So Much Has Changed
I’m not sure how I should feel
I Used to Be…
Do you find yourself saying things like, “I used to know who I was and how to take care of myself. I was a professional. I was happy and grounded and ready to become a mom.” “Now I’m not sure if I’m doing any of this right. Aren’t I supposed to feel happy?”
You probably have heard the stories of glowing pregnancies and seamless parenting – seen the pictures of colorful birthday parties and joyful weekends at the park. They didn’t show you the pictures of sadness or overwhelming worry that might take over your brain. They didn’t tell you what you would be giving up to take care of the little ones in your life, leaving you wondering when you will take care of yourself or who might help you.
Maybe your partner is working towards a career goal and you’ve had to take on everything else. You look back on the past and wonder where that woman went? There is so much pressure to do this mothering thing right and you are not sure if it’s working. Or maybe you know it’s not working. All of the things you’re supposed to feel just aren’t there, but there is other stuff you are feeling, stuff that is uncomfortable to talk about. Maybe you just had a baby or you’ve already passed those early years, but you know that you would just like to feel like yourself again.
Help is Available
I have had many mom’s reach out to me asking for help for their child, when what they really wanted was help for themselves. It felt like choosing themselves over their child was not ok. But when it came down to it, the best way to help their child or children was to get help for themselves. Mom’s are told a lot of things about who and how they should be. You deserve to have a space where you can honestly talk about what is difficult, how you really feel, and what you need. We can work together so that you can feel more like yourself again.
Don’t Worry About Me, I’ll be Fine
So maybe all of the things I’ve been saying sound true to you, but people are counting on you to pull it together. Your kids need you, your partner needs you, your job, your parents and on and on. It would be upsetting to those in your life if you let on that you were unhappy and struggling. Plus, you’re not even sure you have the time to schedule something for yourself! Between feeding everyone, managing multiple schedules, and providing everyone with what they need, it’s amazing you can even plan to sleep. Actually, the truth is, you’re not really sleeping! With your mind racing to remember everything and your doubts about being able to manage it all surfacing, planning time to talk about it sounds exhausting, but you need to. You need to have support, time to process, for your brain to slow down and to stop that growing feeling of depression and anxiety.
Some mom’s have said to me, “I’m not really feeling mentally ill, just tired, overwhelmed, and grumpy. Are those reason’s to start therapy?” Ask yourself if it has affected how you feel about yourself or how you interact with the people you love? If it’s making it difficult to enjoy your life or if you are starting to feel angry at or resentful of the people in your home, it’s probably time. Believe it or not, once you slow down, in a quiet room, with a person who is there just to listen to you, it’s a lot easier to figure out why you’re feeling so lousy and how to feel better – how to find yourself again.
What if I Do Need Help?
A lot of women have shared and opened up about how they are feeling, with mixed results. Some have shared with people who couldn’t understand what they were truly going through and maybe felt a little judged, ignored or shamed afterward. Working with moms, particularly moms who are pregnant or who have had a baby within the past year, is a specialty that requires training. Therapists should have additional training to understand the uniqueness of what you are going through. It is important that you are able to be supported the way you need to be supported, to be listened to and heard without judgement.
I have participated in various trainings for perinatal mental health (from conception, delivery, and the time after). This includes specific training offered through Postpartum Support International. Additionally, I am endorsed as a Infant Mental Health provider through the Colorado Association of Infant Mental Health and trained in multiple interventions that include both parents and young children. I understand the importance of putting on your air mask before assisting others – mothers need to be taken care of first in order for them to care for everyone else who needs them.
So if you are a mom who is struggling with feeling like yourself, or with overwhelm, sadness, anger and frustration, call today. It is ok to take care of yourself, and, you can enjoy your children and your life again.