Reality TV star Melissa Rycroft has been a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, a headline-making contestant on “The Bachelor,” and a winner of “Dancing With the Stars.” But now she’s entered a new phase of her life as a wife and mother after marrying her longtime boyfriend Tye Strickland and having a beautiful baby girl.
Rycroft has faced several challenges in her new role as mother that probably make some of the dance moves she’s had to master seem much easier to her now. In the little more than two years since young Ava was born, Rycroft has battled postpartum depression, learned to manage colic, and dealt with the disappointment of being unable to breastfeed because of previous breast reduction surgery.
“You can’t plan for too much,” Rycroft says she now understands of motherhood. “You can’t be on top of everything.”
“I just knew something wasn’t right,” she tells Newsmax Health. “I didn’t feel like me. I couldn’t find my happy place. It felt like there was a kind of dark cloud over my head and I couldn’t get rid of it, and that’s very unlike who I am as a person. And so once I kind of came to terms with that I knew I had to do something about it.”
Talk therapy helped her find the light again, but like many people who have experienced depression once, she knows it can return.
“I talked with a counselor about it, I talked to my husband and my friends, and just kind of worked through it,” she says. “Two years later I can confidently say I’m good and I’m back to the old me. But it did scare me that it could come back. It’s in the family.”
Struggling with Ava’s colic during her early months of life compounded things, but Rycroft, Strickland — and their baby daughter — hung tough.
“It was brutal for all parties involved,” Rycroft recalls. “She was just as miserable as we were sitting there having to hear it, and it lasted probably six months. And then she had reflux that lasted about eight months. So we had a rough go at first, but we’re making up for it now because she is the best thing, the best thing in the world.”
These days, Rycroft’s challenges with Ava are a little easier, like catching the toddler to apply the all-important sunscreen at the beach.
“It’s so much easier to chase after her with the spray bottle,” she says. “I gave up with the lotion a long time ago.”
When asked what advice she has for other new parents, Rycroft offers: “Keep your priorities straight, find a balance that works with your family, and enjoy the ride.”
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