There seems to be a trend going on with mom bloggers lately, and I am not a big fan. There is this ongoing purge of negative feelings & self pity presenting itself in a number of the blogs that I follow. It's not the venting of struggles that I mind, it's that it goes on for weeks at a time, taking over several posts.
Yes, motherhood comes with many challenges. Some we are made well aware of before taking the plunge, like lack of sleep, leaky poopy diapers, and endless mounds of laundry. Others are a complete unwelcome surprise to us, amidst our sleepless, hormonally challenged haze of existence. No one told me it would take me over 3 weeks to heal after delivery (turns out that is abnormal). No one told me that if your nipples are bleeding during those early nursing days it is possible for your newborn to spit up blood all over you. And most of all, nobody told me that some of the choices I would make might be the more difficult routes, and others might make me feel, "Well, this is what I chose. I deserve to be miserable" because of them.
And yes, we should be able to let our feelings out. It is important to feel that we are not alone in our struggles and know that there is someone else out there going through the same thing we are, especially in cases of complications. As moms, we do need the support of other moms instead of the judgment, instead of the competitive glaze of faux perfection leering down at us from upturned noses. But it is also important to let go of the sadness & self pity and move on.
Once we feel that sadness and start feeling sorry for ourselves, it is very easy to get stuck in a cycle where we are actually making ourselves feel worse. And unhappy mommys mean unhappy babies & partners. I'm not saying to bottle everything up or that every day should be sunshine & rainbows. Acknowledge that there is a struggle, get the emotion out, and then move on. Figure out a solution or a way to get past it and find something positive to focus on.
The reason I bring any of this up is because I am finding myself at a strange crossroads that I did not think would have as much of an emotional impact as it is having on me. Since the summer of 2008 I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding. I am finally at a point with my daughter where I have some of my 0wn freedom, however I am halfway through my second pregnancy & I know that the small amount of freedom I have gained is going to be taken away once Baby #2 gets here. If I sit and let it get to me, it can be very depressing. It is easy to slip into that selfish mode and dwell on the fact that I have not been allowed to completely be my own person for almost 2 years. I have been at home alone. We live an hour away from most of our friends & family. It has been very isolating. I miss the simplicities of my old routine, like a morning radio show accompanied by a latte, knowing that I would see the same people every day when I got to work. I miss having clothes that actually fit me and a little extra money to buy ones that do. It could be very easy to let that get me down day after day, and I almost let it. So instead of focusing on what I am missing out on, I need to see everything that I have gained!! I will not add to the overwhelming blog negativity of SAHM's!! Instead, I will post this about my current situation:
I have not worked in almost 2 years, and we are still alive!! Our house has not been foreclosed on, we still have our cars in our possession, and we are not at risk of losing any of those things anytime soon. And had I stayed at my old job, I would have been laid off by now anyway as the office closed. I have not been away from my daughter for more than a few hours at a time, and when I have she has been in the care of either family members or very close friends. I have been able to see all of her major milestones myself. K nursed for 18 months; although it was very trying at times, I am amazed that I was able to hang in there for that long, and she has exhibited many signs that she is all the better for it. And while I will miss being able to be "myself" for a few hours at a time, I also currently miss the bond that nursing brought us & I look forward to having that back with Baby #2. The next few years will be rough, but once they grow up, that is it. This special time I have with however many children we are blessed with is limited & I will cherish it for however long I am able to do so. But I have to take advantage of it now, while I can. There will be plenty of time for lattes and radio shows, but afternoon naps on the couch together are fleeting.
Whatever your struggle, whatever your situation, you are not alone & there is an end in sight. Things will get better, but you have to believe that in order to get out of the negative headspace. You need to see the good that is in your situation as it is now - I promise you it is there.