I hung my cape up a few weeks ago. It seems that motherhood has pulled the thread of togetherness from its seams. My cape was starting to unravel, like so many other aspects of my life have done in the past. The "blues", or what really looks and feels like shades of gray, seeped through the tiniest of happy cracks my life had and barricaded what little light was attempting to shine through. The world became dark. Fast.
By now, this is the part of the post where a few of the people reading it begin the ugly comparison of their life to mine.
"I have X amount of children and I get it done."
"I just gave birth and feel blessed to be able to have a child."
"I work hard everyday and come home and work even harder."
"Get over yourself!"
"Is it really that bad?"
To them, I say, nothing. This post is not about justification, acceptance or approval. This post is a metaphorical couch; one that sits in an office with the blinds drawn completely shut and directly across from someone with a fancy degree who listens to any and all of my problems. In other words – this is my therapy.
This feeling of inadequacy, when pertaining to motherhood, has been lurking for weeks. I just finally decided to turn around and look it straight in the face. If I was taking steps, this would be the first and probably the most important one – admitting. I have identified the "funk" that I am in, I have taken ownership of it and I have given it a name.
I wish I could say that these two words were an intimate mother-child moment where a single gaze in her baby's eyes, mimicking the bluest of waters, filled the world with endless joy.
I wish I could say it was a soulful song written by a musical legend and sung at a local spot with the crowd fully enthralled by the lyrics and the strumming of a bass guitar.
But I cannot.
Instead, my baby blues have made an appearance on several occasion, often in disguise, and have managed to strip away some of life's simplest comforts. Suddenly, leaving the house or even getting showered have become giant hurdles in the race towards happiness. There is a feeling of defeat before the battle is presented.
Imagine a roller coaster ride, if you will. Before you enter the line, there is a gigantic ball of emotions nestled deep within your stomach, just as you experience before becoming a parent. Your excitement is often taken over by anxiety, anticipation and fear. The roller coaster ride looks enjoyable and you have always wanted to ride it. However, you begin to second-guess your ability to overcome this obstacle and step away from the ride.
Then, your support system steps in. Your friends and family all encourage you that the ride is going to be awesome. They pull you into the line, give you a pep talk and even hold your hand if it will make you feel better.
As it nears time for you to get on the roller coaster, those same feelings begin to close in, surrounding you like a swarm of bees ready to attack. Instead, this time, your fear of letting everyone down takes priority over the dread you have for riding the roller coaster.
Instead of going with your gut, you hop on the ride. And off you go...
You experience it all in an instant. So much so, you haven't even taken the time to enjoy the views from the top of the ride. You forgot to look at the world around you. The blessings. The love. The miracles.
And then, the ride stops. Off you go, taking away the same feelings of uncertainty that accompanied you when you first stumbled upon this attraction.
What should you be feeling?
Why aren't you enjoying this like everyone else?
When will this feeling stop?
Baby blues are a roller coaster in the amusement park of motherhood. The one you DON'T want to get on. You notice it. You challenge it. You overcome it. You never want to ride it again.
But once you get off of this emotional roller coaster, you walk around and notice that there is fun to be had in other areas of the park. There's the merry-go-round, the swings, a few games to test your skills and even a delicious candy apple to bite into. Motherhood is the same way.
Baby blues are different than postpartum depression. The "blues" are less severe. Often time, baby blues can be cured with a simple dose of alone time, a quick drive, time with your girls or maybe some retail therapy. It's more about managing your time, asking for help when you need it and letting go of any part of life that tends to be overwhelming. It require faith, hope, patience and support from others to heal.
Before you go hiding your knives and scissors, it's not that serious.
There are just days when I feel like I cannot do it all...and I don't. I now realize that motherhood and parenthood were never meant to be easy. I just have to find a way to balance all that is thrown my way. It may not happen immediately, or even at all, but I know that every time I give my children love, I'm doing enough.
I love my boys and they love me back. I just hope that what I'm doing for them is enough to dim the spotlight hovering over my failures as a mother AND as a human being.
I believe I am. But I can always do more. Especially if it will result in this:
One last note – don't be ashamed! If you take nothing else away from this post, know that you are A) not alone and B) not judged. Finding the courage to expose your flaws has always been a sign of strength, in my book. You'll only begin to heal when you finally uncover the wounds and let the air breathe hope into your recovery process.
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