I walked into Wal- Mart and was putting Ezra into a two tiered shopping cart when the greeter told me “I’m sorry but we don’t allow car seats in these carts”. Grabbing a regular size cart I loaded Ezra in and walked away with the sting of tears in my eyes. It was that moment that I thought that maybe I wasn’t okay. Those thoughts were reconfirmed later when I went into Staples to pick up an order. “We don’t have your order ready yet due to formatting and they might not be ready until later tomorrow”. Again, I walked away with salty water staining my cheeks.
Going into pregnancy I never thought I would suffer from baby blues. I was too happy, too positive to feel so down. Yet 5 months after giving birth I noticed a change in my mood. I had attributed the change to a birth control I had started and consequently discontinued because of the mood change. However a week after throwing the pills away the feelings didn’t cease. I felt overwhelmed with my list of to do’s, less at ease when the baby cried. I craved a getaway and was insanely jealous that Clay was experiencing one at a bachelor party in Savannah. Stuck at home I felt lonely, joyless and frustrated. Was I being dramatic? Were my feelings legitimate or was I being immature? So many thoughts were going through my head, and I was scared; scared of not being able to handle it all and scared of looking like a failure.
It’s true that admitting you have a problem is the first step. I started by telling my two best friends that I thought there was something ‘off’ and continued by telling my small group girls and asking for prayer. I finally told Clay over the phone during his trip in Savannah , hesitant to declare my emotions in fear that it would come across attention seeking rather than genuine. He responded with prayer and told me that he would do whatever it took to help me through this. Knowing he was at my side was encouraging, but the reality of my emotions was still daunting. I felt like I had failed, I was striving so hard to be super mom and super mom doesn’t get overworked by her situation.
I had to realize that it is okay to not be okay. Perfection doesn’t exist, every mother has her struggle and depression is a factor that is out of my hands. It is okay to not feel in control of every situation, it is okay to cry when I am overwhelmed, and it is okay to ask others for help. It is not okay to keep things to myself, to not take them to God and not seek the partnership of my husband. If you feel alone you’re not. If you feel as though you just can’t, you can. And if you feel as though you may be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression seek help. Letting it go because you want to be able to conquer it yourself will only lead you further on a downward spiral.
Motherhood has so many challenges, don’t let the idea of super mom cloud your judgement and allow you to be disillusioned on what motherhood should be. Don’t allow yourself to feel like a failure because of how you feel, you aren’t. You are a mother, a caretaker and nurturer to a child, but that does not disqualify you from taking care of yourself. Motherhood is scary, there are so many unexpected things that knock you right off your horse. But you don’t have to climb back on the horse alone.