Did I seriously not even blog in August? I feel like I have been letting my readers down in the past, well, six months I guess. That’s when my posts went from weekly to monthly, or less. In fact, it’s not just my readers I feel like I have been letting down, but also my friends, my family and myself.
I have always been the type to try to do it all, and it has been causing me some major burnout lately. I have the best of intentions, but that doesn’t always materialize. Instead of getting lots accomplished, I have a lot of half finished, half-assed projects and a whole lot of clutter, both physically and mentally. This has led me down a path that I thought I had managed to escape. But in the past week or so, I have been led to a realization that has been an underlying fear since before I even became a mother.
I think I’m depressed.
Those of you who know me, really know me, know that I have struggled with depression off and on for much of my life. I had a tough upbringing and have always attributed it to that. But this is different. This time I have no real reason to feel this way. I have an incredibly wonderful and supportive husband who not only loves me unconditionally, but somehow manages to make me feel beautiful and appreciated when I feel the least deserving of those things. I have two beautiful babies who bring so much joy to my life. Yes, they challenge me daily, but their sweet dispositions overshadow any grudge I could possibly hold as they move through their soul searching, rebellious, gain independence and show the world (okay, Mom and Dad) who I am and what I want phase. I am proud that I have kickers and screamers and not quiet, obedient puppets who regurgitate rules I have set out for them and only know how to blindly follow, instead of coming to their own conclusions. Yes, I am grateful for this. But yes, it gets exhausting.
I also like to hold my baby, A LOT. We bedshare and she spends the majority of her day attached to me. That also gets exhausting after nine months. Some days I get frustrated when she clings to me. Or that she cries if I put her down, even if it’s only to go pee or get myself a glass of water. Some days I long to put my feet up and read a book and just have no one ask me for anything. And shamefully, some days I don’t deal so well with that frustration. Some days I yell and the second the words are out of my mouth I am consumed with guilt. I feel anxious, irritated, tired, overly emotional, overwhelmed and finding it hard to get much of anything accomplished these days. I have almost completely given up on doing anything for myself. This blog, photography, eating healthy, working out. All things that used to fulfill me, have all gone out the window. Some days it feels like it’s taking every ounce of my energy just to get dressed.
So today I go see my doctor to talk about Postpartum Depression (PPD). Shit, that’s tough to say out loud. There is a wave of guilt that swallows me up whenever I think about it. Don’t I love my babies enough to just forget about feeling stressed? Don’t I know how fucking lucky I am to have them? Aren’t they enough to make me happy? But that’s not how it works.
It’s been tough to admit, both to myself and to all of you. But the reality is, it’s more common than you might think. And I can’t deny it or beat myself up over it any longer. Because ultimately I deserve to be happy and feel like myself again. And they deserve to grow up in a positive environment, with a mother who is happy and patient and caring and doesn’t take out my frustrations on them, their innocent faces looking up at me wondering what they could possibly have down wrong.
Admitting I need help doesn’t make me a bad mother. Continuing to live in denial won’t accomplish anything. It’s nice to have good intentions, but it’s not enough. I want to be the mother and person I know I am deep down. I want it to be easy to be that person again. I want every day to not be a struggle. And I am the only person who can make that happen.