Didn’t expect this when you were expecting?
She was exhausted.
She quietly stole a moment for herself as she rested her head on a throw pillow. She reminisced about the carefree and happy memory of picking out the pillow when they bought their first piece of furniture together, a year after they met. As she laid there she realized she was experiencing the same feeling of fatigue she did when she was the top Real Estate agent in Hoboken.
This time the fatigue was from caring for her beautiful new born baby boy Matthew, who became colicky the minute they arrived home from the hospital.
What not to Expect when Becoming a Mother
She had always wanted to be a mother. This desire became stronger when she met her husband. She saw that he was a family man and together they could make this dream of hers come true. She loved the way he took care of his parents, checking in on them daily, doing their grocery shopping when needed and driving them to their doctor’s appointments. She respected him tremendously for putting the needs of his parents first and knew that their family together would be his priority.
When she found out she was pregnant she felt so blessed with the feeling that she had it all; a great career, loving relationship with her husband and now a child on the way. She dreamed of quiet feedings in the rocking chair her grandmother left her, short cat naps while her baby took his, and lunch dates with her girlfriends and their babies. She was glad to finally be in “the mommy club” and looked forward to sharing the challenges of motherhood with her girlfriends, as well as embracing the rewarding moments of being a mother.
Promise to Self
She had promised herself early on in the pregnancy that she would strive to maintain a balance in her life remembering not to lose her sense of self while still being a caring friend, wife, and mother. This promise became difficult when she had to meet the needs of her colicky child. She did not have nearby family to offer support and her parents were presently in their 70’s living in a nursing home.
She began to isolate herself in her home as the stares in the grocery store and bank from fellow patrons became too much for her to handle, making her question her ability to mother her child: “Why can’t I make him comfortable? What am I doing wrong? Maybe I do not know how to be a mom?”
She felt emotionally and physically spent, and frustrated because she could not meet her child’s needs. She hated to say this because she loved her husband and her child with all of her heart but this was not what she expected when she found out she was expecting. She desired adult conversation and some time to herself.
She missed the daily hour of yoga that centered her before she became a mother. She could not remember the last time she wore makeup or dressed up for a dinner out, because it truly felt that all twenty-four hours of the day were dedicated to her son.
Although her husband provided as much support as he was able she found it was not enough to prevent her overwhelming feelings of sadness. These feelings of sadness were nothing she could have prepared for. She never expected to feel depressed as a new mother. She felt ashamed of her depression and the reason it evolved. She could not tell her husband after all, being married to him and having a child together was all she every wanted. She wondered if she would ever feel “normal” again.
Balance of Roles
How do we maintain a balance of being a wife, mother, and friend while caring for our own needs when the needs of our family take precedent?
When can we as mothers tell ourselves that we are doing our best and our best is just that? How can we recognize that these feelings of being overwhelmed, out of control, or depressed are signals that we must care for ourselves to enable our own psyche to be healthy; fueling a healthy mindset toward our little ones? Whether we are parents or not we all have the struggle of maintaining or own identity in the different roles we subscribe to. Is it wrong to want a balance in our lives as mothers?
When relationships and roles begin to take over your own inner identity causing sadness, we must understand that this is normal and it is perfectly okay to ask for help.