“You said you wanted to be a mom.”
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When I became a mom, I was prepared for the late nights, the constant feedings, the exhaustion.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the feelings of inadequacy, the violent mood swings, the psychosis, and “knowing” in my heart that I was failing.
I struggled for months before I ever got professional help. When I finally did, it was the best decision I could have made for myself, and my family, but it was only the start of a long road ahead.
Depression and anxiety don’t go away with the flip of a switch. You learn coping strategies and ways to retrain your brain to deal with what the dark thoughts are telling you.
Throughout my journey of post-partum depression and recovery I have had many, many times of relapse. For the first few years, it felt, ALL the time, like I was taking 1 step forward, 4 back.
Part of what made my recovery difficult was the immense guilt I felt. Guilt about what I “should” be doing or feeling. Guilt about what I was putting my family through. Guilt that, even though I’d said for years that all I wanted was to be a mom, I was now feeling like I’d made a HUGE mistake.
Now, on the healing side of my journey, I can see that I had no need to feel that guilt and that I didn’t deserve to put that on myself.
What I want other moms to know is that there is no “should” or “supposed to” or “right way” to be, think, or feel as a new mom. Know that, even if you’ve wished and dreamt of being a mom for your entire life, in the deep throws of depression and anxiety, many of us have felt like maybe we were wrong.
While it’s ok to be feeling how you’re feeling, it’s IMPORTANT to get help with anything that feels overwhelming, or that affects your normal daily function, or that puts you or others in danger.
Know that you are not alone, that there are people available to help you get through this, and that, on the other side of healing is motherhood that you get to enjoy, guilt free. That’s where you’ll find the mom you always knew you were meant to be.