The Strength I Found in Motherhood.

Becoming a mama has made me realize that I have a lot more strength than I thought.
Becoming a mama has made me realize that I have a lot more strength than I thought.

When you’re pregnant with your first child, many veteran mamas tell you how wonderful it will be. The focus of their excited chatter is mainly about the baby.  You hear about the sleep you’ll lose, the milestones to look forward to, and all the tips and tricks you may or may not want to hear.

They often don’t tell you how it will change YOU as an individual.  Yes, they tell you that motherhood is rewarding but never expand on it.  They also don’t tell you about the beauty you find in yourself nor do they tell you the strength that grows within you.

Motherhood is an ever changing thing. It’s filled with so many different emotions (often in the span of 5 minutes).  Motherhood is something you not only put so much of your heart into but your soul as well.  So much of yourself is put into caring for tiny humans.

We’re often second guessing our decisions.  We worry how every possible action and reaction will effect our children.  Talk about even more pressure when you add having other mamas, parents, in-laws, and just about anyone else in the world being able to comment and scrutinize a mama’s every move into all of this. Trying to navigate motherhood with PPD makes it even more nerve wracking.  It feels like things are intensified by 100.  Often you’re trying to find the strength to have strength.  Add the stereotypes that is often associated with PPD, well, a person needs all the strength they can get.  You feel like you not only need to prove it to yourself that you can make it through but to others as well.

Yes, you do second guess yourself in motherhood.  Whether it’s exclusively breastfeeding, formula feeding, cloth diapers, co-sleeping, teaching your child sign language, or only giving them organic food. You are continually second guessing every decisions and every move through the constant running thoughts in your head, comments from others, or articles you read.  You feel like you need to, or are more than ready, to defend the previous mentioned choices.  When things don’t seem to go as you thought (i.e. crib training early on, switching to formula feeding, etc.), you find yourself second guessing your second guessing!

However, you also realize through the missteps and triumphs that you’re doing the best that you possibly can.  

You see it when your child reaches a milestone.  It’s seen when your child’s laughter is so joyful you have tears in your eyes.  You can also see it when you watch your child’s personality budding before you.  Your child’s progression, whatever the pace, will show you everything.

O and W.

 

Motherhood makes you vulnerable, it makes you protective, and it makes you stronger as a person. 

This is why you become so passionate about every decision you make.  You may have a bad motherhood day but the thing is, you wake up to do it all over again.  Maybe with not as much strength as the day before but you still do it.

I’ve realized that the choices I’ve made so far regarding my children are led with my heart.  I become protective over those decisions because I know in my soul it was the right thing for my child. That I take such criticism and scrutiny so dearly because I’ve put my heart into these children.  I know it can be easy to question the parenting decisions of others but in the end aren’t we all making childrearing decisions that others will question and scrutinize?  It’s then that I realize that while the advice given should be taken under consideration, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to follow each and every tip.

My babies and motherhood have taught me to continue putting my heart and soul into the things I love.  Motherhood has taught me to not apologize for my beliefs.   That it’s okay to be protective when it comes to scrutiny or criticism.  More importantly, it has taught me that there was always this strength in me.  It continues to grow as my children grow.  It continues to grow even when I make missteps as a mama.  It continues to grow as I maneuver my way through PPD.  Motherhood has shown me that my strength was always there, it just need a kick from two handsome little men for me to realize that it was there all along.

signed, dee

Enjoymamahood Journey: PPD

enjoymamahood journey: ppd

My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) has been a very tiring one.  I’m learning that it’s okay to have bad days just as it is okay to have the good days.  Although I’m having my good days, it does not necessarily mean i’m not having an internal struggle with myself.  I’m often reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and that I’m doing pretty good at this motherhood thing.  It may be filled with a lot of yawns due to a sleepless night.  It may also be where I push myself a little harder to get myself and the boys out of the house.  It could also be that I simply was able to get the laundry from the washer into the dryer.

The bad days are still there.  Definitely not as much as before but there.  I am awake, I am functioning, I can get things done.  Often I feel like I’m walking in my own cloud space.  I’m still reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and look at how happy my babies are.  I get so sucked into the fog of my thoughts that I stare off into space.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I doing this motherhood thing right?  Why can’t I be happy?  Why do I feel so down?  “Why?” complies on top of more “Why?”

Late nights and early mornings are much harder for me during this time.  I wake up on my own.  There is no crying baby that needs to be consoled or fed.  There is no crying toddler that had a nightmare.  I wake up and I’m wide awake.  I put on a book on Audible and try to fall back asleep.  Often, I get up and do schoolwork.  Sometimes there is crying.  There is guilt for feeling the way that I do. There is definitely anger within myself for feeling this way.  There is helplessness due to feeling this way.  By the time I am ready to go back to sleep it usually is an hour or so before the babies wake.  I don’t let myself sleep in.  I get up and I take care of them.  I take care of things around the house.  We go run errands.  We go on a walk.  All of this is going on and I am encouraging myself to keep pushing forward.  Encouraging myself that this is just a bad day and I can get through it.  I’m encouraging myself with my boys smiles and their laughs.  I’m willing the cloud above me to just go away.

I don’t know how much of a good job I’m doing with masking this from my family and close friends.  It is tiring and I wish that it was something as simple as willing it to go away instantly.  I know that this is a process.  I know that it won’t be easy.  I know that there are good days and there are bad days.  Some people say it’s hormones and some people say it isn’t a real thing.  It is a real thing.  I not only feel it with every part of my mind and body but I am living it.  I am trying to not only live through it but find a way to live without it.  It’s hard not to feel like people will judge, especially those that you are close with.  Will they think differently of me?  Will they even want to be around me while I’m going through this?

For now I am taking it one step at a time.  One doctor’s appointment at a time.  I’m reminding myself to be present and be mindful.  That I am doing a pretty okay job with my babies.  They are happy, they are healthy, they are hitting milestones, and seem to love me even on my bad days.

What I do know, that even though I feel the way that I do, I am so SO very happy that I have my babies.  They have shown me such a love that makes my chest hurt from happiness.  My babies make it worth every step I’m taking to overcome PPD.

One and Two

WI have had almost two months to settle in as being a mother of two.  They say that each pregnancy is different and each child is different.  Those statements could not be truer.  Child number two has a completely different demeanor.  Unlike his older brother, he can sleep forever regardless of the noise and commotion going on around him.  There is a sense of calm that he holds and a curiosity that is already filling him during the moments he is awake.  I’m both anxious and excited to see how he will grow up.

Post-pregnancy has been different too.  With my first I struggled with depression – during and after.  It was and is something that I’m still struggling with now.  This time around, I had a great group of doctors and midwives that guided me throughout this last pregnancy.  The terrible thing is most people, just like about depression in general, do not discuss postpartum depression.  Many chalk it up to just hormones.  I know my parents generation would not understand it.

The months following the birth of my first were horrible for me and at that time I didn’t know why.  I’m forever thankful that my son’s pediatrician continued to ask me questions at every well-baby visit.  Without him I would not have met the doctors I have now.

It was also something I kept quiet, only a few people knew about it. I think my husband had a hard time with it and just generalized it as me struggling leaving my son. That was only one of the many factors.

I often would be awake at night worrying about small things, crying to myself not understanding why. I was irritable, losing weight rapidly, everything that would normally give me comfort no longer did, and I did not want to be social. It was tiring hiding it from my family. Since my depression also included other factors outside the pregnancy/post-pregnancy, I didn’t feel comfortable opening up to my family. My body was hurting from the anxiety and stress because I was trying to deal with it on my own.

Even today I’m still trying to figure it out. I have my moments. Luckily my husband is slowly understanding it and I have my doctors to reach out to whenever I start to slip.

Ultimately I want to not only be the best mother I can be for my children, but the best person. I want to be healthy to keep up with them and live a long life to see them grow. Finding that balance as a mother, wife, and my own person is something I’m still figuring out.

How’s that for the first post after an almost 3 month hiatus?