Jodi Ciampa is our latest addition to the Identity team. Parenting is difficult and not one parent is perfect. Jodi she will share her insights from One Mother to Another in hopes to give you support on real-life of parenting.
Even if you don’t develop signs of pre or post partum depression, you may still have negative thoughts during pregnancy and after, and this is totally normal. During my first pregnancy, I remember feeling if I woke and my belly was gone, it wouldn’t bother me or if someone told me my delivery was a dream, I wouldn’t care. It was so surreal. With my second, even after it was confirmed by my obstetrician, I took six pregnancy tests because I didn’t believe it was true. Well, if you’ve ever felt this way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It is normal to not feel an immediate bond with your child. It is normal when the novelty of having a newborn wears off and you are so sleep deprived you feel as if you don’t want it anymore. It is normal to feel neglected or cry because you feel out of control for no reason. It is normal to not like your kids or not want to play with them because there are a million other things to do. It is normal to get angry and blow up once in a while, because sometimes they deserve it. It is normal to feel lonely because you have “no one” to talk to. It is normal to clean your house in pieces. It is normal to have no time to take a shower. It is normal to feel disoriented and forget what you are doing before you even do it. It is normal to not want to have sex with your husband (even if he doesn’t think so), and it is normal to feel resentment towards him because it seems as if the weight of the world is on you.
Don’t beat yourself up. My friend’s mother told me, “You make all your mistakes with your first.” and a father of six said, “You are the best parent with your last.” Accept it, learn from it and move on. Nothing can be perfect all the time in time, it does get easier. When you get acclimated to having a baby, life will find a “new” normal.
In the meantime, help yourself feel normal again. Don’t be a martyr. Ask for assistance. Whether it’s from your husband, mother, sister, brother or friend – it doesn’t make you incapable; it makes you human. With my son, I wanted to do it all and definitely thought I could, and therefore did. I never wanted him to leave my side.
I did nothing for myself and became bitter and angry, which caused me and my husband to argue a lot, on top of all the “new parenting” disagreements. Once we had our daughter, I realized I couldn’t do it all and trying wasn’t fair to me, my husband or my children. I made my husband the enemy because I felt his life hadn’t changed a bit. So I began asking for help. I now leave the children at home, if possible, and put myself first once in a while (a small while, but it does make a difference). I still feel as if the scale is tipped a bit (and probably always will), but I know I can get help when I really need it.
Another way to feel normal is to find someone you can share your feelings with. Your husband could and should be a sounding board, but he cannot be completely sympathetic because he cannot relate. If you are a working mom, whether it is part time or full time, talk with women who have children. If you are a stay at home mom, join a support group, gym, social network or just go to dinner with friends. Get involved and connected with something you enjoy. I joined a group called “After Baby Comes,” ABC for short, when my first was 17-months-old. The original motive was to get my son exposed to playing with other children but the bonus was I met many women, some from my own town, whose children were around the same age as mine. From there, I learned a lot about myself – that I was not alone in the way I was feeling. It made me feel normal.
So don’t sit back and suffer thinking you are wrong in the way you feel. Reach out. Only YOU can make a difference in your life. My friend use to tell me how much better she liked her family after a little “break.” You’ll be a healthier mother for it and be surprised how many other mothers have similar or the same feelings as you and, they too, are totally NORMAL.
Jodi has set a goal to write a book and is on her path to achieving it! Please visit her new blog at www.jodiciampa.com.