Pandora Sykes on navigating postpartum emotions

Author, podcaster and mother of three, Pandora Sykes, discusses mental health as a new mom, creating space for emotions, and the importance of self-care.

On finding contentment
“Contentment is an appreciation of the world and an understanding that life will have ups and downs, but it’s a state free from constant anxiety. It acknowledges that we’ll experience both peaks and valleys, moments of happiness and spells of sadness. When I read interviews with celebrities in magazines, a common question that arises is, ‘Are you happy?’ I find it fascinating that this question assumes happiness to be a fixed state, rather than moments of happiness or peace. It also highlights how our pursuit of happiness often revolves around unattainable states of being and feeling. The best I can realistically hope for, or at least what I personally strive for, is contentment.”

On giving yourself time
“I’ve discovered that allowing things more time helps with emotional turbulence. It provides a space for things to settle, which, I believe, is the most important lesson I’ve learned. It’s about granting everything a bit more time—more time for journeys, more time for tasks, and more time to feel fully prepared for specific projects. Recently, I was offered a very cool opportunity to try something new, but it also felt a bit scary, and I realized I’m not ready to feel fear again at six months postpartum. I need a bit more time. I still feel like I’m very new to the experience of raising three children, and I’ve granted myself more time to figure things out.”

Postpartum emotions
“I was diagnosed with postnatal depression after my second child, but looking back, I experienced it after my first child as well. I had called it anxiety because that was the term I was familiar with. With my first child, once I felt well enough, I immediately returned to work and said yes to every wedding, not wanting to disappoint anyone, personally or professionally. Now, I’ve learned to be more in tune with my emotions and recognize when I need to take a step back, cancel commitments if necessary, and prioritize self-care. My midwife helped me understand that situational factors don’t exempt us from experiencing mental health challenges. Even with regular self-care, you can’t control whether these challenges will manifest.”

Building mental resilience
“Without realizing it, I was very impatient after having my first two children. I’ve come to understand that, especially when you have a child, it can be difficult to resist the urge to dive back into things too quickly. Even now, as I continue to work while caring for a young baby, I’ve scaled down my workload and only recently returned to full-time work. I wanted to rebuild my mental resilience and come to terms with the fact that my mind has taken quite a hit. Your brain undergoes huge changes after having a baby.”

Holding yourself so you can hold others
“It’s difficult, but I’m creating flexibility in my schedule. Each time I have a child, I need to reevaluate what I can give and what I can take on. I never want to reach a point where I feel I am unable to hold someone else. For me, it’s about finding ways to support and care for myself, so that I can be there for others, especially in a society that emphasizes individualism.”

Life offline
“For a long time, I’ve limited my use of social media. I don’t keep the apps on my phone. My mind is naturally very stimulated, so scrolling through the lives of other people and absorbing their activities can easily overwhelm me. It’s interesting that there’s an expectation nowadays to learn about people’s lives through social media, but I don’t think it’s the best way to understand others. I view social media as a part of my work. Hence, my online engagement is largely work-related. My life is offline.”

Cultivating moments of joy
“I’m trying to create time for activities that are for myself, without the goal of making money. As a freelancer and the primary breadwinner, my business is my brain. I have to make sure I can consistently show up for work and deliver results, so maintaining my mental and emotional health is key. Something I find very restorative is taking walks without my phone and simply observing my surroundings. I’ll also visit the local corner shop and have a coffee and chat with a friend who works there. It’s these small moments of interaction that have become increasingly scarce in our fast-paced lives. And these are where moments of surprise and joy can occur and enrich our daily lives.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy.


Motherhood, entrepreneurship, and finding balance with Erin Allweiss

Erin Allweiss shares with us about how becoming a mother has made her better at business and vice versa.

Read More

A motherhood journey guided by ancestral wisdom with Tatiana Dahteste

Tatiana Dahteste shares her views on indigenous motherhood and our connection to nature.

Read More

Raising happy & healthy children with Rhys Menzel

Rhys Menzel discusses the gift of time as a way to express love to our children.

Read More

Embracing darkness with Joséphine Klerks

With artist Joséphine Klerks, we explore the creative advantages of the dark days of winter and how to foster a deep connection with nature.

Read More

Dr. Gabor Maté on the essence of healthy parenting

Dr. Gabor Maté on mindful parenting and how to honor our authentic selves.

Read More

An energetic forecast for 2024

2024 is a time to uncover hidden constructs, rediscover wisdom, and co-create a more harmonious world.

Read More