10.20.2014

Dear stressed out mama: Just hang in there

It's been a trying week.

Heck, maybe it's been a trying two minutes. I'm not judging.

You want to throw in the towel. You are wondering what on Earth you got yourself into when you procreated this tiny little human being and doubts are swirling in your head — how did you ever think you'd be good at this whole motherhood thing?

Maybe your baby is two days old, maybe your baby is 14 years old. Regardless of how much time has or hasn't passed, one thing is certain: you are on the verge of breaking down and you're no longer questioning whether or not you're a terrible mother, you KNOW you are.

And it's not enough that you've just succumbed to some of the most berating, intimate and heart-wrenching feelings a mother can have. Now, you're going to slip into the next stage of self-loathing — the one where you think about how much better everyone ELSE is doing as a mother and how you're never, ever going to be able to compare to them. And how unfair that is, because you love your kiddo so much and they deserve so, so, so much more than you, the world's WORST mother, can provide.

But this is where I'm going to stop you. I want you to stop all those thoughts you're having and I want you to focus on that last sentiment. Your mind is in one of the most fragile states it could possibly be in — you feel like you might never stop crying, like you might snap, like you might really be done for good — but you're not actually worried about any of those things, are you? You're not worried about how all those other perfect mothers are going to whisper about you behind your back. You're not worried about having to tell your spouse that you might really be done for good.

No. Instead, you're worried about all of the damaging, scarring things happening to your beautiful, perfect baby because they are stuck with you as a MOM. You're worried about whether they'll be a loving and gentle parent one day to their baby, because maybe you raised your voice too much, let them cry it out too long. You're worried they'll be unable to face the challenges that come their way because you weren't able to be strong and sturdy for them.

You get that? You are worried about THEM, even when your mind is barely grasping at sanity, your mama-bear nature is still buried in there somewhere and is rearing her big ole' stubborn head.

And thank the Lord for that.

I promise you, you're not done. I promise you are not the worst mama in the whole wide world. I promise your child is still going to think YOU make the moon sparkle and the sun shine. I promise this will get easier. I promise this will not be your last battle, there will be many, many more. And I promise you will make it through those, too. Even when you really, really think this might be it, the crying might break you, the tantrums just might win, I promise they won't. I promise you'll remain strong. I promise you'll get through this. Really, you will. I know I'm some stranger on the internet, so you're probably thinking "she doesn't get it, she doesn't know how bad of a mother I really am, she doesn't know, it will not be OK."

It's going to be OK, mama.

The first two weeks of Braeburn's life, I stayed up all hours of the night, sobbing in the dark while I nursed my son. He was SO good at breastfeeding, it was a dream compared to the ordeals we faced with Pearyn. He was such a good baby. He had big, sweet cheeks and all he wanted to do was nuzzle my neck and eat and eat and eat until he passed out. And he wanted to do this every hour. Sometimes, just as I put one breast away, he was ready for another. And while my baby longed for my scent, my touch, I longed to just put him down. Just for an hour or two. I longed for it to be easier. I willed him to sleep more and nurse less.

And when none of those things happened, I sobbed.

I sobbed because I wasn't a good mother; good mothers were excited to be breastfeeding their big, healthy baby boys. I sobbed because my nipples were raw and bleeding, which was further evidence that I wasn't a good mother; good mothers knew how to unlatch their babies from their breasts so they wouldn't be sore. And I sobbed because my perfect little boy had the most imperfect mother.

As mothers, we have this bad habit of idly suffering as we struggle to live up to the standards we think every other mother is soaring past. When in reality, all of us are treading water at some point. In reality, all of us are barely getting by, at some point. In reality, stressed out mama, we've all been exactly where you are right now, at some point. And at some point, you'll be consoling another mother for this very same thing.

Last week was a struggle. Between working, coaching and trying to be everything to everyone, all while smiling, mind you, I found myself down and out. I just needed a minute to myself. Just a break. A quiet, simple minute where I didn't have to think and I could enjoy my coffee in peace. So I hid in my closet. That's right. I'm a 29-year-old mother and I hid in my closet from my two-year-old son. He was riving and screaming and five-minutes deep into a tantrum to end all tantrums and I hid in a closet from him for two minutes so I could take one sip of my coffee without tasting my own salty tears. And then I took a deep breath, put my best mommy face on and picked my child up off the hallway floor just five feet from my closet. We were both worse for the wear, but that wasn't because of my two minute coffee break, it was because we'd been feeling this way for a while and we just had to get it out.

It doesn't ever get easier. You don't just unlock the magic key to solving all of your baby's problems. And even when you're doing an absolutely phenomenal job as a mother, you still think you're failing. No matter how much you're rocking it as a mom, you won't ever realize how amazing you really are.

I promise you, stressed out mama, you ARE amazing. Even if you feel like the world just ate you up, regurgitated you and then chewed you up some more, you ARE amazing.

And this moment you're in right now, where you don't think you're good enough or you're not sure if you'll make it out alive, it's just a moment and it will pass. And even though another one will inevitably come, it will pass too.

And somehow, you'll be on the other end of this letter.

And you'll be telling another stressed out mama that she's going to be OK. That she really is the absolute best mama in the whole wide world for her baby.

Just hang in there.

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4 comments:

  1. Thank you. THANK you. I needed this today more than ever.

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  2. This was exactly what I was looking for. It helps to know were not alone!

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  3. I just stumbled upon your blog today and this was the first post I read. You're so brave to reveal your struggles. Thank you. We all feel like this at times. It's good to know we're not alone.

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