How to Go From Surviving to Thriving

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of women suffering with postpartum depression. There are some who make the news because of the violent acts they commit.

Andrea Yates from Texas is probably one of the most famous cases because she killed her 5 children in a bathtub after suffering with it.

On the other hand, there are many sufferers who experience episodes we never hear about that can lead to bouts of anxiety, feelings of seclusion, lack of bonding issues with their baby, and mood swings, just to name a few. In some cases of postpartum depression, it can be life-altering or create a major occurence that can change the trajectory of a person’s life or family. For instance, some people experience divorce or separation, potential problems with alcohol, or increased family tension.

This condition varies from one extreme to the other. The important thing is for people to get help if they are suffering from it.

Meet my guest, Miriam Cruz, she is a former sufferer of postpartum depression who figured out a way to overcome it. Now, she is on a mission to help people develop a growth mindset to overcome it and other obstacles in their life, in order to thrive and live happy.

Miriam Cruz is a motivational speaker, life coach, and upcoming author. She is working on her first book, Dominate the Decade. She founded Miriam Speaks to inspire others and to encourage them to follow their dreams. Her workshops have transformed the lives of countless women and altered the trajectory of their lives.

With her life experiences, education, and commitment to others, Miriam has been an influential leader in her community. She is committed to positively impacting others and allowing everyone to share their story.

3WV: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Miriam: My name is Miriam Cruz and I am a speaker, mindset coach, real estate investor, and in the process of writing my first book. I am a mother of two boys. My youngest child is 6 months old and my eldest is 12 years old. I am blessed to be with a wonderful man who supports and uplifts me everyday. I am fulfilled, and I use my experiences and story to teach women reliable strategies and techniques that promote the attainment of their aspirations.

My childhood was not an easy one. Although, my parents were together my childhood was marked by violence and neglect by my father. Throughout my childhood I dealt with self-hatred and was convinced that I was not good enough.

Fortunately, as an adult, I have participated in personal development trainings and in therapy. My determination to lead a fulfilled life is an inspiration to many. I want to share my message of learning to leave the past behind, forgiveness, daring to hope, and finding the inner strength to achieve dreams, no matter how large the obstacles may be in life.

3WV: Tell us your story and any obstacles you’ve faced in your life. How did your story and obstacles cause a change in the course of your life?

Miriam: Have you ever felt alone and like no one in this world understands you? I felt like that most of my life. I was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a child illegally through the Southern border at the age of four. After two years of being away from my parents, I was reunited with them and my five siblings. I was born into poverty, and my early years were marked by violence and neglect by my father. During my childhood and early teenage years, my father gave me insulting nicknames and abused me, both physically and emotionally.

As a teenager, I became involved with drugs, alcohol, and eventually dropped out of high school. Soon after, I was incarcerated at the Santa Clara Juvenile Hall and spent years on juvenile probation. Due to my consistent destructive behavior, I was sent to an all-girl boarding school in Mexico, Casa by the Sea, at the age of 16. At Casa by the Sea, I graduated high school and began to deal with my trauma, depression, and anxiety, which had developed throughout my childhood.

My life took a drastic turn at the age of 21. I got pregnant. To think of it now, it was expected due to my behaviors, but I was in shock when I found out. My depression began to consume me again. I had to face reality. I was pregnant by a man who I didn’t want to be with. This is when I decided that my life would change. I completely turned my life around for the better and I began to deal with my depression. Although my son was not planned, he saved my life. I learned what real love felt like and I decided that I would give my child a different life than the one I had.

3WV: After the birth of your child, you experienced postpartum depression due to a hormonal imbalance. Tell us what happened.

Miriam: After 8 years of being a single mother, I decided to begin dating, and soon enough I got into a relationship with a man. He is caring, gentle, and accepts me for who I am. We have been together for four years, and although we have had some challenges, we have grown together. We are happy.

At the age of 33, we decided I would have my second child. My partner and I began to plan, and we were pregnant within the first month of trying. We were so happy, and the pregnancy went by very smoothly. I didn’t have morning sickness and didn’t gain a lot of weight. I stayed physically active during my pregnancy and I felt great. I was working out at the gym and maintained a high level of energy. Labor was fast (about 2 hours) and not as painful as my first one, or maybe now that I am older, I knew how to deal with it better.

The day we brought the baby home was one of the happiest days of my life, but a few days later everything changed. All of a sudden, my life spiraled out of control without me even noticing. I was severely depressed, irritable, confused, and dealt with a lot of sadness. I felt like I was in a dark cloud every day. I didn’t feel like eating, showering or getting out of bed. In the mornings when I went to drop off my 12-year-old at school, I fantasized about never going back home. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and I felt like I didn’t own my thoughts. My days were long, lonely, and I had panic attacks regularly. I didn’t know how to deal with the sadness that I felt. I felt guilty and ashamed for having those feelings.

3WV: What is postpartum depression? What are the signs?

Miriam: Postpartum depression is depression that can happen after childbirth, also known as “baby blues.” It is a serious mental illness that involves the brain and affects your behavior and physical health. It can affect the early bonding between the mother and child.

Signs: Some of the signs of postpartum depression can include insomnia, loss of appetite and intense irritability. Women can also feel anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or panic attacks. These feelings can lead to crying, irritability, and restlessness. Some women also have fatigue, loss of appetite, weight gain, weight loss, lack of concentration, unwanted thoughts, and depression or fear.

Anyone who feels empty, emotionless, or sad, all or most of the time for longer than 2 weeks during or after pregnancy, should reach out for help.

3WV: Have you ever suffered with depression in your life before?

Miriam: I dealt with postpartum depression with my first son, 12 years ago, but that was short lived or maybe I didn’t know I had it. I was depressed most of my adulthood, so I thought it was normal. I was never seen or diagnosed by a doctor.

3WV: What are some things a person can do to help someone suffering with postpartum depression or a hormonal imbalance? 

Miriam: There are many ways people can support a mother who has postpartum depression. Here are the six ways that I believe women can be helped.

    1. When speaking with her, make it about her and not about the baby. Ask how she is feeling and if she needs anything for herself.
    2. Offer to go to doctor’s appointments with her and show interest in what is happening with the appointments.
    3. Stop trying to solve her problems and do not tell her how you would do things if you were her; listen to her.
    4. Stop asking what you can do and just start doing it. Take the initiative and provide solutions.
    5. Ask others for your own support. When possible, ask friends and family to support you both.
    6. Celebrate her successes. Show her that she is loved and that she is not alone.

3WV: What was the turning point for you wanting to get help?

Miriam: Soon after I had my second child, I began to see a therapist and later a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist stated that I needed medication because I had a hormonal imbalance and my depression had to be controlled. She diagnosed me as clinically depressed due to postpartum. That information was shocking to me; I hadn’t realized how out of control my life and my health had gotten.

Due to beliefs I have about taking medication and suffering from previous addiction to drugs, I didn’t want to take medication. I decided to give myself 6 weeks to deal with my feelings, thoughts, and mindset without medication. If that didn’t work, I would take the medication.

3WV: You mentioned you didn’t want to take medication for your depression. What did you do instead?

Miriam: I decided to take control of my life. I developed a schedule that assisted in my healing without taking medication. I created a daily plan and focused on mindset strategies and techniques, meditated, lived in gratitude, and looked for every opportunity to enhance my life. I forced myself to do things that I never dreamed of doing. I also began saying yes to every opportunity that I felt would increase my personal development. After 6 weeks, I noticed that my plan worked. I felt better and I was happier than ever. Everyday I woke up excited and motivated for a new day. I am grateful for my journey because it brought me to where I am now. I now know my purpose is to help women who are suffering like I was.

3WV: Tell us about your system, “From Surviving to Thriving,” and how your life has changed because of it.

Miriam: From surviving to thriving is a lifestyle. After being diagnosed as clinically depressed due to postpartum, I created a plan to heal. I was able to focus on my mindset and used my resources to educate myself on the effects of this serious mental illness. I began to work on my mindset and found techniques that helped me everyday. I was able to transition from surviving to thriving.

3WV: What are some ways obstacles limit people’s success and how can they overcome them?

Miriam: There are different obstacles that can surface while women are going through postpartum depression. Some of those could be lack of education, awareness, or support. It is crucial that women and their support system educate themselves and reach out for help. I also believe that doctors and health professionals should share more information and resources about this illness. They should also share resources about this illness when the mother chooses not to take medication. Lastly, family support is crucial. It is important for family members not to judge or make the new mother feel guilty or ashamed for the way she feels.

3WV: What do you mean when you say move pass limiting beliefs? Give some steps people can take to help them in their lives.

Miriam: We all have different views about ourselves that were learned throughout our lives. They are typically positive or negative. For example, if someone told us we were dumb. We might believe what they say and start using that to limit our ability to believe in ourselves. The negative views about ourselves can keep us from achieving our highest potential. Negative beliefs limit what we believe is possible for ourselves. When we have limiting beliefs, we often won’t let amazing things happen, and in turn, we don’t take risks or follow our dreams.

In order to overcome these beliefs, we need to identify them, analyze them, and take our power back by using positivity. This process takes practice, so its important to be consistent.

3WV: You mention in your system, “owning your power.” How can people own their power? 

Miriam: I want women to know that their past doesn’t limit their power. I refuse, now, to have shame about my past because it has contributed to my present. It is okay to feel and accept those feelings. It could be shame, blame, guilt, anger, or others. Identify the target of those feelings. Remove the negatives of the feeling and feel them without judgement. This is turning them into a positive. Everyone has the power to decide what is best for them. It is a beautiful thing; don’t let anyone take your power from you.

3WV: What are healthy behaviors? Give examples. 

Miriam: Healthy behaviors to help women overcome postpartum depression include taking care of your body, talking about your feelings, changing your outlook on life, and believing in yourself. It is crucial to stay active, even if it is short walks. Talk to people about what you are going through. Change the way you view things, or ask someone to help you with that. Believe that you can overcome this illness, because you can.

3WV: How important is it for people to have a mindset shift and to develop a roadmap in order to reach their goals? Give some steps to using healthy mindset techniques.

Miriam: Our mindset is the foundation for everything. Our mindset (the way we think) directs 90% of our success, so it is important to have and maintain a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset believe they can get smarter, more intelligent, and more talented through putting in time and effort.

There are different steps to have a growth mindset. Some of those steps include accepting ourselves (the way we are), acknowledging our imperfections, viewing challenges as opportunities, stop seeking for approval, and finally celebrating our growth and wins.

3WV: How important is it to seek new opportunities to grow in business and in life?

Miriam: It is crucial to seek new opportunities because those who do, learn more, and find new ways to enhance their business. People who have a growth mindset are able to move forward and position their business and brand for higher success.

3WV: Tell us about your program… “Limitless.”

Miriam: Limitless is the program that I developed as a result of surviving postpartum depression. It is a 6-week life-changing program. This program is intentional and purposeful. I use a weekly curriculum to teach strategies for a growth mindset, releasing limiting beliefs, and living a happy life. As a result of working with me, individuals learn strategies and techniques to achieve their goals; and their passion, personal development, and confidence is ignited.

3WV: Can you give some last words of advice or empowerment to help women in their lives?

Miriam: Talk to yourself as you would talk to others you care about. Accept that you make choices from the information you have at hand. With greater awareness, you make new decisions. With kindness to yourself, you accept a model for kindness to others. As your self-awareness increases, your ability to discern new relationships will result.

I know exactly how I want to be treated because that is how I treat myself.

3WV: What is your contact information for people who want to reach you?

Miriam: My information is:

Article Written and Interview by: Debbie Stokes

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