Being a mother; father; parent; caregiver blows sometimes.
This might peeve some parents, or non-parents, out there… hear me out. I have some truth to speak.
When I gave birth to Ethan in the living room of our home (which was not a popular decision with most of my family) I thought I was doing everything right. I thought: I totally got this. Wrong. I didn’t have it. Soon after giving birth (10/10 would recommend- that was the easy part) I realized that taking care of another human being is effing hard and sometimes it SUCKS. Big ones.
Having to give yourself over to another human being in every single way is exhausting. I still remember feeling like all I did was breastfeed all day. And… friends stop calling. People start thinking you’re too busy to have an adult conversation every now and again… or something. I’ve heard the same story from so many mamas. It’s just something that happens. I guarantee I didn’t call either. I believe what happens is that as new mamas, we focus so hard on our child that we lose focus on friends/family. So, we have this expectation that those friends/family should be calling us. Which is unfair, but the honest truth (and would be totally helpful if you did). What this did for me was send me into a huge spiral of depression. That and, I mean, my kid wouldn’t stop crying!
I remember wanting to pull my hair out. I was home alone all the time. Most days I had no one (until Nate came home from work and by then he’s pretty toast, too). I felt lonely all the time. I literally thought, if I throw him into traffic he will stop crying! My God! Who thinks that way?! A depressed, exhausted new mama is who. I’m not saying it’s right, but it makes sense why folks shake their babies. It’s freakin’ frustrating. You do everything in your power to help the crying child- but nothing seems to work. I can’t say how many times I just had to sit him down and walk away…and cry, a lot. That and I resorted to self-harm.
I wish I would have gotten help when I realized I had postpartum depression. Instead I felt like I didn’t have time to take care of me, and I thought getting help meant I was weak or less than. Which is far beyond the truth.
If you are struggling or know of a mama who is. Or perhaps you’re a father, grandmother/father, aunt, uncle, etc. Perhaps you’re not involved in raising a child but the struggle is real. Reach out. Please. Get the help you DESERVE. If you’re not taking care of you, it’s gonna be super hard to take care of your little one. Believe me, I’m a prime example. I’ve provided a few links and phone numbers you could call that are local to me, as well as some 1-800 numbers that I hope will help if you’re no where near me.
Psychology Today (This goes straight to counselors near Muskegon- you can search your location using your city or zip code.)
Postpartum Depression Help
Better Help– this is wonderful for those of us that hate to leave the house due to depression.
Mercy Health Life Counseling (Muskegon) 231.726.3582
Behavioral Health -Mercy Health (Muskegon/Grand Rapids)- under ‘location’ there is access to hundreds of different places to get help.
PSI- Postpartum Support International 1.800.944.4773
SAMHSA’s National Helpline (US) – 1.800.622.HELP (4357)
Fast forward five years. I’m currently a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). This is pretty alright when my son is in school. The summer gets pretty exhausting- we tend to get on each other’s nerves after a while.
I’m not dealing with the same depression now, which I am hella grateful for. (Yay for a doctor who listens!) Now my issues with motherhood are completely different:
…I just don’t wanna mom.
…I don’t want to be called mom.
…I don’t want to be touched.
…I don’t want to be asked a million questions.
…I don’t feel like being bothered.
…I want to be able to take a sh** in peace.
…I don’t want to hear “can I have a snack” six thousand times, just for me to say, “…but DID you eat your CARROTS!?”
After becoming ‘mom’ there’s a part of me that got lost in the sauce so to speak. Almost like losing a piece of my identity. Because, of course, now I’m MOM. What else is there now?! So, THAT part sucks. Blows. All the gross euphemisms! It’s kinda a vicious cycle. What I’ve learned while going through motherhood is to take everything in stride, get the help I’m after, and (for the love of God!) take time out. A major suggestion I have for mamas is to make sure that you AND your partner (if you have one) get one night off per week. Nate and I have been doing this for years and it’s SO beneficial to our mental health. SELF-CARE IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE!
I wouldn’t change the suck for anything. I have zero regrets being a mother. There’s nothing like getting cuddles. Nothing like the first word, the first walk, the first smile. There’s nothing like waking up to rubbins on my face and an ‘I love you, mama’. Nothing compares to the sweet things my son says, like, “Mom, I love you more than the moon loves you.” Nothing feels cooler than watching my son pick up some coupons an elderly woman dropped at the store and hand them to her. Nothing compares to watching my son learn how to read, write, and play kindly with other children. Nothing will ever compare to the first moment I held him in my arms and said, “Oh my God, Baby, it’s Ethan!” (See First Family Photo above.)
Ethan is worth the heartache I go through at times. He’s worth the lost friendships (and the friends/family I don’t get to see often). My son is worth more to me than all the suck that happens just because I gained the new title of ‘mom’.
Ethan has helped me in ways I didn’t know I needed help. He’s made me so much more patient.(As a self-proclaimed non-patient person that’s pretty incredible.) He’s helped me become a teacher, a leader. He’s helped me realize what I am worth. He helps drive my purpose. I know a lot of moms say it, but my kid really is the grooviest. There’s no one quite like him. He makes me proud to be his mama.
Something I’m learning to do everyday is try to change the narrative. In my post Finding What Matters I talked about that negative narrative that can plague our minds. That negative self-talk. Well, that goes for thoughts about motherhood as well. So…
I CHOOSE to be a mom.
Ethan says my name a million times a day because he loves me.
I love that Ethan is so touchy-feely. I love how he expresses his love.
I’m being bothered because Ethan feels like he is in need of something.
I’m grateful that my son ASKS me for what he wants instead of just taking it.
…I still want to be able to take a sh** in peace. haha!
So yeah, being a mom blows sometimes… but I wouldn’t give it up. Not for anything.
*Featured image photo cred: Kat Jayne – Pexel