Postpartum

Supporting All Mothers

I’m going to be very blunt. There are days when I feel like becoming a mother was the dumbest thing I’ve ever decided to do. There are days where I totally want to just walk run away from it all.

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It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I would give birth 100 times, gladly, over dealing with a three year old having one of her meltdowns. I would rather get a tooth drilled than deal with an 18 month old pinching and twisting my nipple while I attempt to breastfeed this child that refuses to wean.

I’m always on edge, waiting for the next thing my kids decide to try. Whether it’s makeup, markers, sticking small toys up their panties, or any combination, they never cease to find something that will push my buttons.

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I sometimes find it hard to believe that there was a point in time that I longed for a baby. I once thought that having a baby would help bring me out of my depression by giving me someone to love unconditionally, someone who would literally need me to survive. It turns out, that’s a lot of pressure to put on one person.

For the first six months of life, I was pretty much solely responsible for my children’s nutritional needs. With one child that took occasional bottles for the first two months and one child that refused bottles altogether, I was quite literally tethered to my children. That’s not to say I haven’t had any help with them. My husband is incredible. He is helpful and very hands on. I very rarely have to ask him to parent with me; he does so on his own. My mom lives nearby, and we often end up at Grandma’s house for long play dates and some adult interaction. She has done more than her share of diapers, potty training assistance, and meals with my kids.

I can’t help but wonder what happens when motherhood is hard– and you have no support. I have seen men shirk their roles as fathers, giving all the stress and responsibility to their partners. I’ve seen women who are single moms, working for every second they can and trying to put their lives back together after a divorce. My heart breaks for them.

My struggles are not singular. Every single mom I’ve ever spoken with has had moments: moments of rage, of all encompassing depression, of loneliness, and of feeling helpless. We all have days where survival seems ambitious and where we can’t think beyond that. (Dishes, for instance, aren’t high on the priority list if you can hardly get through the day.) We all do it. It doesn’t matter if you cosleep, breastfeed, cry it out, babywear, push a stroller, bottle feed, or any combination. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “free range” or “helicopter” parent.  It does no good to judge each other. It does so much good to support one another and to empathize.

One of my biggest tools as a birth doula is trying to meet women where they are. If a laboring mom is scared, telling her to relax doesn’t do much good. Meeting her in her fear, feeling it with her, and helping her come out of that help a lot more. I try to never tell a laboring woman not to scream. I have her bring the tone lower with me, by meeting her where she is and showing her the way.

It makes sense to me to do this with motherhood as well. So right now, I’m angry, and scared, and feeling like a failure as a mother. And I’m working on breathing deep while my support  (my wonderful mom) meets me where I am. She emphasizes. She mirrors what I’m doing and then helps show me another way. Whether I choose to follow or not is up to me.

If you need some support, I’m here. There are mom groups on Facebook. If you’re in my service area, especially, I can get you some wonderful resources, including a postpartum support group and a powerful birth group in South Ogden. If you aren’t in my service area, we can still look together to find something near you.

What kind of day are you having today?

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