It feels like yesterday that my daughter was just born. Now she is almost one-year-old.
It also just feels like yesterday, when we found out we were expecting a third baby, shock and emotion took over us. We were so surprised.
It feels like yesterday when I would wake up angry and frustrated every single morning, as I was home with three kids trying to balance this thing we call motherhood. Looking back now, I can definitely see that I was dealing with some postpartum depression. I thought I was okay, but, really I was slowly sinking.
Every single morning, I woke up angry and I went to bed angrier. Nothing seemed to help. I sometimes envied my husband who could at least “flee” to work for some hours and did not have to be home all day with the kids and do all the other household chores that come with being a homemaker.
I was so angry. On the outside, I appeared to be fine but on the inside I was mad at the world. I did not want to admit it, though. What would people think of me? That I am ungrateful. Here I am, blessed to be home with my kids, and yet, I’m complaining while some other moms are forced to go back to work?
One thing I learned so far in my journey of being a mom is that, whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home-mom, they are both challenging paths! You may not realize how tough the other role is until you spend at least a week in their shoes.
I love my children with all my heart, but I was exhausted.
Then I decided to wean my daughter earlier than planned–at 7 months. I am an advocate for breastfeeding and nursed both of my boys until they were 12 months old, but this third time around, it was different. It wore me out emotionally and physically, and the fact that I was not completely stable mentally, it was best to stop. That did wonders. Shortly after she started sleeping through the night, and I was able to get more sleep at night.
In all honesty, the thing that helped me heal from postpartum stress the most was working. Right as I weaned baby girl at 7 months, a recruiter reached out to me for a remote position at Amazon. It seemed like a great opportunity and I happened not to be teaching anymore at the time. I figured “what the heck?” Actually, I was thrilled. My husband supported my decision and we found a mother’s helper/nanny to help me with the kids here at home while I worked upstairs in the office. I was still here at home with the kids and could stop in to check on them anytime. With working, I made new acquaintances and felt like I gained a sense of “me” again.
I was not just mommy.
Eventually, I realized that all my money was going towards the nanny and it did not make sense for me to keep working there, but I enjoyed my time there. Two months later, I had regained my normal state of mind.
A break from the kids allowed me to heal emotionally, physically, and mentally.
I became a better mom. Crazy but so true.
Anyway, the point of this post is that postpartum depression is real. If you are struggling with negative thoughts and emotions, anger, and resentment, talk to someone. Start with your significant other or a friend, but start somewhere.
Take a break from the kids–if possible, take a day to yourself or a few hours even, on a weekly basis. As for me, I realized that when I am working, I am a better mom and wife because I have that time to myself where I am pursuing my interests and utilizing my skills, writing + teaching. I am currently only working part-time, and it has definitely helped with my state of mind.
Moms, let’s stop being judgmental of other mom’s choices. Let’s be supportive. You don’t know what that person may be going through. Instead of judging their decision to work or not, try to be a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. We all need that support system.