When Mother's Day Isn't So HappyRebecca Odes
Mother’s Day is ideally a time for the whole world to bow at our maternal feet and finally acknowledge the myriad ways in which we improve their lives immeasurably. But the reality of mothers’ day does not always live up to ones hopes. Those lovely cards and hugs are followed by the same tantrums and power struggles and crankiness that make up our inherently imperfect lives with children.
Motherhood is awesome, but it’s tough work. I love, love, love being a mother, but when my kids were babies it was a lot harder for me to say that wholeheartedly. I had a tough transition. I was anxious and stressed, and yes,depressed.I was generally just having a lot less fun than I expected.My experience made me want to reinforce to moms that motherhood can be a mixed bag, and that acknowledging the bad parts doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for all the gifts that come along with it.
Which is why I was so happy to have this incredible opportunity to tell my story.
The amazing Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress has dedicated her life to helping mothers who have postpartum mood disorders. To that end, she is holding an incredible online Mom’s Day Rally where 24 mothers write letters to women who are new mothers today.
Here’s what I wrote:
Hey, New Mom.
Yes, I’m talking to you. And I’m talking about you, too, not about your baby. I’m here to remind you that You—the woman, the person with needs and wants and feelings—are still in there, even if nobody seems to notice or care. This may or may not be a matter of concern for you right now, depending on who you are and where you are in the new motherhood experience. But for me and many other mothers I know, that shock of the disappearing self was a pretty rough pill to swallow in the early months of motherhood.
There’s no preparing for it, really. When you’re pregnant, the whole world seems to revolve around your magical midsection. And though it’s not exactly the same as people being riveted to your brilliant ideas, attention is attention. Now, all eyes are on the new baby who’s made his or her way out of your body (with some degree of discomfort). And you, the former center of the universe, may be feeling a little…left out. And/or: Disoriented. Alienated. Lonely. Jealous. Angry. Insecure. Anxious. Depressed. Freaked out. Scared.
See the rest of my letter, and 24 more women’s supportive messages, at Postpartum Progress.