Lately, life has not been going according to plan.
You’d think by now I’d understand that no matter how much I try, I truly have no control over the twists and turns that life likes to throw, but it is apparent that I am not yet comprehending this fact.
Lately I’ve been feeling so lost and alone. It’s not that I’m actually alone. On the contrary, I have a tremendous amount of support through my family and friends, but this sadly changes nothing of the feelings I have been harboring lately.
I just wish that somehow my mind would let me breathe instead of keeping me chained in thoughts I have no control over.
I’ve been dealing with a form of Postpartum Depression/ Anxiety. Something, again, I have no control over even if some believe I do. I hear things such as “Look at your baby, how could you ever be upset while looking at him?” “You have so much to be happy with why aren’t you?” Ignorance must truly be blissful.
Postpartum depression is not a simple fix that you can make in a split second. If it were so I would not be feeling the way that I do. Another fact, postpartum depression/anxiety is not just being insane and wanting to shake your baby until he stops crying, or worse. Postpartum depression has many forms and there are varying degrees of the way these feelings take hold. Please understand that.
I look at my son on so many occasions and cry from the overflowing amount of love I have for him. I also, maybe even in a span of ten minutes later, look at my life and feel like a gorilla being mocked in a cage at the zoo. I feel trapped and it makes me feel like I’m going insane. It makes me feel crazy, pained, guilty and betrayed. I love being his mommy and I’d change none of this, but I wish that these feelings weren’t there.
I look at this beautiful child that I wanted for so long, fought for for so long, and feel like a heartless person for ever feeling this way.
You see, lately, I just feel so overwhelmed. No one explains to you the flood of emotions you get when becoming a parent. No one truly depicts the amount of worry you will now feel for your new tiny responsibility. Commercials and television shows will show you these births and then the first moment you hold your new blessing. The mom is filled with joy and adoration, and you think wow this must complete her in more ways than one. And you most definitely would be correct. But what you do not see is what happens when the mother comes home with her new blessing with no nurses, no more 24/7 staff, just her, the father, and the baby.
You walked out of the house two and walked back in three.
I began therapy again today after taking a few year hiatus. I spoke about the ways I have been feeling lately and the massive amounts of guilt I have for feeling this way. I think I repeated “I love my son more than anything, but..” As if I had to justify to this stranger that I did in fact love my baby boy despite the feelings I was sharing. Did I need to justify my love for my son? No. Did I feel that I needed to? Most definitely. I needed her to know that even if I have these moments of pain, anxiety, and fear I do in fact love the human that I have brought into this world.
We as mothers are portrayed as these strong people that can never falter, but truly we are all just human beings trying to figure it all out with no manual. There is, and I repeat, THERE IS NO PERFECT WAY TO BE A MOTHER. We are allowed to feel the way that we feel. We are allowed to parent the way that we see fit. We are allowed to falter.
I have to remind myself of this often. On nights when my son won’t sleep. During periods when he won’t stop crying. The times I ask my fiancé to take him so I can manage a 20 minute nap. We are allowed to feel scared, alone, and anxious. We are allowed to ask for help. We are allowed to have the knowledge that we cannot do everything. We are allowed to not be perfect.
My therapist told me today that we’d be working with a bowl full of marbles as an analogy of my mind at the moment. The bowl was me and the marbles were the problems that made up my issues. She said, “I am going to be straightforward with you through this process. There will be days when I tell you that this marble does not belong in your bowl, but your mothers, your fathers, your finance’s. You have enough in your bowl.” Was it wrong for me to doubt this?
I have spent so much of my life taking on other people’s problems that I have never believed my bowl could ever be full. When I became a mother I swore I didn’t want people to help me. I could do this, I could be the mother that some had doubted me to be. I would prove them wrong. That statement right there is the problem. “I would prove them wrong.” Why? Why did I need to prove anyone wrong? Why did I, someone who held so much strength and perseverance, need to prove the negative nannies wrong? Why did I need to justify anyone’s doubts in myself when I knew, deep in the back of my mind, that I could be an excellent mother, student, and anything else I chose to venture on?
I have been conditioned to being doubted. I have been conditioned to fight people’s doubts. I need to stop.
I realized if I had learned to let this go even a month ago I could have spoken to someone earlier. I could have let someone help me weeks ago. I could have caught how bad I had allowed myself to get.
But I needed to be this image of the perfect parent. I needed to be the young mother who could do it all by herself. I needed to be someone who did not exist.
People believed that because I was young I would fail as a parent. That my son would not have everything he needed in life to thrive. He was born with more gear than I myself have and by four months has more than doubled his weight. He has gone through medical issues and we have handled them to the best of our abilities- taking him to the doctors he has needed to go to and making sure he was taken care of. We have persevered, and honestly I believe we have done quite well. He is fed. He is clean. He is happy. And most of all he is loved.
So why did I still need to fight so hard to prove those who doubted us wrong?
I don’t know
But today I stopped. Today I took 45 minutes to speak to someone about my health. Today I gave my son the biggest blessing. Today I made sure his mommy can fully enjoy the rest of his first year.
My son is my biggest blessing. For being only 3.5 months old he has taught me more about self-love and acceptance than I have learned in my almost 22 years of living. My aunt once told me he was so lucky to have me as his mother, but truth is I’m tremendously blessed to have this beautiful boy as my son. Luca you give me the strength to fight through the unknown everyday. I do this all for you.
Momma’s we need to start giving each other a break. We need to understand that just because one mom does something different from you, this makes you no better than she is. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, cosleep, crib sleep, natural diapers, disposable, etc. We are no better than one another. One kid, two kids, three kids, more…we are all still learning something new every single day. We are not experts. Every child and every parent are different. We need to start uplifting one another instead of shaming one another. We are all just trying to produce good human beings and make it to the other side.
We just want them to be happy and loved.
I just want them to be happy and loved.
Today I’ve chosen to focus on making sure he’s happy and loved.