I was sailing through this motherhood thing. I had a boy and then a girl 15 months later. I loved staying at home with them. Sure, there were bad days, but I really loved being a mom.
I have always enjoyed babies and children and felt that I was made for this. So when I brought home my beautiful baby number three, I couldn’t figure out why I could not stop crying.
I felt heavy. I could not breathe. I felt inadequate. I was tired. I could not make everyone happy. Everything seemed hard and overwhelming. I was not happy, and I felt very sad…I had difficulty even describing it.
Mostly I was ashamed and disappointed in myself because I was sad and yet confused about why I was sad. I had a healthy baby girl who completed our family and that I loved! I was blessed, and I knew it. SO WHY? WHY could I not pull it together? WHY was this so different from my first two? What was WRONG with me?
Hormones are a crazy thing, and they can control our mind! I respect mental illness and depression. I understand feeling helpless and hopeless. My best friend would just cry with me. She was worried and honestly it felt good because I was worried too. It was comforting to know she loved me for the mess that I was, and I believed her when she said I would be okay. She was the only person that I felt I could really share my emotions with. I did not want anyone to know. Why was I so ashamed?
I would have really good days and really bad days. It was a roller coaster, and the smallest thing could send me sailing down the big hill. I remember feeling like I was watching one of those buckets at a splash park filling up with water, and then that one drop would spill the bucket. When my bucket would spill over, I would cry and cry and cry. It was such an unstable, vulnerable and difficult time. Looking back on it, I wish I had done some things differently.
A Few Things to Think About….
- Get help! Help with anything to lighten the load. I should have carpooled. I should have had a maid. I should have had more babysitters. I was drowning and needed to ask for help! I am not sure if it was pride or that I did not have the resources or that I did not want to be around anyone. People offered and I would say no, BIG MISTAKE. I should have said yes!
- Have a check in person. My best friend and I talk every morning. This is good because she knew I was not well. There were days that I would not answer the phone, and she would not give up calling and just show up at my door. That was a good thing. Even though I thought I wanted to be alone, I needed to be with people who loved me. I am so happy that I was open with her. I should have been open and honest with more people close to me.
- Be surrounded with positive people. Focus on top priorities and top people without feeling bad. Don’t work on anything or anyone else. I volunteer at my kid’s school and had to start saying no, and that felt good. I could not solve anyone else’s problems or be around much drama. I needed to be selfish and be okay with it. This was hard for me but a great lesson in the end!
- Don’t overanalyze! I was stressing out about everyone in my family not getting enough of me or my husband or fun or outings….STOP the craziness! Know that this is a transition time, and everyone will adjust and be fine.
- LISTEN TO THE BODY! Sleep deprivation does some crazy things. Add to that a baby that cries a lot, being in the car a ton picking up the other kids, and a packed schedule. My nerves were frayed. SLEEP whenever and SAY NO more often.
- Take time to exercise! Getting back into some sort of cardio clears the head. Even a walk around the block can make a huge difference. This is something I missed and yet did not make time to do, and I should have. The fresh air and time alone is so therapeutic. When I finally started running again was when things started getting better for me.
- Talk to the Doc. Be honest and not ashamed. It is very real and very okay. Every morning I would wake up and think, this is it, I am going to stop feeling like this today. Unfortunately, it was not that easy. I was so embarrassed to admit how I was feeling and felt so weak. Doctors have many options and can help figure out what is right for you. I waited way too long to do this!
- Love yourself. I was so hard on myself. Loving yourself is easier said than done because it is hard to control thoughts. I am normally a very positive person but would find myself thinking that everything bad was happening to me. I could not see the half full in anything. I would become more disappointed in myself because of how I was thinking. A vicious cycle.
- Just know it will be okay. I wish I could have reassured myself that this was nothing I chose or could control. That it had nothing to do with how weak or strong I was. That it was not about how much I loved my baby. And that I would feel this way for about six months, not forever!
My sweet baby is now almost three-years-old. She completes our wonderful family and brings me such joy and happiness! This was a short time in my life of 40 years, but one I will not ever forget. I learned so much about myself and believe that everything happens for a reason. I thought I had it all figured out and I now I know… I don’t have it figured out at all and that is refreshing.
Who wants to have it all figured out anyway?