Meet Mrs. Suffolk County, Bridget Croteau: Mother of two, Wife and Published Author!

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I have lived on Long Island my whole life; I grew up in Selden and now reside in Bay Shore, where I have lived for 9 years.

Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have 2 daughters; Natalie who is 7 and Chloe who is 5.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I love to ballroom dance!  My favorite dance is the tango!

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I want to thank my husband, Beau, for being an incredible partner and an amazing father.  Also, my parents and my mother-in-law for always being there when we need them.  I also want to thank the Postpartum Resource Center of New York for all the work they do to help families in New York, like mine.   I suffered from Postpartum Depression and anxiety after I had my girls and without their help I would not be doing as well today as I am.

Favorite things to do with your kids?
We love to snuggle and watch movies, especially Disney Princess movies!  We also love to color, do art projects, and play board games!

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am an author, my book is titled, “Me, Again: How Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Transformed My Life.”  This book discusses my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety after I had both my children and how I got through it and became “myself” again.  

I am also a volunteer for the Postpartum Resource Center of New York.  This is a fantastic organization that supports moms, dads and families throughout New York State who are going through a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, like postpartum depression.  They also do training  for healthcare providers and work to increase education and awareness.

Please share any special events you have coming up, related to your book release!
I am having a book signing at Book Revue in Huntington on February 7th at 7pm!
https://www.facebook.com/events/2171758449729989/

I will also have a table with my books and be speaking at the StrollerTraffic Live event on February 16 in Massapequa.  More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/351680985652573/

You’ve been a part of many pageants in the past, tell us more about your experiences, how you got involved and if you are going to be participating in the near future.
I am relatively new to pageants; I didn’t begin competing until 2015, but I had always wanted to!  After having my second daughter and getting through my postpartum anxiety, I decided I wanted to finally try competing in the Mrs. New York America pageant (www.mrsnyamerica.com).  I had an amazing time and have been competing ever since!

It has been an incredible experience – my director, Diane and the women who I’ve competed with are simply amazing – intelligent, beautiful and involved in their communities.  I have grown so much as a person and become much more confident in myself through these experiences. 

I use my title, Mrs. Suffolk County (https://www.facebook.com/MrsSuffolkCounty2015/), as a way to raise awareness for my platform – “You Are Not Alone.”  My goal is to help other moms, dads and families feel less alone and offer hope through sharing my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety and how I got through that difficult time. 

I will be competing again on March 30-31 in Rochester, New York for the title of Mrs. New York America! 

How has your community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I would not be where I am without my community.  While suffering with postpartum depression, I felt incredibly alone, guilty and terrible about myself.  I found hope and an amazing community through the support group I attended.  Although my oldest is now 7, I am still in contact with several of the moms from the group.  Much of my community has been very supportive of my pageant title and platform!  I have had many generous pageant sponsors, support and well wishes from so many people.

What advice do you have for new moms/parents on taking a moment to yourself? (please word this differently if you’d like)
It is incredibly important to take care of you!  I never used to take care of myself.  Before I had my daughters, I was so focused on my career and graduate school that I didn’t spend enough time with friends or doing hobbies/activities that made me feel fulfilled or to just have fun.  After I lost my career, I was left feeling like I lost myself and my identity.  I had to do a lot of self discovery to “get to know” myself again.  Now, I make sure I take time to do self care.  

I learned in my postpartum support group, that we need to “put our oxygen masks on first” before we take care of others.  If we are “empty” we can’t take care of anyone else.  It is not selfish to do some self care!  Self-care does not have to be very time consuming or expensive!

Visit Bridget’s website to learn more about her cause, and much more! And follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook!

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