CINCINNATI (July 27, 2022) — When Alexia Johnson became a mother for the first time in 2014, she felt little joy.
“It was like I was living in a fog,” she says. “I always felt like I was doing something wrong. I would cry for no reason. Come to find out, it was due to post-partum depression.”
Alexia’s struggles with depression – as well as lack of confidence and low self-esteem – continued after she and her husband had another baby in 2016. She reached a breaking point in 2018 after the arrival of their third child.
“I just remember feeling hopeless, feeling not good enough, and feeling small. And feeling like my family would be better off without me,” she says.
“(But) something else spoke to me – you can do this; you just need some help.” She saw a therapist who introduced her to meditation and suggested she join support groups. “I saw I am not the only one. There are a lot of women struggling with post-partum depression, anxiety, (thoughts of) suicide, and feeling like no one understands.”
When Alexia learned she was pregnant with her fourth child early in 2019, she was better equipped to avoid a downward emotional spiral. But her family faced other challenges. “There were periods where we were unsure how we were going to pay all our bills,” she says.
“I started blogging, because I needed an outlet and I needed a source of income. I decided to blog about the struggles of being a mom with depression.” She also took steps to become a certified life coach.
Her husband urged her to turn those pursuits into a viable business, but she needed help. She connected with a United Way-funded partner, Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative, which supports entrepreneurship among people with low and moderate incomes. GCMI’s mission dovetails with United Way’s goal of building family economic well-being.
Initially, Alexia was terrified by the thought of starting a business. “I wasn’t sure I could do it. Fear of failure was a big thing holding me back from a lot of things I wanted in life.”
GCMI instilled in Alexia the mindset of an entrepreneur, assisted her in developing a business plan and helped her fine-tune her mission statement: “I help overwhelmed moms who are struggling with post-partum depression learn to prioritize self-care so they can balance motherhood with self-love.”
Her business, Confident Silhouette (www.beuconfidently.com), launched this year. Alexia offers one-on-one and group coaching, and leads support groups that focus on meditation and journaling. She also designed and created a self-care planner for mothers. The first batch of planners sold out within a week.
“It reassured me that I was on the right path,” she says.
As Alexia grows her business, she no longer is held back by fear of failure. “You don’t fail,” she says. “You either win or you learn.”
She hopes her children learn from her example. “I want to show them that you can still achieve your dream and go for whatever it is you want. You just got to figure out how to get there. There are people and organizations willing to help. You just have to be willing to put in the work.
“I made the decision to equip myself with as much knowledge as possible so I could create a sustainable and viable business that could take care of my family. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of United Way funding this (training) program so that a low-income person like me could afford to go through it.
“It’s allowing people like me to create a different path in life.”
United Way funding helps craft training programs that teach new skills to put families on the path to financial independence and create stability in their lives.