On the mental side of becoming a mom

On the mental side of becoming a mom

I want to share what my mental state and thoughts have gone through in the last 10 months (or rather, the last 19 months including pregnancy). I don’t know if these feelings are a universal thing, but I have been vulnerable to a few friends who could relate. I had never heard anyone open up about these emotional issues before baby, so I felt crazy and awful experiencing it. I want to share in case I can help anyone.

Pregnancy was physically easy. (Sorry to those who had a rough time). I felt great. No sickness at all.  Gestational diabetes wasn’t awesome, but the resulting healthy eating kept my weight gain to a minimum, which helped me feel physically great.

The mental side of things was an entirely different story. Everything was a disappointment. Not the actual pregnancy, of course. We were trying and happy that it happened so easily and things went smoothly.  But everything else. Tyler’s response to my telling him we were pregnant wasn’t grand enough. I was upset. People weren’t fawning over pregnant me, and I was upset. I just felt like everything was a bigger deal and a bigger disappointment.

I was  15 weeks pregnant in NYC on a work trip and was already feeling like I was failing my baby. I was struggling. I saw “Waitress” the musical and heard these lyrics:

“It’s not simple to say, that most days I don’t recognize me……

She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She’s all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine”

I cried hearing that. That’s how I felt. I was broken. I was lonely. I was gone.

Side not: What was crazy is that the character in the musical was pregnant too….it was a big parallel of that NYC trip. I saw THREE musicals with pregnant characters that trip!

I hated how it was all going. I wished for a do-over. I spent lots of time crying and upset. I know now that I was suffering from some anxiety and depression. I did reach out to my doctor at one point, but they just handed me medication over the phone (I had called to schedule an appointment and the nurse prescribed me Zoloft over the phone). There were scary things about pregnancy in the medicine brochure so I didn’t take it long (like a week, maybe?).

After baby, I did have some emotional high. But that quickly faded.  I did many things to try and help. I got outside. I walked. I did some hormone stuff.  But I always felt like everyone had the best time with my baby — holding her while she slept while I cooked dinner. And then she would have her witching hour (THANK GOODNESS it was only her first few weeks of life) and I felt like she hated me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right for her. Everyone else seemed to have an easier time than I did (looking back, well DUH! They hadn’t actually been the one giving birth. Of course things were easier for them!)

I second guessed every decision. I felt like a bad mom. I looked forward to going back to work so I wouldn’t have to. To what? I’m not sure. But life just felt heavy. I finally asked for help. Help and understanding from my husband, from my family, from my doctor.

I did take some medication, but I also prioritized myself. I made eating healthy and working out and sleep a priority. I made sure to do some things that felt like they gave me life. Sometimes that meant fighting guilt and leaving baby to get a break.

I had lots of moments where I felt like the worst mother on the planet. I have to be honest that those days are (thankfully) fewer and far between, but they still happen. Days when I yell-cry. Days when I call my mom freaking out because I feel like my chest may cave in from the weight of it all.

But it does get better. With help. With intentionality. With work. With medication. With supplements. With sleep. With laughter. With understanding.

I guess I just share that to say, if you’re feeling like you’re gone, there’s hope. There’s hope in Jesus. He wants better for me (and you!) and he is the provider of truth – and I knew those thoughts weren’t the truth (even though they felt truthful in my heart).  Reach out. To me, if you want. I’m happy to help. But let someone in. You don’t have to be stuck there. I’m so thankful I’m not.

And if someone around you has had a baby, ask how they are. REALLY ask. I read from someone recently that a friend asked how her soul was. That’s profound. Dig until you feel like she’s telling you the truth. She may be ok, but she may need someone to say “It’s ok to not be ok.” I reached out to a couple different people who didn’t know how to respond.  Take her to lunch.  Come over and bring chocolate and wine and queso and a funny movie.  Laughter is medicine. Friendship is medicine. Funny memes texted late at night are medicine.

I’m grateful that now I feel much more joy than I do worry. Much more pride than I do shame. Much more happy than fear. Much more peace than I do anxiety. Much more love. From others, from my baby, for my baby, and for myself.

 


Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Britt. I have no doubt it will help someone else out there today, tomorrow and as long as this blog post lives. <3 Big hugs to you and the baby girl! You are doing a GREAT job!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I just became a mother in March but not in the conventional sense. I was handed a 1 and 2 year old and expected to feed them, clothe them, love them, and keep up with everything else that was/is going on in my life. YIKES!!!!! I have no other children, so this was interesting to say the least. But as the picture above states, “For these children I have prayed.” I have called my mom feeling the same way. Thankfully I have other moms to confide in as well. It is hard and even though I had some time to prepare a room, house, and take care of other things a child would need, I did not have that pregnancy time that prepares women a little more. I didn’t even know how old my child would be! I love them, but there are days that I have wondered what in the world was I thinking, I can’t do this, I am failing as a mom/wife/friend/coworker and business owner. I just have to remember that the Lord has brought these two beautiful little humans into my life to enrich and bless it and I pray that I will be able to do the same for them. I am glad that you reached out to someone and I encourage others to do the same. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all broken and we will make mistakes and have days we feel like failures but there others in the same boat who understand and will love you despite that. But most importantly always remember that God loves you most!!!!!!

    • Kristin, Thank YOU for sharing your experience. Yes, it doesn’t matter how you become a mom, it’s OVERWHELMING AND EMOTIONAL. AMEN to “We are all broken and we will make mistakes.” I think that’s a big thing to remember. That we are all struggling, even when you think you see someone who has it all together. She still cries in her shower or escapes to the bathroom for a few minutes or feels like a grocery store trip without kids is a vacation, AMIRIGHT? Appreciate your comment, sweet sister!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I felt some of the same feelings over 15 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. I felt my husband was not as excited as me because he already had 2 boys. Once I got over that, my SIL announced she was pregnant too, due 2 months after me. Well there went any special attention I would get and then it became a comparison game. “well so and so looks so tiny but you look huge!” A huge blow to my ego. Then the girls were born and the comparison continued and still does to this day. I feel like I fail EVERYDAY with my kids. Did I do enough today? was I intentional enough? It’s a constant battle. I beat myself up when my husband says I don’t spend enough time with him. I try to stay positive but sometimes I find myself crying over things that shouldn’t make me cry. I take each day as it comes, good, bad and ugly and at the end of the day, I promise myself to try better the next day and treat everyday as a clean slate. I am only one person and I can only do/be so much. Love your blog and love reading all about Remi and watching her grow. You are a great Mom!!

    • Valerie, thank you for sharing those thoughts. Golly we moms can be hard on ourselves right? I love the thought of each day as a clean slate. I’m sure your kids think you’re EVERYTHING and not just “enough”. Thank you for your sweet comment. I’m glad to have supportive people following our journey.

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