We had our first child when my husband was a third year medical student (read: no paternity leave and long hours at the hospital). We lived 2,000 miles away from family and none of my friends had kids. I read all the books and still felt clueless when it came to parenting. How hard could it be right? Oh I was so naïve...but here’s what I learned. I learned that there are 10 different ways to get your child to go to sleep (I swear none of them worked on mine) and that everyone has an opinion-“oh you need to put a blanket on her! Where are her socks?” What no one tells you about being a mom is how hard it is. I remember friends saying to me, “Isn’t it just the best being a mom?!” How was I supposed to answer that question? I hadn’t slept more than four hours in two days. My daughter is constantly crying. I’m not producing enough milk. I don’t remember the last time I showered or what that stain is on my pants. I don’t feel like myself, but sure yeah, I love being a mom. Of course I really did love this precious baby girl. I was so scared that something would happen to her. That I wouldn’t be able to meet her needs. That I’d fail her.
Ah yes, my relationship with failure comes back once more. I’ve always been a high achiever. By the time I was 30, I had two master’s degrees and 2.5 kids (pregnant with our third). But I married an Army physician so my career took a backseat to his. I am incredibly happy supporting him in the role of primary parent and homemaker. I’ve never felt less than because he is the main breadwinner. But I have felt forgotten. Overlooked. Scared. Scared that most of the responsibility of raising our babies is on me. What if I screw them up? What if they hate me or our family? What if I fail them?
Have you felt like this? It can be so overwhelming. It debilitates some and throws others into anxiety attacks. It causes some moms to withdraw and medicate their feelings with alcohol, shopping, or food. It doesn’t have to be this way. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. To encourage you and tell you, sweet sister, you got this. You’re not doing it wrong. Let’s talk about those fears. Let’s talk about what’s stopping you from claiming joy in your life. Let’s talk.