KEEPING. IT. REAL.
For many women, having their first child presents life’s greatest challenge.
For Paulina Lopez, the greatest challenge wasn’t having her first child, a cheerful girl named Krista who is now six-years-old. Nor was it the arrival of her second daughter, a curious and playful little girl named Sabina.
As Lopez tells it, her greatest personal battle to date, has been adjusting to life after the arrival of her third daughter, Zixta.
On September 27, Lopez delivered Zixta in a setting many women could only dream of–– peacefully, at home, surrounded by loved ones, with the help of a caring doula and facing a beautiful sunset. The delivery itself was perfect, says Lopez.
But what happened afterwards, once she found herself home alone with a newborn, a toddler and a kindergartener, is still something she’s trying to figure out.
“After everybody left, after I was left by myself, that’s when a part of me changed,” says Lopez.
Sitting at a table in the back of her family’s La Guelaguetza Restaurant, Lopez signs paychecks, answers questions from numerous employees and orders a few horchata drinks—all while breastfeeding Zixta. She has not officially returned to work, where she manages the day-to-day operations of the acclaimed Oaxacan food restaurant that she owns with her siblings, but a quick stop at the restaurant proves her leadership is crucial to staff there.
Lopez continues battling deep, raw emotions that have taken over her peace of mind and brought her anxiety at times, since the arrival of Zixta.
“It’s been really hard emotionally,” says Lopez. “I don’t know know why. I don’t know what happened. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake, I already have two kids.”
Two years ago, Lopez suggested to her sister Bricia that they create a podcast where moms could come together and relate on topics about raising children and the good and bad experiences attached to that.
The sisters launched the Super Mamás podcast, which soon turned into a successful venture with a large following of moms in Los Angeles and beyond. Their on-air influence also caught the attention of companies that started reaching out to the Lopez sisters for partnerships and special events.
“My pregnancy went by so fast,” shares Lopez. “I was always so busy!”
When Lopez slowed down after giving birth to Zixta, a sudden restlessness and fear of missing out on work projects and events started invading her thoughts.
“We live so fast that to me, it felt like I had already lost a year. Like everybody was doing things and I was staying behind. I was shutting down, taking things to the extreme…like self-doubt, feeling self-conscious, blowing things out of proportion,” she shares.
Then she attended an advanced screening of Disney Pixar’s Coco, which was part of a special collaboration with Disney and hosted by her own Super Mamás Podcast.
Spending several hours away from Baby Zixta meant she wasn’t able to latch the baby when her milk dropped.
“By the time I got home (from the Coco Screening), I was in so much pain,” she recalls. “I ended up getting Mastitis and got so sick, my mom flew back from Mexico to be with me.”
She recalls one night that week as she laid crying in bed, shivering with a high fever and sweating profusely.
“I think that’s when I let go of everything. I needed to hit rock bottom to say this is enough! Once I got better, I felt like all that sweating had helped get everything out. I think that’s when I was ready to be me again.”
From that point, Lopez decided to seek help and began seeing a post-partum health expert to aid her in navigating this stage of her journey.
“I’m working on my recovery,” she says.
She has also opened up to her Super Mamás followers, often speaking on social media about the good and the not-so-good days as a new mother of three.
The platform that she created to serve as a support system for moms, seems to have come full circle. Dozens of women have written to Lopez offering encouragement and inspiration on each one of her posts.
“I’ve been here before. I know what I have to do,” says Lopez. “I hope by sharing my experience, other women going through the same don’t feel shame in their experience and decide to get help.”
Boss Mom status
Upon waking up from a short nap in her stroller, Zixta, who is now eight weeks old, starts asking for attention through soft cries and an occasional whimper. The baby girl looks tiny, with big observant eyes and a gentle smile.
Lopez picks up her baby girl, consoles her and walks through the restaurant greeting customers and handling staff inquiries.
She’s vulnerable yet strong.
She’s broken down yet determined.
And all along the way, she’s proving to herself and her followers that it’s okay to be honest about real motherhood feelings.
Paulina Lopez is a Super Mamá.
Connect with Paulina!
Super Mamás Podcast
Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Paulina and meeting Baby Zixta. We spent time at La Guelaguetza Restaurant discussing her most recent motherhood experience and watched her handle multiple duties involving her role as an entrepreneur, a podcast host, a community leader and a mom. We commend Paulina for her willingness to share darker aspects that a woman may experience as a mom and we look forward to seeing her continue pave the way for other women to use their voice and invest in self-care.
Every Mom Has a Story.