Hey y’all and welcome. I’ve had a really rough go lately and want to share a bit about it with you all. Generally I am a very happy and mostly content person, but life has been freakin’ hard recently. It’s often a rollercoaster of emotions with a child, but I’ve been on the downhill journey more frequently than an uphill one. So here’s an honest and raw view of my world as as of late…
When does Andee eat? What do I serve her? Has she had enough water today? What about milk? When does she need a nap? When is her bedtime? Is it bath night? Does she need to get some fresh air? Is it too hot for her outside right now? What about the sun, should I apply more sunscreen? Is the temperature in her room okay? Am I calling her grandparents and great grandparents enough? Am I exposing her to enough babies and people while being safe during COVID? Is she doing okay with Gurley (our dog)? Does she have allergies? When are her teeth coming in? What am I going to do for her first birthday? Where do I put all these toys? Is the floor seriously dirty again? What do I get her at the grocery store? How do I prepare this food so that it is safe for her to eat? Is she choking? Is her skin too dry? What’s that bump on her face? Does she have enough clean clothes?
These types of questions literally run through my head constantly. Like 24/7. Making all of these decisions is so overwhelming that it feels smothering at times. And notice that these are only questions pertaining to Andee, not me or anything else. I still have to make sure Keenan and I have food, Gurley is taken care of, that I shower and brush my teeth, that our laundry is done, etc. etc. I once saw a meme about decision overload being so draining for moms and fuck, is it ever.
Partnership with parenting is also incredibly hard. I constantly want to be in control because I am with Andee every single second of every single day, so I know her better than anyone. But I am resentful that Keenan doesn’t do more. I research everything for Andee and make all the choices for her every single day. I change all of the diapers, do all of her (and our) laundry, prep and clean up her food 4 out of the 5 times she eats in a day. I make sure she has clothes that fit and enough diapers and wipes. I make sure she gets her daily vitamin d drops and that her teeth, or gums rather, are brushed. I do so much for her that it is easy to forget about myself. But combine that with a partner who does do somethings, but nothing like what I do, and I start to feel resentful.
Speaking of being resentful… Andee is a great sleeper, so I generally can’t complain. But she does cry out randomly during the night. It’s not a “come get me” cry, just a quick stirring as she readjusts in her sleep. But this wakes me up, sometimes for only 5 minutes and sometimes for several hours. And you know who sleeps right through it…? Keenan. I get up with Andee every morning while Keenan sleeps for an extra hour. I do get one day to “sleep in” on the weekend, but I don’t really sleep well during that time. I get up around 8am as opposed to 6am when I sleep in, but I am awake from about 6-7am anyways, so it’s only like an hour extra of sleep one day a week.
“Go on a date night! Get someone to watch Andee so that you and Keenan get some time to yourselves.” These are things that have been said to me, but the reality is that those opportunities don’t really exist for us at the moment. Alberta has been in several lockdowns meaning nothing is even open if we did want to have a date night. We also don’t have anyone to watch Andee because Keenan’s mom no longer lives in Calgary. And because of COVID stuff, we haven’t really been able to have someone else in our home that isn’t family to watch her.
Combine this with the fact that all of my family lives in the states. So I have zero connection, other than FaceTime, to my friends and family there. My heart is 100% in North Carolina, yet I am stuck here in Calgary due to the boarder closings. My family has met Andee once, but I had planned to visit the states multiple times while on maternity leave. It breaks my heart that I didn’t even get to go home while pregnant. The baby shower we had planned in the states was cancelled. My mom and dad never saw my baby bump. Andee is growing up and they aren’t getting to hold her or hug her. And I’m just stuck here making all the choices and doing all the things to try to keep my family surviving and Andee thriving.
I’m also an incredibly social person. When I am working I probably interact with over 150 people a day, and since having Andee, I am lucky if I interact with four other people a day (three of them through FaceTime). It is so isolating being a mom and so, so hard.
I have been on antidepressants for about six years now, but recently upped my dose because I was finding that I was crumbling. I couldn’t, and honestly still can’t, take all that is thrown my way at the moment. My emotions often turn into rage. I yell and want to throw things. I sometimes just go into my car by myself and scream. I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want to lose control of myself like that. And I don’t want Andee to be around that.
I appear so strong and confident outwardly to people, and I am strong and confident. But I also feel everything incredibly deeply and intensely. I feel so alone and like my home life would fall apart if I didn’t sacrifice myself like I do day in and day out. I can’t help but think what it would be like if I wasn’t so strong or didn’t appear so confident. Would I get more help? Or would I be feeling even worse?
The hormonal and physical changes that occur with pregnancy and child birth are also playing a role into all of this. Combine this with the fact that Andee will be starting daycare in two and a half months, and I feel like I am going to fall apart. I want to be there for Andee every single day, but I also want and need support and my own time. Andee needs her own time too so that she can grow to be a strong, independent, beautiful baby girl. But damn am I struggling.
I don’t write all of this for pity, but to just be real and honest with you all. I would bet that every new mom has experienced some, if not all or more, of what I am feeling. I know it must be hard for Keenan too, and please know this is only my side of the story. But it’s a story I think is important to share. So to sum it all up, this shit is fucking hard.