I’m pretty psyched to say I’ve gained a few new readers over the past month and connected with some pretty awesome bloggy friends. I’m sure it has something to do with throwing my guard down, realizing it’s ok to write what the hell it is I really want to write and some good old fashion practice at crafting my words.
So I invite you to take a quick glimpse at my renovated “about” page I’ve linked below. Maybe even check out one of my posts from the beginning that got lost in my Word Press ignorance.
Does every Mom have this look? Are we destined to make our eyes slightly bulge, tighten every inch of our facial skin and strike a tone with our eyes that put the fear of God in our children??
I know women growing up that had that look. I have come to put my own flavor on it as a Momma now myself.
My Aunt Linda had the quaint essential “look”. She kind of owned it. Aunt Linda very rarely raised her voice. She wasn’t one for doing a lot of hollering at us kids. But God help your ass if you struck a naughty note on her pretty proper handle on things. The “look” was simply enough. And if it wasn’t, the sound of her shouting your full name would take you down.
My one year old will instantly turn to little boy mush and look at the floor when he gets the look. My sassy four year old will either challenge it with one of her own or she will instantly find an excuse as to why she doesn’t deserve it in the first place. Oh man I love her. My husband will no doubt give me the “WHAT??” or a don’t give me that look. Even the dogs ususally drop where they are when they get it.
What is it about the look that makes it quite possibly the most affective Mommy tool available? Is it that those on the receiving end are questioning whether or not you’re about to lose your shit and they immediately panic?? It’s powerful enough to make you regret doing whatever it is that you just did with or without any idea of what that may be.
I’d dare say the “look” is even more lethal in public. If I have to repeat myself enough to get to the point of no words …and just the look…you better check yourself child! My kids know it too. It seriously makes me laugh when I think about it right now.
So do share. Tell me, do you have the “look”? Is it inherited? Do your children almost shit their pants when they get it???
It was early December, last year, that I lost my mind and resigned from my job, jumping blindly in to a gig that has consumed me, taught me, challenged me, permitted me and in a way saved me. It wasn’t the wrong path I was headed down, just a path fueled by the wrong part of my body – my brain. Stepping out of the working world and in to a world that revolves around raising my children has taught my brain to co-exist with my heart. Life has started to raise me.
My daughter is a very inquisitive and compassionate four year old and is starting to notice how many layers there are to life. She is starting to dabble in the grey. It’s a beautiful and frightening thing to witness. The mere minutes it takes to sit down and have a conversation with her about whatever is tugging at her brain that moment is what I have come to understand is the good stuff. Checking stuff off my lists may ease my anxiety but it doesn’t fill my heart. Those conversations have become my reality check lists.
My little guy is working his way towards figuring out the basics. His curiosity and determined personality keeps him exploring and moving most of the day now. I’ve learned to never trust that a quiet one year old is a safe, behaving child. At his quietest moments, my little guy has been found sitting under an entire bag of opened sugar, sharing a jar of peanut butter with the dog, tasting chap stick, snacking on dog food, testing gravity at the top of the stairs, challenging death with a sharp object in his mouth, filling the toilet bowl with toys and that was just last week. Silence is the enemy unless they are sleeping.
I’m so blessed, however, to have a Momma’s boy that at random times just wants to sit on my lap and lie his head on my chest. Maybe he’ll look at me and start singing a song or have a discussion in that incredibly adorable, foreign language that only toddlers speak. Those sweet, quiet, still moments were forced on me. I had to learn to just STOP and have them. Those moments when I’m snuggling with my kids has taught me that God is love. It’s the first time in my life I have ever been able to define God in any way.
Nap time has become sacred time. Especially since I started writing. It’s the only time in the day I get to turn everything off – my listening ears, my kissing boo boo lips, my hands that seem to always be sanitizing or holding something, my I see everything eyes including the moments of which I wish I didn’t, my poopy diaper detector a.k.a. my nose and my mouth that just tries to keep up with questions and never ending “NO’s”. Chores will still be there but my string of sanity may not if I don’t put myself first at some point in the day.
I’ve learned to let go in the realm of hard times. In every avenue of my life this past year, as a woman, wife and Mom, I have come out wiser on the other side of a struggle. Financial hardship has forced me to pay more attention to what I have and make the best of it. I have had to better understand the difference between a want and a need. I’ve learned to trade convenience for creativity. I’ve learned to build more on the basics. I’ve grown to appreciate the things that take more time instead of speed up the process of living.
I have recognized that I do have the ability to play and laugh like a child. In my adult life, that has been absent until now. Being in the trenches of stay at home Mom-ville lends itself to self reflection. It has put forth opportunities to forgive my flaws and grow in areas I didn’t know needed attention. This past year, because of all that has challenged me, I am more confident in my own skin.
I wish I had an end of the year performance review coming up to be nervous about. A stamp of approval with a visual list of things to work on is not something that comes with this job. However, as this year comes to an end, my two new bosses seem to be pretty happy with my performance. And NOTHING beats that!
Life seems to have my kind of sense of humor. Dry with a hint of irony. The witty or simple things will make me laugh harder than a grandiose joke. Well life’s a bitch today and I’m hoping hindsight will offer humor.
I now have a constant pain in my ass both figuratively (I have a husband, two kids and two dogs – take your pick) and physically. I, at the ripe age of 32, have arthritis in my right hip. It feels like a punching pain right where my leg meets my butt everytime I move. Taken out of context, my compensating movements must seem rather odd and somewhat comical at times. Today, for some reason, this pain started kicking my ass as soon as my eyes opened. Pun intended.
All I wanted was a cup of coffee this morning…that’s all. Aparently pumping it in intravenously is frowned upon so ok, just give me a big cup. Here’s the thing, the big, nice mugs I like to inhale my coffee from were all in the dishwasher. No big deal becaue I ran it last night before going to bed. Go me. Why then is every single mug I’m pulling out dirty? Ok maybe I didn’t run it last night, maybe that was one of those “don’t forget to do xyz” moments and my brain convinced my body I already did it. That happens all the time so whatever I just thought, I’ll run it now. Well guess what. My dishwasher shit the bed. Yep – here it sits fully loaded and full of water that will not wash, rinse or drain. She’s gone. All I can think about is how bad washing all those damn dishes is going to suck with hands that are already dry and cracked up. Kind of like me since entering my 30’s and becoming a Mom.
So, I settle on a mediocre not-my-first-pick-but-at least-it’s-clean coffee cup and decide to wash the dishes later this afternoon. Now I have to get my little guy who is sick for the second time this month with a nasty case of boogeritis down for his morning nap. Ha! He would have no part of it. He laughed and cried and played and hollered “Mooooooommmmaaaaaaaaa” until I gave in and got his oh so gratified little butt up. The rest of the day should go fabulous. I have plans to visit with a friend later that I am really looking forward to seeing so of course he would pick today, when he is already sleep deprived and somewhat sick, not to nap.
Well he turned out to be surpriseingly pleasant for that moment so I attempted to jump on the computer for a minute. Oh wait, that would involve having a computer that takes less than half an hour to turn on or perhaps doesn’t mysteriously type letters on its own that I’m positive are trying to tell me some sort of doom is pending. The mouse pad on this laptop is psychotically sensitive. If my hand even hovers over it, it moves my cursor from where it was to the middle of the wrong paragraph. It’s seriously enough to make me want to start drinking before at noon. I wouldn’t say this is “ha ha” funny but isn’t it funny that of all times in my life, now would be the time I own a possessed, ticking time bomb of a laptop. If I don’t laugh I’ll cry I swear.
Ok well the little guy was still occupying his time with some “new” toys my husband so awesomely reminded me we stored in the basement from our first child so I decide to call someone I can cry about my first world problems to that will “get it” and not think I’m a miserable, ungrateful woman. As fate would have it, I get maybe a paragraphs worth of bitching out of my mouth and little guy goes off. This was a level of drama that couldn’t be talked over. Wouldn’t you know the minute I hit the button to end my unfinished conversation, that adorable little shit smiled and the tears just instantly stopped. And the Oscar goes to….
So now I have 20 minutes before I have to leave to get my daughter from school. I decide I better put a belt on or my jeans may fall of my stressed induced skinny ass. As I’m sliding the leather in to the last loop, the buckle falls off. It just freakin’ fell off. I can’t figure out how that happened and I’m running too low on time to figure out a back up plan because this is the only belt I own. I just decided to risk mooning the other Mom’s at pre K pick up and jetted downstairs.
It’s “make you run like a fool” cold outside so I load the woodstove up because we’ll be gone for a few hours. Remember I had plans today to converse with a like-minded adult over warm coffee. No boogers, lack of sleep (mine or the boy’s) or wardrobe malfunction is going to stop me. The opportunity to do this doesn’t happen often so please excuse the selfishness.
I scoot to the kitchen and put down the dog’s water bowl right before we’re about to leave. Doing so at any other time would be disasterous with a 1 yr old around. All of a sudden, I hear a disgustingly, strange splash in the living room. I walk in to find dog vomit all over the damn place. Now understand that I live in a very old house with uneven floors so naturally…everything runs downhill. I watch as the indescribably fluid pile of up-chuck chases across my floor. Awesome. Oh but wait, what is that splashing I hear in the kitchen now. Of course it’s the little guy playing in the dog’s water bowl. And he is happier than a Mom at naptime because he is ALL WET.
At this point, I have 5 minutes to clean the mess up, pack a bag of “what ifs” and get out the door. I change him and try to keep him out of the puke long enough to clean it up. I sacrificed a couple of diapers because they were in arms reach and there was no freakin’ way I was giving little guy even the second it would take to grab more paper towels to find his way in to the puke. Oh my God no.
I pulled it off. I threw the now full garbage bag with my dog’s “present” and God knows what else on the enclosed back porch and we’re outta there. Surprisingly, I got to visit with my girlfriend, with little interuptions and no real catastrophes, despite a missed nap. Maybe even for too long because mid day nap time snuck up on me and little guy was sure to melt if I didn’t get out of there with the quickness.
I get home. I put little man and my sassy four year old down for their nap and brew a cup of coffee in a smaller than I would like mug. I lean back against the counter, take a sip of hot coffee and start prioritizing my chores.
Suddenly I catch the scent of something very unpleasant. I look towards the backporch and know immediately today may be the day I lose it for good. Not only did I not close the garbage bag but I left the door ajar as I sped out of here earlier. This is what I found…
The dog that was once the light of my life is now and forever will be the thorn in my ass. Oh wait. No. That’s just arthritis.
My ONLY saving grace in all of this humorously crazy day is my awesome cousin. The one I had to practically hang up on earlier. She previously helped me celebrate my new found passion of blogging with shipping me a gift of wine and chocolate. Yesterday it arrived. Tonight is will be enjoyed.
P.S. The day is only three quarters of the way over…if too many days pass without a new post or face book status update, I can probably be found in a padded room with coffee, wine and meds being ingested intravenously.
I stopped reading Cosmo and other similar magazines close to a decade ago. It was a combination of things. As a student taking mass comm and psychology courses, I began to learn how to read between the cultural and patriarchal lines. I also became more aware of how absorbing that kind of information made me feel. I hadn’t yet linked my poor self esteem to my anxiety but once I started eliminating the reinforcements that I wasn’t good enough, the connection became clear and empowering.
That stuff can be toxic. It’s easy to get wrapped up in how to be a prettier, slimmer, more desirable version of yourself. I’ve just started to realize that if I have different versions of myself, I’m obviously creating them out of fear that the real version isn’t good enough. Feeling defected is the source of my anxiety.
At the same time I quit reading the “fix me” girl/women magazines, I also stopped using tabloid magazines and gossip shows as my mindless, guilty pleasure. The misleading reality of those platforms are built to feed the culture of judging one another. Tabloids are created to permit permission to judge. Judgement houses anxiety for me.
I’ve given up on watching the news. The news, in all its forms, is the worst offender.
Watching it leaves me feeling dirty. Obtaining votes and spotlighting all that is wrong with the world seems to be only goal. Distorting information with fear is dangerous.
The media, in just about every form, has become so intoxicated with greed. Anxiety has become the most profitable tool to make you second guess your instincts. The you’re not enoughs and the constant “become a better version of yourself” propaganda just keeps getting in the way. It sends me looking in all the wrong directions.
The dogmatic, provoking static that has become the media only increases one’s anxiety. I already tend to have that voice in the back of my head that creeps in challenging my self worth. I don’t need any more noise adding fuel to the fire.
This has been prompted by the Daily Prompt: A Source of Anxiety
Maybe she said, “I wish I had a blender”. I understand that she spoke words that sounded like, “I would love a new washer and dryer”. Maybe you heard, “This vacuum SUCKS!” and you took that as she wants a new vacuum cleaner. I know some women have gone as far as to look their husbands in the eyes and say, “I want you to buy me new pots and pans for Christmas”.
Listen to me. These women have been brainwashed by their ovaries, Good Housekeeping and Pinterest. They are lost in their own over stimulated heads and think that items used to keep them busy making other people happy are what they really want. I understand that she is happy with clean clothes just like everyone else, but for the love of God, do you really think she gets joy out of this?
Being home for the last year has taught me to appreciate working major and minor appliances. I’ll be the first to admit when my dryer started sparking and the dishwasher started peeing on the floor, I had an Emmy worthy momma meltdown. I will also say I would love a robot vacuum cleaner that cruises around sucking up my dog’s tumbleweed hair balls. I actually really do want new pots and pans. But not for freakin’ Christmas.
Does this make me selfish? I don’t really care if that makes me sound selfish. Isn’t gift giving about making another person feel special with a thoughtful, individualized present? Isn’t it about tuning in to what makes a person smile. It doesn’t take a lot to make (most) women truly happy. If she knows you actually thought about her while choosing a gift, than whatever you chose will make her happy.
When I go shopping, I occasionally will put something for myself in the cart. By the time I’m done shopping, I always seem to talk myself out of buying it, whether it cost $2 or $20. Not that I’m not worthy of a new shirt once in a while, but justifying spending on myself doesn’t come easy anymore. I know this phenomenon happens to almost all women once they become a Mom. It’s a bitch of a thing. So perhaps a gift certificate to her favorite store is the perfect thing. It will get her out of the house and an opportunity to buy for herself, guilt free.
A male friend posted a secret poll on Facebook a few years ago asking women their thoughts on buying his wife a washer and dryer for Christmas. You can imagine I had plenty to say about why he shouldn’t. What honestly surprised me was that I was actually of the minority opinion. I’ve heard plenty of arguments on the opposite side of my argument; however, none that have convinced me of any other opinion than my own.
As a wife/Mom/woman, are you ok with receiving household items and/or appliances for Christmas? What is the most offensive/worst gift you’ve ever been given?
“I have to get dinner started because daddy will be home soon”.
I have said this to the kids before but something about the way I said it this time hung in the air and I can’t seem to shoo it away. It made me chuckle. I suddenly had a vision of me in a pristine housewife dress draped with a wrinkle free apron, perfectly shaped hair, standing next to a vacuum cleaner with a slightly over-medicated smile on my face. What led me to write about this, is the surprising attraction to and immediate revulsion of what just occurred in my head.
I’m no June Clever. My version of being a wife and Mother more resemble what an offspring of Danny Tanner and Peg Bundy would look like. Literally speaking anyway. I love my family and will tackle any issue (cue cheesy 80’s tv background music) that life throws at us but I’m not winning any mother of the year awards either.
I’m a clean up after your self, unless there is blood I don’t want to hear whining, give a spanking when necessary because time out is usually a joke kind of Momma. And as far as a wife…well I married the man I did for a reason. There is no hierarchy in my marriage. My inner angry Lilith Fair groupie wants to jump start a riot every time I’m at a wedding and the words “to obey” are still left in the woman’s part of the vows.
I’m usually back in sweats by the time hubby gets home. I’ve never worn an apron and the only time I’m smiling while vacuuming is if I’m goosing my son and daughter with the vacuum hose to keep them laughing and out of my way.
However, I did choose to be a SAHM so I do feel somewhat responsible for the day to day chores in the house. Yes, I just dry heaved gagged a little. I never, ever thought I would be a SAHM and I NEVER thought I would “conform” to the roles a woman is “suppose” to take on but here I am. This is where life, in all its humorous irony, has led me. And I’m happy to be here.
I’m lying if I deny that there is something very satisfying and somewhat sexy about having dinner smelling up the house and a somewhat clean house ready when the hubby gets home. Having him walk in the door, hug the kids who have run up to him, give me a kiss on the cheek and maybe a little squeeze of the ass puts a smile on my face. I feel very strange admitting that though…like I just sold myself out. A little piece of my old 20 something self just died a little if I want to be melodramatic about it.
It’s comical really…five yrs of marriage, two kids and a surprising decision to trade my 9 to 5 for raising babies (and a slightly increased wine and coffee addiction), half my days are spent preparing or planning to prepare meals. This coming from the girl that said something like “Just because I have boobs doesn’t mean I have to cook dinner every night!” shortly after getting married. Once again, I find myself in a place I swore I would never be. Consumed with wearing hats I tried so hard in my 20’s to avoid even touching.
Back then, I was so hell bent on NOT conforming that it never occurred to me that I might actually enjoy activities that fit the standard mold like baking. I can bake the shit out of some cookies now and I enjoy the hell out of it. It blows my mind that I bake, that I have any desire at all to make home made cleaning products, that I attempted to make homemade Halloween costumes this year, that at least once a week I even think about trying to be in something other than sweats when my husband gets home because I want him to see me without boogers, oatmeal and flour streaked across my clothes and hair.
To say people don’t change is just plain naïve. Not that people always change for the better but they always change…it’s called growing. Life has forced me to change and add to my own perspective and thank God for that. I can own my views and not feel like I have to present my self in any one sort of way in order to be true to them.
I carry feminism and cookie dough in my arsenal now. Imagine that.
Underwire. Push up bras. They not only hold the girls up but have become my last line of defense in the war against saggy booby syndrome. I have nursed two kids. Throw in entering my 30’s and I am definitely losing the war.
I loved my boobs. A perfect B. Added a little junk in my trunk after getting married and guess what? I loved them even more. I had the perfect C. Then, I got pregnant. My lovely C’s turned in to vuluptous D’s. It was a miracle. The girl that couldn’t tell her back from her chest as a blossoming teenager has managed to pull off two fun-filled, fabulous D’s.
Looking at my boobs now, I see a whole new meaning to the expression “sucking the life out of you”. I pumped primarily for my first child for six months. Nursing went a little smoother with my son, who latched his perfect little lips around my now affectionately dubbed “Nat Geo nips”, every chance he got, for nine exhausting months. These deflated balloons no longer bring the boys to yard is all I’m saying.
These new larger than life nipples have decided they prefer originality, ultimately refusing to be like the other. My nips are as indecisive as I am. One choosing to invert just to make that very clear. Neither prefer to rest politely in the middle of my breasts anymore. They seem to migrate these days, one north and one south.
There are no more sexy, slow-mo bouncing boobies that I once had and loved. The girls are more swaying than bouncing these days. And don’t even get me started on lying down. Looks like I got two medium sized tumors creeping in to my arm pits. My cleavage is now a tunnel of darkness between two rained on ant hills.
I had no idea that my perfect D’s would morph in to shriveled up itty bitty A titties. No one told me that there would come a day when I would have to roll these bitches up to put them away. Someone failed to mention And that trips to the bathroom would now and forever involve a reach down to put the girls back in their place.
A lot of attention is put on the Freddy Kruger marks left on our bellies after cooking our babies. Our once perky and full of life breasts seem to be the invisible heros of developing and nourishing our spawns. I’ve had this conversation with other moms before and it always requires a slightly twisted sense of humor. Those with out kids will laugh, but it’s usually one of those nervous “come on guys, it’s not really that bad, is it?” kind of laughs.
I put out a request for women to share how they really feel about their post-baby boobs on my Facebook page. I can’t say I’m surprised at my followers sense of humor.
“I have always called them my 2 sunny side up boobs.”
“I think of clown shoes. A little long, but still fat on the end.”
“Long orangutan boobs! Or water balloons, slightly filled.”
Many other women described their boobs as “saggy”, “long”, “less perky”. “Stretched out, heavy, floppy sandbags”, said a Mom of three, who is expecting her forth soon (as well as her boobs to touch her belly button afterwards). One that I could totally relate to was “flat as pancakes”. We’re talking late night, half-assed Denny’s pancakes, at best.
Oh, I miss the girls. I miss the days when I was more concerned with the color of my bra, and not whether the Nat Geo nips would steal the spotlight. I wish someone would have shown me a picture of post nursing boobs, before I decided to let the monsters latch on. It wouldn’t have persuaded me to feed them any other way. Perhaps though, I would have given the girls the front line more often, before they melted, developed protruding, wondering eye balls where my delicate nipples used to be and made me ask myself…Is muffin-boob a thing?
My truth about struggling with depression and being a mom is not pretty. It’s not a feel good story. It’s a story that continues to evolve.
My depression started at a young age. As a child, I was exposed to a type of environment where my predisposed genes didn’t have a fighting chance to stay hidden. I was never put in treatment and I don’t believe it was even recognized by the adults around me. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens/early 20’s that even I recognized it.
My depression was masked a lot in my 20’s by numbing myself with alcohol. A shitty day just meant I really needed to get drunk. If I look back at my 20’s, I was a damn good functioning alcoholic that balanced school, work and partying quite well. Until I didn’t.
Around my mid to late 20’s, the effects of the depression became harder and harder to bury or ignore. It was like anything in life, you can only bury your demons for so long and then boom. I started to have bad weeks instead of days. I wanted nothing to do with anyone, including myself. I finally gave in and began taking an anti-depressant in conjunction with psychotherapy. It worked for the time being.
I began working in the field of mental health after graduating college. Do what you know right? Being the one who evaluated countless people in the ER, I knew the lingo and the symptoms that usually led to an admission on the mental health unit, a place where I also worked. This created so much internal conflict for me. I loved what I did and was good at it because I could truly empathize. But it also created a lot of fear in regards to dealing with my own struggles. I couldn’t even be completely honest with my therapist because I was scared that if I admitted to certain things such as having suicidal thoughts and any sort of plan, I would be seen as a safety risk. I couldn’t let myself fall in to the broken mental health system, even as broken as I was. So I continued to work harder at dancing around my symptoms instead of trudging through the heartache of admitting to myself or even a professional what was really going on in my own head.
I was so angry. I lashed out at complete strangers. I fell apart over spilled milk. My work became impossible because everything triggered me. The individual’s stories became too difficult to hear and I was no longer helping anyone, especially myself. I literally fell to pieces. I thankfully had a primary care doctor at the time that was more than just a normal doctor. I trusted her so I went to her office in the middle of the day during work. I could not pull myself together and I didn’t really have an explanation as to why. She took me out of work for the next few days. I called my husband, scared to death what he would think and say. He, being the man that he is, told me not to worry about anything and to just take care of myself. I went home and went to bed. I didn’t get up for three days. When I did I felt better but knew I was right back where I had been before. It was time to start taking medication again and get back in to therapy.
Shortly after that, at the age of 27, I got pregnant. Although I wasn’t a lover of being pregnant, I have to say I was never happier. The boost of hormones were fabulous and I felt great. And then the third trimester happened. I plummeted. I hated myself because how could I be so awfully sad about and ungrateful for the life inside me. I hated that I hated myself. I felt bad for feeling bad.
After my daughter was born, I had the normal baby blues but thankfully it passed and within a few weeks I had fallen in love with my little girl. But then something flipped that switch. The switch that I have learned I have no control over. I became numb, her needs became overwhelming. I became an auto pilot mom. I did what I needed to do but that was about it. This wasn’t the normal, over tired, overwhelmed, new mom effect. This was joyless motions. It was feeling like a failure with every action. This was irrational. I can remember thinking what a piece of shit I was that I wasn’t happy about my beautiful life. To me, at that time, nothing was beautiful.
I reached a point where suicide seemed like a valid solution. I was just existing anyway. I wasn’t bringing anything good to the world around me, including the people in it, so what was the fucking point. I cried so hard when no one was looking. I couldn’t look in mirrors because I hated what I saw. It is a scary and very lonely place to be. I felt like I was different than every person/woman/mom around me. I didn’t dare admit to having suicidal thoughts to anyone, even my husband. What kind of mother or wife am I if I admit to feeling like I need to leave him and my children.
I don’t know how I got through that particular rough patch if I am being honest. But time went on and I survived. My relationship had good days and bad days. On the bad days, I just knew my husband was going to leave me and I didn’t blame him. Who wants to live with someone that can’t seem to get her shit together and falls apart or blows up when the wind blows to the east. I tried so hard. I would take medicine for a while, stabilize and then go off of it because I felt like I had it under control. Which is madness in itself. I was the one encouraging people to take their meds with over used scripts like “if you had diabetes you wouldn’t not take your meds, well depression is no different”. I was actually fighting everyone elses battles, with a vengeance, to help erase their pain and the stigma of living with a mental illness, but yet couldn’t take my own advice.
After my second child was born, I was on a high fueled with love and what felt like a completion of my family. I chose not to take medicine with both of my pregnancies and have yet to go back on them since having my son, who is now 15 mths old. I’m starting to feel the need and see the signs again. I hate it. I hate that I need a pill to be of sound mind but I’ve ridden this roller coaster long enough to know how dangerous it can be with out it.
It seems like my depression has gotten more intense after each of my children have been born. I don’t know why. Maybe it is the added stress or the changes to my body’s chemistry. Even though I am able to recognize that funk that seems to cling to me when I am sliding down hill, I can’t prevent it. I have days where I busy the kids with some sort of something so that I can cry in another room where they don’t see me and ask questions. I feel so unworthy of my children’s forgiving love some days.
It’s not everyday or even every other week but I still have times when I question why I should continue with this misery. It is insanely disabling to be in a place where you believe in your heart that a life without a Mom is better than a life with a Mom like me. I say that with tears in my eyes because I know the damage of both. My Mom was in and out of my life because of her mental illness and when she finally got on a healthier path mentally, she died of a physical illness.
People that say suicide is selfish are right. It is. However, for the person contemplating it or living with pain so great that it is seen as a reasonal option, it feels as if it is more of a gift. A blessing to others. Because now the people surrounding you no longer have to feel the effects of your broken being. This has been my truth for so long.
I would like to say that I have overcome and gotten through the worst of it, but I know better now. I have; however, come to terms with what this debilitating disease is capable of and am much more likely to ask for help when I need it. One of the best things a therapist ever said to me was to question whether or not how I am feeling is rational. If I can’t explain why I am feeling so sad or angry or worthless then it’s time to take better care of myself. And that doesn’t mean a day at the spa. I fucking hate it when people say “well make sure you are taking time for yourself. Go get a massage”. That is a band aid and if you suggest it you need to better educate yourself. Taking better care of myself really means to admit to myself and those closest around me that I need an ear, support, a break, compassion and/or a shoulder.
There are all these stigmas attached to women with children that admit to having depression. A big part of that is because of what is portrayed in the media but also because of the lack of education around mental illness as a whole. So here, let me clear up a few. No, I have never had thoughts to hurt my children (in a psychosis kind of way). Yes, I am fit to raise my children, even on a bad day. Yes, my kids friends are safe at my house, I have depression, I’m not neglectful. Please don’t ask me how I am doing with a sad, overly concerned look on your face. I know what you are really asking and it’s condescending and annoying. No I don’t “check out” on my kids. I may not be the lively, playful mother every day of the week but I’m not hiding in my room while they run loose and mold themselves in to psychopaths either. Yes, I have bad days that are just that – a bad day. And guess what, I am entitled to those. If I flip someone off or cry over a commercial, it’s more than likely due to my hot head or exceptionally thin skin, not my diagnosis. Yes, I have good days and no, I’m not pretending to be happy. I am a genuinely happy person by nature. And here is a big one. Please take note of this one because it is the worst thing you could ever say to someone like me. Don’t ever assume that a person can “snap out of it”. It’s impossible and you’re being naïve and downright hateful if you think ANYONE would choose to feel the way I have attempted to describe.
Depression looks different to everyone that suffers from it. However, I have learned through personal and professional experience that those that live with it have one thing in common – loneliness. I wish people talked candidly about it. I wish women felt more comfortable and less shame about admitting these type of thoughts and feelings. I just hope that by sharing my story, someone will feel less alone and less shameful.