Motherhood has a way of making you feel not “Normal”.
Even if you don’t develop signs of pre or post partum depression, you may still have negative thoughts during and after pregnancy, and this is totally normal. During my first pregnancy, I remember feeling if I woke and my belly was gone, it wouldn’t bother me or if someone told me my delivery was a dream, I wouldn’t care. It was such a surreal time in my life. With my second child, even after it was confirmed by my obstetrician; I took six pregnancy tests because I just didn’t believe it was true. Well, if you’ve ever felt this way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!
It is normal to not feel an immediate bond with your child. It is normal when the novelty of having a newborn wears off and you are so sleep deprived that you feel as if you don’t want it anymore. It is normal to feel neglected and cry because you feel out of control for no reason what so ever. It is normal to not like your kids or not want to play with them because there are a million other things that need to be done. It is normal to get angry and blow up once in a while. Believe it or not, sometimes they deserve it. It is normal to feel lonely because you have “no one” to talk to. It is normal to clean your house in pieces. It is normal to have no time to take a shower or let alone brush your teeth. It is normal to feel disoriented and forget what you are doing even before you do it. It is normal to not want to have sex with your husband; although, he won’t think so. And it is normal to feel resentment towards him because it seems as if the weight of the world is on you.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. My friend’s mother told me, “You make all your mistakes with your first.” and a father of six said, “You are the best parent with your last.” Accept it, learn from it and move on. Nothing can be perfect all the time and believe me when I tell you IT DOES GET EASIER. When you get acclimated to having a baby and your children begin to become little people, life will find a “new” NORMAL.
In the meantime, help yourself feel normal again. Don’t be a martyr. Ask for assistance. Whether it’s from your husband, mother, father, sister, brother or friend – it doesn’t make you incapable; it makes you human. With my son, I wanted to do it all and definitely thought I could but because of that attitude, I ended up having to. Then I became bitter and angry because I did nothing for myself, which caused me and my husband to argue about that on top of the “new parenting” disagreements as well.
I made my husband the enemy because I felt his life hadn’t changed a bit. Once our daughter was born, I realized I couldn’t do it all and trying wasn’t fair to me, my husband or my children so I began asking for help. I now leave the children at home, if possible, and put myself first once in a while. (A small while, but it does make a difference.) I still feel as if the scale is tipped a bit (and probably always will), but I know I can get help when I really need it.
Another way to feel normal is to find someone you can share your feelings with. Your husband could and should be a sounding board, but he cannot be completely sympathetic because he cannot relate. If you are a working mom, whether it is part time or full, talk with women who have children. If you are a stay at home mom, join a support group, gym, social network or just go to dinner with friends. Get involved and connected with someone or something you enjoy. I joined a group called “After Baby Comes”, “ABC” for short, when my first was 17 months old. The original motive was to get my son exposed to playing with other children but the bonus was I met many women, some from my own town, whose children were around the same age as mine. From there, I learned a lot about myself especially; that I was not alone in the way I was feeling and I finally realized I WAS NORMAL.
So don’t sit back and suffer thinking you are wrong or alone in the way you feel. Reach out. Only YOU can make a difference in your life. My friend used to tell me how much better she liked her family after a little “break.” You’ll be a healthier person and a more effective mother for it. You’d be surprised how many other mothers have similar or the same feelings as you and, they too, are totally NORMAL.
Note: Jodi is the Founder and CEO of From One Mother to Another Magazine. You can visit her site HERE!