Is it wrong to feel lonely when you’ve just given birth to a tiny little human?
Is it wrong to look at your sleeping partner while you’re consoling your upset infant that, if not for your nudge, would not have even known the baby was awake at all?
Is it wrong to resent those around you that can sleep, even when the baby is asleep, because you sit there and worry about him even when he’s fine?
Is it wrong to feel alone even when those around you are doing all that they can?
We don’t talk about postpartum depression or anxiety much in the United States. Sure, there are plenty of celebrities now that are advocating it on websites and news articles, but what about mothers who don’t make millions of dollars making movies? What about mothers who live average every day lives that don’t see the spotlight? The mothers who just try to make it day by day.
When I first brought Luca home I panicked. He didn’t sleep (like the lie I was told that all newborns do), he couldn’t be consoled, and all he wanted was to be latched on to my pained boobs all day long. No one told me that it would be possible to look at my child and ask myself what had I been thinking? Or to lash out at those around me because I was dealing with anger within myself for even thinking that thought. Or that just because I could cry from pure adoration from my new blessing, I could still also cry from pure fear and momentary regret for my new responsibility. We just don’t talk about it.
Mothering has become this competition that I was unaware I’d signed up. Natural birth vs C-section. Home vs hospital. Breastfed vs formula fed. Cloth diapers vs disposable. And you know what? EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. Join one mom group and I assure you there will be a mother that thinks she is doing everything 100% perfect and hers is the best method so everyone should follow suit. But mothering isn’t perfect. Raising a baby isn’t perfect. If it was we would have nothing to learn from , and therefore make better. There is a reason they say the first baby is your guinea pig.
However, I digress. Postpartum depression and anxiety are real and we need to stop treating them like they are a failure on the mother. It is a literal chemical imbalance taking place within her brain due to a lack in progesterone. (I learned that from a lovely college class called Reproductive Physiology. My favorite class at UCONN- so hello Dr.Milvae who I hope never reads my blog…..again digression). Moms it’s okay to be afraid and it’s okay to wonder if you’re doing the right thing. It’s not okay to ignore how you feel.
We need to stop treating postpartum depression like the plague, and we need to stop treating moms like they’re bad parents because they get it. Raising a newborn is hard. They don’t sleep, they want to constantly eat, and though they will bring the greatest joy in the world they will also turn your life upside down in ways you could never imagine. I love my beautiful boy, and i would go through my tough pregnancy all over again in a heartbeat, but I’d be lying if I said I’m okay every day. Some days I want to crawl into a hole. Some days I want to yell at everyone around me because I’m tired and jealous that they can sleep when I cannot. Some days I want to throw my computer out the window if I see one more article on SIDS that gives more anxiety to someone who already has it. AND THATS OKAY.
It’s okay because these days are minimal compared to the days I watch my baby smile. They’re minimal compared to the days I’m filled to the brim with love and adoration for my small creation. They’re minimal compared to the days where I gush when someone in the supermarket or the park tells me how gorgeous he is and I feel like the proudest woman in the world. And they’re minimal compared to the days where I thank god that he entrusted me with my son, because he’s saved me in more ways than I can count.
So, again I say, it is okay to feel like you just need a break. It’s okay to feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. It’s okay to want to go back to your old life sometimes. And it’s okay to feel lonely even when you’re not. What’s not okay is ignoring these feelings.
You’re not a failure.
You’re not a bad mom.
We love these babies so much that sometimes we forget that to be the best moms we must also love ourselves.
Love yourself today, and every day there after.