I’m Not a Bad Mom But…
Today I feel like one. Some days I have it together, but some days I feel like I’m falling apart. I always try to be as open and honest as possible in this little space, but there are times where I’m too afraid even to write out how I’m feeling and how my brain works in fear of people thinking I’m crazy. This is one of the main reasons I haven’t been entirely open with my postpartum depression story. However, I’ve learned over the past few months that I’m not crazy, everyone has similar thoughts and feelings, but some of us let them go, some of us keep them bottled up, and some immediately react.
It’s hard to explain, really, but I’m going to try my best. I have always been very emotionally reactive while Adam is the king of letting things roll off. I am a very passionate person and tend to be quick to anger, especially when I’m stressed, which then turns into a fight or flight response and naturally fight is where I end up when I’m already in the pits.
I start to tell myself things like I’m not a good mother, Adam and Leo don’t need me, I’m never going to amount to anything, I’m a failure, and I don’t deserve to be loved. This seems extreme, but it’s very far from it. When I’m low place, I battle with choosing joy, and it becomes terrifying and isolating.
During the many months I struggled with postpartum depression it took every ounce of me to muster up a smile, and most of the time it was behind a waterfall of tears. I didn’t want Leo to see me so upset because I didn’t want him ever to think it was his fault. So I would take it out on myself and fuel my mind with these thoughts, spiraling even deeper. It took me a full year to come up from feeling like I was drowning, and almost a full year where I suffered silently because I felt ashamed. I would throw out hints here or there or make jokes about the state of my mental health but internally I was screaming for help; however, externally you would never know.
For practically my whole life I’ve been great at masking my feelings and essentially running away from pain. I got good at making my life, and any situation that sucked, into a light-hearted situation or I would joke about it. I even did this when I was in labor with Leo. I was cracking jokes because I was so scared and was in so much pain and that was the only way I knew how to cope.
I didn’t realize the state of my mind until I started getting acupuncture done and that’s when I realized I had A LOT to process. While I’m getting acupuncture, I can’t look at my phone and if I move my entire body would goes stiff (hello needles). I’m forced to be alone in my thoughts, which was something I refused to do for 26 years. I’ve been going to get acupuncture done for almost four years now. And let me tell you, the amount of releasing I’ve done in the past four years is incredible and only scratches the surface.
Honestly, I don’t even know where I’m going with this, but I’ve been struggling a lot lately. I think a lot of it has to do with a) my health b) my perspective of myself, where I think I should be and what I think I should be doing. I’m trying to work through and process it all and just when I’m grasping my best self — something happens, and I relapse. This cycle has been vicious for what feels like an eternity.
It’s taken me years to finally pinpoint what could be causing all of these health issues, and it’s mainly because I did my research and I stopped letting doctors treat me like I didn’t know what I was talking about because I wasn’t a doctor. Go figure.
The weight of my health alone has been crippling. Pair that with anxiety (which I’ve mentioned isn’t your typical anxiety) and depression (both caused by my health issues) has just been too much. One day I’m all smiles and the next I can barely get out of bed because the pain is so severe.
And, to top it all off, I start to think about how badly I want another baby and how my body just is refusing…again. I try to tell myself that the timing isn’t right, it’s God’s timing, and remind myself of how long we had to wait for Leo. He’s such a miracle. In my birth story, I scratch the surface of our journey to get pregnant. But now here I am back at square one, trying to navigate and wrap my head (and heart) around the current state of my health. I can barely talk about my health and what all is going because all I want to do is weep because it’s too much for me to handle. And while running from pain is how I cope, getting angry (when I’m stressed) is how I let people know I’m scared and need help. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but when I’m the most upset and angry about something that’s when I need someone there to help me and just sit with me the most.
And to bring this all back to why I feel like a bad mom, it’s because of this cycle. I know Leo observes everything and is soaking it all in. He sees me when I’m running around like a goof, blaring music, dancing, and being silly. He sees me when I’m all lovey dovey with Adam, making dinner, laughing, and playing games. He also sees me when I can barely play because my body hurts so bad. He sees me when I’m too stressed to be present, when I get mad that he refuses to go to bed or nap… or when he’s throwing a fit. He sees me when I’m so scared and upset about all my anxieties that I take it out on Adam by breaking down and getting so upset about how everything is going wrong and falling apart or talking about all these anxiety-driven scenarios of things that might* happen (but most likely never will).
He sees it all, he can feel it all, and it breaks my heart.
I know I’m not a bad mother but some days I know I’m not giving it my all because I’m too worried or too focused on other things.
I only wanted to share this because I know I’m not the only one and to whoever is struggling know I’m right there with you. I have no answers because I haven’t mastered the healing process, but I’ll get there, and I am making great strides.
You’re not alone on this journey. Every day is new, every day comes with ups and downs, and every day should be approached just as it is: one day.
No need to worry about the next day or next week, focus on where you are right now, at this moment and breathe. Let the weight of everything go. You don’t need to focus on that. I say this to you as I’m telling myself this.
My mentor told me this recently when I was in a tight spot: “Just focus on being a good mother and everything will fall into place.” When I do that, magical things happen, like I’m happier and more myself. When I don’t do that and instead focus on the stresses (that mostly mean nothing), that’s when the shit hits the fan and negativity takes over and becomes overwhelming. So I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s all focus on being a good mother and taking great care of our babies, raising them together. We all know it takes a village.