So for the past 10 months I’ve been tracking my postpartum journey as I navigate my way through this new world called Motherhood. I’ve been honest about my feelings and my experiences… these posts and updates, although very infrequent, have been a source of therapy for me… like a public diary of my life and what I’m going through. I’ve always tried to be authentic and even in the most challenging moments I’d eventually see the positive light at the end.
Yesterday I went to see a psychologist because I haven’t been feeling my best lately. The months and months of not sleeping have finally taken its toll and it manifested itself in the worst ways. I have been irritable, angry, overwhelmed, but mostly I’ve been sad. I have everything I could ever want: a loving husband, a beautiful healthy baby boy, good jobs, a house and friends and family that care about us…so why am I not happy? I would lie awake at night with anxiety so high that I could barely breathe. My stress levels were maxed out and I just felt like I was drowning or worse… self sabotaging.
I didn’t know where to lay my blame for how I was feeling and unfortunately that usually meant Daniel had to take most of it. Then the guilt would set in and I’d be down another spiral. I don’t know if I reached rock bottom, but I realized with the help of my husband, that I needed to seek professional help to figure out what was going on with me. Speaking to a professional and seeking help made me think that I really lost it. But I’m so glad I did. Thankfully she said what I’m going through is totally normal for new moms. That even though I feel like I’m losing my mind that it’s normal with the lack of sleep and the pressures of becoming a new parent.
There is no textbook way of explaining how each person adjusts to parenthood and, in my case, that having a child would unearth things about my own childhood that I had locked away and never fully dealt with in a meaningful way. She also helped me realized that creating a family is the joining of two separate family histories each coming from different backgrounds and how each were raised. The joining of those 2 different families into a new family is challenging because it takes a lot of understanding and compromise.
Being independent for so long and having to figure everything out on my own was good when I was alone, but not so great if I have a partner that is willing to help, but I don’t let them. I’m so used to doing everything myself, that opening up and asking for help felt like I wasn’t measuring up or that I wasn’t doing a good job. The perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow me to fail at this. I realize now that it makes me HUMAN. Daniel has moved back into our room to help me with Theodore at night because now that he’s teething he’s waking up sometimes twice every hour. Also, taking some of the chores off my list of to-dos helps. Asking for help will be another thing I will have to work on.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done before I feel 100% again, but I’m taking the first steps to being healthier and happier. My motivation? Theodore. Everything I will ever do will be for his benefit, even if that means I have to strip my emotional baggage and sort through it one by one. In a way, I’m thankful that I’m doing this now before it becomes a much bigger issue or one that can’t be resolved.
My hope for this very exposing post is that it helps someone else that might be going through the same struggles. You’re not alone. There is no shame when it comes to your health and if you need help seek a professional. Opening up to the world like this is scary, but it’s allowing me to be free from guilt, shame or blame… it’s allowing me to be HUMAN.