him every day. Of course this didn’t solve all the issues I had developed from my still lingering postpartum trauma from having my first son. That feeling that I was never quite doing enough. There were days that grief would swallow me making me a sub par parent at best some days.

Then I found out worse news: my father, who I was estranged from, had passed away during  September just a few years after my youngest was born. Myself and the rest of his family didn’t find out until the following October as he listed no contact information. It was a huge blow to know he had passed of lung cancer as well and all alone. It once again began another long battle with a deep depression. A depression I wouldn’t have gotten over had it not been for my beautiful family.

Each and every day I take it one step at a time and some days are better than others. Sometimes my house is a mess but we manage with a little love. After losing both of my grandparents this year again to lung cancer I need all the love I can get.


Eschelle is part of our new Mama Diary Series, #RAWmotherhood, that aims to provide purposeful portraits to break the “Instagram worthy” pictures of motherhood and be real for a moment. Thank you Eschelle for supporting this campaign to unite and support mothers in their journey, postpartum. This initiative is to bring awareness and funds to BC Women’s Hospital Foundation as they continue the research and development of an app to treat PPD and PPA. Click here to find out how you can help.

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