Seeing as it’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s discuss where I stand on mental health.
As some of you may know, and if you don’t, I suffer from anxiety. This became real to me in 2012, and I have done so much to get to where I am today.
When I became a mom for the first time, it came with a lot of unknowns. This doesn’t do well with me as I am a person who prepares for life changes. I like to have things orderly, structured, and in routine. This was a way I managed my anxiety, and I felt so uneasy walking into such a foreign place in my life. Parenting wasn’t something I knew anything about. Making life decisions for such a little life seemed overwhelming to me on top of hearing everyone’s advice left and right on how I’m supposed to raise my child. Co-sleeping/independent sleeping, when to move them into their crib, whether to breastfeed or formula feed, when to wean them off the bottle, or the soother, etc ( I could go on and on). Judgement is a fear of every mom, whether you’d like to admit it or not, and for someone who suffers from anxiety, this does not come easy.
I decided that once I felt confident in my decisions, I could take the questions. This all came easy, except for the monster question – are you breastfeeding? This created such a battle for me when I was raising Simon. No, I had made the decision not to breastfeed. However, this was not by choice. I wanted to nurse him, but I also needed to care for myself in order for me to care for him. This did not come easily to me and I landed up slipping into post-partum depression for a short period of time. With talking with my doctor and really leaning on my husband for a lot of the support, I was able to walk past it and become a great mom to Simon.
Making the decision to have another child was something we bounced around. Were we ready to go through those tough months again? What happens if I go through those roads again of anxiety and depression while juggling 2 kids? In June we decided we’d give it a try and we were quick to succeed. We were going into parenthood again but little did we know this would take us down a different road we have never been before.
As I posted earlier, the latter month of my pregnancy took a turn. Who knew that my anxiety would be tested in a different way. Sitting there taught me a lot about being patient, but was I ready for the patience needed when I got home? Was I ready for the decisions I once again need to make with fear of judgment? This time, I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted to be focused on it and invested 100%. I could do this. I could be that mom people felt I should’ve been the first time were thoughts I had, and continue to have. Did I feel I failed as a parent by formula feeding my first child? Absolutely not. Simon’s a great kid and he would be no different had I nursed him. But avoiding the question of “are you nursing?” was something I needed this round.
I strongly feel that the breast is best, but I have to again be careful how invested I am in it. I find myself to be a quick-results person, naturally and it’s difficult to change that mindset when it comes to breastfeeding. I very easily find myself dwelling on the bad days instead of looking at the progress made. I see moms full-time breastfeeding by the time the child is a week old, where I am sitting here struggling every day just to get my son to latch long enough to get something out of me, and then when he does, it’s never enough and wondering when I should give this up. This is a daily struggle of mine.
My anxiety doesn’t just stem from being a ‘perfect mom’, but in so many other areas of my life. I think I strive to always find acceptance, and that’s something that has taken me years (and I mean years) to accept. I know I am not a perfect person by any means, but I do my best to get through every day with positivity and knowing that tomorrow is a new day.