Looking back. A personal look at my struggles postpartum.

It took me a long time to get to the point that I was ready to write this entry.  

The boys are now 18 months old and both are healthy and amazing.  Motherhood has been everything and nothing that I ever expected.  In the same breathe that you say a prayer of thanks for these blessings, you question how you are going to make it though the day.  Sometimes you question how you are going to make it to next feeding or nap.  The first 6 months home with the boys was more than just a transition from a family of 2 to a family of 4 it was a transition from a career to staying at home.  During the summer months, I had friends who would stop by, enjoying their Summer break from teaching.  But when the Fall rolled around, they had to go back to work and there I was with these tiny humans staring at me, sometimes screaming at me and I felt myself feeling more and more helpless.  The worst part about feeling helpless was feeling guilty about feeling helpless.  I felt all these things in the same moment and it was too much for me to process: alone, scared, frustrated, exhausted, happy, sad, confused, guilty, ashamed, denial, depression, anger, and so much more that I can’t even name.

How was it possible that I could not be overjoyed about absolutely everything I was experiencing?  Was I a terrible mother for not cherishing every moment? Now that time has passed, I can without reservation say that “No. I was not a terrible mother.  I was very tired and very busy.”  But my issues went beyond just guilt.  I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to make everything perfect for everyone; well, everyone but me.  I tried to make sure that everyone’s needs were met regardless if I had eaten or slept.  I tried to keep a perfectly clean house and cook and play hostess to all the visitors.  I tried to lose as much baby weight as fast as possible.  I felt guilty about wanting to do things for myself.  I felt guilty for wanting to just be alone for 5 minutes.  This guilt turned into a crazy anxiety that began to eat away at me.  It got to the point that I just wanted to drive away.  I wanted to be someone else.  I just couldn’t take the responsibility and I couldn’t take the pressure.  I was convinced that my babies didn’t love me and that I was doing a terrible job.  NOW – here’s where I didn’t go off the deep end entirely.  I knew that my babies didn’t hate me.  I knew that I could handle being a mom. And I knew that I wasn’t going to drive away.  What I didn’t know what how to get my emotions and anxiety in check.  Finally, I did something for myself.  I quit breastfeeding and pumping and went to the doctor.  I had been on Zoloft off and on since I was 18.  I went in and said that I needed to be put back on Zoloft because things were getting out of hand.  I needed something to level me out.  I needed my anxiety to shut up so my brain could function.  And I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty about needing or getting the help.  Now, this didn’t make my life “perfect”.  But it helps me function and a functioning mommy is what my boys really want.  

I hope this helps someone, anyone, feel better about having anxieties post baby.  Know that you are definitely not alone.  We’ve all got to stop emotionally beating ourselves up all the time and stop setting unrealistic goals of what a good life is.  You have to do what is right for you and your baby.  But please, if you need to talk to someone, don’t wait for someone to take the anxiety away, advocated for yourself.  Let’s all just be happy and healthy in the new year and enjoy the love of motherhood.