When the diner in the episode of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” said, “Being a mom is hard,” I’m willing to bet that any and every mom who was watching yelled, “Amen” at the television screen. The whole segment about Postpartum Depression/Anxiety was so touching.
It’s interesting: 5 years into motherhood, I still find myself sometimes wondering, “Did I experience that?” Lebrean says yes, my mom says yes, so I’m thinking I likely did. But I believe I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety more than depression, and I believe that even more after my recent diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
I was terrified of leaving Davis alone. Most moms can relate, but my fear was amplified by a very traumatic event. Just days before Davis was born, Lebrean’s then business associates lost their 3-month old baby suddenly. As a matter of fact, Lebrean is in a suit in our pics the day we left the hospital, because he’d just come from the funeral. So needless to say, my anxiety was through the roof.
I remember crying at the dinner table the evening we got home, because he wanted to leave Davis asleep in the swing in the great room while the rest of us (my mom, dad, and aunt) ate at the table, instead of moving the swing right next to me at the table. He lost that battle.
When Davis outgrew the bassinet in our room, I slept on an air mattress next to his crib; I don’t even remember how long I did that. He’s never been a great sleeper, so I was always exhausted. But one of the things I remember most is being home with him day after day for more than a year, and getting absolutely NOTHING done! And it was because I was too afraid to start anything. I knew I would be interrupted by crying, needing to nurse, needing to pump, needing to change a diaper, the list goes on. So instead of even dealing with that frustration, I wouldn’t even start. The anxiety around the idea of not finishing was truly paralyzing for me.
I eventually felt comfortable with sending Davis to daycare for two or three days a week (only because my aunt owns the preschool), and those were the days I committed to getting things done. Not everyone is that fortunate. All of our lives are so different, but finding something that works for you is so crucial. Motherhood IS hard, and it’s ok to admit that. We have to normalize talking about that and reaching out. SO much of what was said during this program resonated with me:
I feel so alone.
This is so hard.
Everyone else knows what they’re doing, and I don’t.
Is that what this is supposed to feel like? [complete bliss]
What did your first year or two as a new mom look like?