I have to start by saying that being a Mother is both one of the hardest, but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Did I mention it was the hardest?
Being a parent definitely isn’t easy. But at the end of every day, we get it done. Some days are easier than others.
I think every new mom goes through those times, where occasionally they might think, “How will I ever get through this?” or, “Am I even doing this right?”
I usually think this when Bruce is having a “no nap” day. Or is up all night teething, crying with pain at the top of his lungs. As a parent, I think those times hurt me emotionally more than it does him psychically, because I can only do so much to try to ease his suffering, and beat myself up more because I can’t just make it go away.
Not to mention those days, where even if the baby is happy and all smiles; you still may fall behind on chores and errands, and become so busy with other things, that stuff that you really need (or want) to do just isn’t accomplished. And stressing out about these things can really take a toll on you, both mentally and physically.
Shoot, even just a normal day can leave you exhausted and even feeling a bit down.
Postpartum depression affects an estimated 10-15% of new mothers (This is a number going off those who seek treatment). It is treatable, and important to know the signs and talk with your Doctor when you feel you may be experiencing it. However, I am not a doctor, so I won’t go into the details of the condition itself. Instead, what I do want to mention, is just how important it is that you connect with the Mother’s in your life and see how they are doing.
Call your friend who has just had a baby. Take her a hot meal, clean up the kitchen, run a load of laundry for her. Play with the baby while she gets a shower. Talk to her. When you’re cooped up with a newborn all day, you don’t get much adult interaction, and you need to be able to have a conversation outside the realm of dirty diapers.
This not only applies to mother’s or newborn’s, but all really, no matter what age of their children. Humans are social people, and sometimes we don’t even really know how much we require the interaction until we haven’t had any in awhile.
And like all habits, once you’ve fell into a routine of just taking care of the homefront and the littles, or even just working a job all day and then running the household at night – you become used to it. Reaching out for another adult to conversate with can be so out of the ordinary, that you never think of it, or even actively seek it.
But I think we need to start checking up on our friends and family who have children. Stop by the house and see what they need help with. Go out for coffee (or better yet, take them coffee!). Plan shopping trips. See how your friend is doing.
Because the sad fact is, and the reason it fell on my heart to write this, is because some of our fellow mothers are suffering from this condition. And losing their battles.
And no, having coffee with a friend and discussing how the baby may have kept them up all night isn’t the end all cure for PPD…but it’s a start. Because first, we need to be able to talk. And realize that maybe something isn’t quite feeling okay with ourselves. We need to find someone to talk to…and listen.
A really good quote that I have found that I think applies well here, is that,
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change