Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Confessions of a Guilty Mum

Warning! This post gets deep and meaningful - If you aren't here for that kinda stuff you can just keep movin'....

Normally I don't get too personal on this blog. 
I make an effort to focus on the positive aspects of my life and not to talk about the "ugly" parts.

Today, I'm going to talk about some not so pretty truths, not because I need a whinge or because I want your sympathy, but because I want to let you know that I don't live a perfect life and neither should you feel you have to. 
Woah! that sounds like I have some dark confession to make! well, I'm afraid it probably won't be that exciting but some of you may have been in a similar position to me or indeed be in that position now. And it's for that reason I wanted to talk about this stuff.

So. Here goes.

I do not have a perfect life, nor do I aspire to have one. Y'know why? 'Cause it isn't possible!!!! 
That's right, there is no such thing as the perfect life only a good life, or at least one that is perfect for you (which I think is the same thing).
Sometimes I read blogs of people who seem to have it all and DO it all. These women cook amazing healthy meals, sew their kids clothes, knit a jumper for hubby, redecorate their homes regularly, are dressed and looking glamorous by 7am, arrange flowers fresh every other day and are generally successful at everything they do. Or are they? Maybe some people are just great at everything. Maybe not.

I think that it's important for us to be able to speak about our failures, and to forgive ourselves for them. This is the most important lesson I've learnt from being a mum.

Forgive yourself, often and completely.

There is sooo much pressure on women these days to be able to do it all, and do it all in style and within budget.
And to be fair, a lot of that pressure comes from ourselves. I'm speaking from experience here people.
I've always been pretty high achieving in my own sort of way, so when my husband and I brought home our first child, a beautiful chubby baby girl, life got messy and so did my sense of self.
All of a sudden I was in over my head, and that little voice called intuition was drowned out by self doubt and other peoples opinions on how things should be done.
It seemed as though nothing I did was right, and in combination with lack of sleep, raging hormones and general frumpiness and lack of hygiene things got bad, really bad.

I was in a serious depression, but I guess I just assumed that it was my inability to cope with normal motherhood that was the problem so I just tolerated being miserable.

When my first child was 6 months old I became pregnant again, not exactly unplanned but not well thought out either.
So now I was struggling with a baby and pregnancy and depression. I kept it pretty quiet - my misery. I felt like it was my fault for being so weak and and such a hopeless mother and wife, so i couldn't possibly expect any sympathy from anyone.
And I didn't realise at the time that it could be fixed, I just thought it was my "lot". I hated waking up in the morning, I didn't want the day to start. I was anxious all day about tiny daily matters that should not have been issues, everything was a huge deal and was emotionally wrenching. It was sheer agony and some days I really didn't want to be "around" anymore.

I'd see these beautiful women with their beautiful families online, having a marvellous time just being together at home and living meaningful beautiful lives together and I couldn't even keep on top of the laundry let alone keep the house looking reasonable (or myself for that matter). I would compare myself to those online Moms just like a teenage girl compares herself to the airbrushed beauties on women's magazines, those heavily edited families where you never see the cracks, fights, burnt dinners and tears.
I just decided that I wasn't cut out to be a mother, that I should never have tried and that it was a character defect of mine.

I was a real bitch to myself

I was really mean to myself, now i think of it. And I expected that everyone else (including my husband) thought just as badly of me.
It took me so long to realise that I was suffering from depression, in fact my second child was about 12 months old before I came clean to my husband and myself and told him that i felt I was a "really bad person" and that I was sure that everyone else thought so too.

That was the moment it all changed. Making my confession to my beautiful husband, I realised that it wasn't me, it was an illness. A mental illness like depression or anxiety is no different to any other illness, your body's chemistry is "out of whack" and it needs adjusting for you to feel well again. I was brought up in a fairly alternative way and had always thought that antidepressants were an overprescribed Multinational ploy, unnecessary doping of healthy people who just wanted a buzz out of life.
I guess i was wrong. I am in no way saying that medication is  the answer for everyone suffering depression, but for me it was an absolute godsend. I am so glad I took a chance on medication, not only for myself but for my beautiful family who deserved a better, happier mum and wife.

Contrary to some thoughts, antidepressants don't make you happy. For me, they have taken away the agonising self doubt, the worry about every move i made or word i spoke, the intense guilt for no reason, the self criticism….the list goes on.

I have never been so happy, or comfortable with myself. I no longer am such a damn bitch to myself and as a result I am a much better person because I am more like me, the me I was meant to be and I'm totally cool with myself now, well almost totally :).

If you haven't ever been affected by depression you can not possibly know what it's like, but if you are feeling what I felt - please go and at least discuss different treatment options with your doctor because life can and should be so much better for you.

All the very best of luck to you

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