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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The dark side of being a mom

I recently read this beautiful and utterly breathtaking blog post :  I became a mother and died to live and what follows is the response I typed up. This is something I find myself struggling with again, and so reading this was a perfect reminder that I am not alone in this :-)

My sons are 8 and 6. So I am no longer in that frantic new stage, but even so, this post hit home. I didn't cry, but I felt profoundly affected. I'm a Libra, and whether or not most people believe in astrology, this part of it rings true for me. As a Libra, I literally NEED partnership. I need someone in my life. A Libra is also an air sign which "feels" with their mind rather than their heart, so emotions can be hard for me to feel. Especially since I have a grounded and stubborn Taurus moon sign.

When I got married to my husband, it was specifically to attain life goal number 1: to have kids. I didn't party. I didn't hang out with friends very often. I didn't have a self... or so I thought as I spent massive amounts of time reading anything and everything that interested me. I wanted to be spiritual. I wanted to eventually be a mother, and a good one at that. I wanted to do everything all naturally.

I told my husband why I wanted to marry him, and that even though I did not love him (AT THE TIME), I still wanted to spend my life with him. It took me a year to fall utterly in love with him, and I remain so to this day.

When my first son was born, my husband and I lived with my mother. I had tried and tried and tried for years (since I was 16) to get pregnant, and by 25, I despaired that it was ever going to happen. I learned that I was pregnant when I was 32 weeks along, and had Gryffin exactly 1 month later. I loved every moment of the first three months. He was the perfect baby, and I had my husband and my mother to help me. If I desperately needed a nap, I could take it. Then...

Right about the time that I had to admit that I could not produce enough milk to feed my son and put him on formula, he changed. He got colicky. He would scream and cry or just plain moan for hours and hours and never stop. Even though I felt helpless and downright annoyed, I was secure in the knowledge that I could handle this. His colic eventually cleared up and my happy baby returned. I had gotten very close to PPD; I had touched it and waved to it in passing, but I hadn't actually gotten it. I felt like I FINALLY was the person I always wanted to be. I also fell irrevocably in love with my son. It took about a year - the same as it had to fall in love with my husband.

Then we moved. I was pregnant with my second son, and I felt like a hermit. I couldn't bring Gryffin outside to play because I didn't have the energy to get out of bed. He went from never having watched TV at all to watching it as often as I could get him to. After Phoenix was born, I hit something very close to despair.

The ironic thing was that he was not a colicky baby. He would have been perfect... had he not cried every time I put him down. I wanted to try attachment parenting with him before he was born, but I was NOT prepared for a baby who was soooooo needy that I literally could NOT put him down. I fought with him for months! I just wanted him to lay down in his swing and sleep for a half an hour without me holding him! I wanted him to smile and be happy when other people were holding him so that I could go to the bathroom by myself!

I used to have no problems taking a shower with my son, but when my second son was born, I almost gave up showering completely because what was once my sanctuary was now utterly invaded by him! He is a mama's boy like a leech would be proud of! The thing that I had wanted so badly had practically killed my spirit and ground me under its shoe...

It took me 2 years to fall in love with him. I kept wondering when he would succumb to SIDS. I kept wondering why it wasn't acceptable to put your baby up for adoption months after he was born. I realized that being a mom meant that I (extra capital I, also italicized. Kinda like a big old giant I rolling around and around in circles) I was this baby's mother. Even when he cried and cried and cried because I was tired of holding him and my arms ached. Even when I tied him to me and paced the floor for hours because it was the only way he would go to sleep and leave me alone for a while.

Even when my hubby went right to bed and straight to sleep because he had to go to work and support us even though I was sobbing and wondering if going to prison would be worth finally being rid of the incredibly huge burden.

But then one day, I gave in. I surrendered. I couldn't fight the demands of this little person anymore. I brought him to bed with me rather than try to force him to sleep in the crib next to my bed. We went to bed together and I finally got some sleep.


It wasn't enough to banish the PPD back to the nether regions of hell, but it was enough to help me cope. In a lot of way, Phoenix was 3 times easier to care for. Most parents - especially attachment parents - probably would have considered him a star baby. But the me who had been fiercely independent with - or rather dependent on - massive amounts of alone time, she had to die. She had to be replaced with a person who could watch two radiant and bouncing balls of energy zip around the room, climb the furniture, and just generally be 300 times louder than necessary.

At times, I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to be blessed with two much prayed for miracles. But at other times, the me who still needs some alone time - even if it is only for a couple of hours - that me wants to run away. That me wishes I could drop my kids off at my mom's house. Or my mother in law's house. Or any one of my three sisters or two brothers houses and just have a weekend to myself. But I can't. They won't let me. So I have to do it all alone and count the minutes until my husband comes home and I can make up an excuse to run to the grocery store.

It does get easier, but it doesn't. Being a mother is hard! And I for one wish that those super women who CAN manage to do it all AND have a job would stop looking down on us stay at home moms. Just because we occasionally resent the death of who we were, it doesn't mean that we wish we weren't moms. It's still the only thing I want to be when I grow up :-)


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