Monday, January 7, 2013
Other Mothers Understand
When I wrote my post about being depressed, I wasn't sure how it would be received. I knew (and still know) that what I'm feeling is more common than we all think and one of my main purposes for writing this blog is to honestly disclose things about motherhood that aren't included in the preparatory manual (wouldn't THAT be nice!). Some people got it, others didn't, but overall, other mothers understand exactly what's going on here because they've been there too...
Here's the thing, you guys, parenthood is so fucking hard. And NOBODY TELLS YOU! Before you have kids, you think that babies are soft and snuggly and warm and toddlers are hilarious and cute as they learn to talk about repeat all the four letter words you're trying not to say in front of them. That's all true, yes, and being a parent is wonderful, really, but there are aspect to parenthood that suck so bad and people who don't have kids just don't get it! That's totally fine because that's part of life... you know, learning from experience and you're not ready till you get there and all that jazz... but for me? I wish someone would have referred me to my own blog (then unwritten, of course) where a mother would openly discuss just how HARD all of this is!!
It's true, no one can prepare you for this shit. They just can't. Lots of parents could have told me that I could have two crappy sleepers and basically not get any rest or time to myself for three straight years before both of my children were toddlers and sleeping through the night, but there's no way I could have understood exactly what that would mean until I lived it.
Since writing that post (I'm Depressed but it's not PPD), telling the world that I'm depressed from being a mom (basically) and am struggling to stay afloat while we make it through the next few months till Belle sleeps better and we move and get a room to ourselves, I've received LOTS of incredible feedback! E-mails have poured in, comments have been posted here and on Facebook, and I've gotten a couple of phone calls from concerned family and friends. And, well, that feedback? It's divided. Right down the middle.
Those who are parents (especially mothers), say that they know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. They've been there. They've felt it. They're embarrassed of some of the things they said and did and they too turned into zombie people that were barely present for months, even years, at a time. Those who are not parents, have questioned whether I should stop breastfeeding, start taking medication, send the girls to daycare, and figure my shit out.
Both sides, of course, are wonderful to hear. People love me and love my kids and want us to be happy, healthy, and safe. And, to be honest, the right answer to this depression is probably somewhere in the middle.
On one hand, I really believe this is a typical part of motherhood, in our country at least. In other countries, mothers are given paid time off of work to stay home, raise their kids, and rest. In America? Not so much... Along with that, we don't really have the family culture that provides mothers with lots of support anymore. We no longer live with our parents till they die nor do our mothers-in-law move in for a year after the birth of her grandchild. We also don't have wet nurses, live-in nannies, or maids, for the most part.
We're expected to be SUPERMOMS as soon as our babies slide down the birth canal (you're welcome for the imagery that's nothing like reality), returning to work and/or taking care of our households, our children, our husbands, and OURSELVES (when??) as soon as the discharge papers are signed and we come home from the hospital or birthing center. Well that just SUCKS! That's why this depression has happened. Because I don't have help, I'm expected to work, and no one is doing anything on my behalf!
I'm not complaining, I'm stating fact. This is just how it is in our country at this time in history. It's hard. We're challenged. Some days it's literally, physically impossible to do all that needs to be done and then we question why more people are on psychotropic medications than see movies! We wonder why there's more drug use and violence in America than ever before. We question mothers who beat their children with the television remote control (I'm not giving you a link to that, it was too ugly of a story. You don't want to read it). But ummm... you might go off the deep end too if you felt the pressure to do absolutely everything for everyone and realize that you haven't looked in the mirror to take care of yourself for even three seconds in the past three days.
My sister and I had a date Saturday night. We had dinner, talked about life and love and then tried to see a movie which was sold out so we ended up getting a luxurious dessert at a trendy Denver joint in my old neighborhood. It was amazing.
I did my make-up while giving the girls a bath. I picked out clean clothes to wear (because I had been wearing the same t-shirt and yoga pants for three days) while shushing and rocking Annabelle. I didn't have time to shower. I got dressed after nursing Belle to sleep, while hugging Emma good-bye as she cried that I was "going to work and would see her in the morning". Seriously? It could have been a scene from a movie about parenting hilarity and people would have thought it was an exaggeration! I'm not lying about any of this.
This is real, people. Parenthood is hard. You get lost and then find yourself new and different and fat and tired and busy like you can't even believe and you're not really sure that you like it but you love the little people who made you that way so much it hurts so it must not be THAT bad, right?
No, it's not THAT bad... It's just the hardest thing you'll ever do in your whole entire life and no one can prepare you for all that this entails but I'm trying. I'm trying to deliver a message of preparation as well as commiseration that this is normal and it feels impossible and that you (I, really) am not alone because I know that as I'm running back and forth between my girls' rooms (which, in case you forgot is Emma in her own room and Belle in the master bedroom on our queen-sized bed because she refuses to fall asleep in her pack'n'play and thinks that if we're sleeping in the same room it's because it's actually playtime) from the hours of 1:47am-3:35am and again from 4:28am-5:50am and getting up for the day at 6:06am, I'm not alone. There's another mother out there doing the exact same thing, feeling the exact same way... exhausted, done, with nothing left to give, but singing one more round of "Hush Little Baby" because... well... what choice do we have?