Dear Mama: if you feel this, you are not alone….
To all the Mama’s (new and seasoned) who are out there scouring the internet looking to see if what they are feeling is normal…it is.
After the birth of my first daughter, in the wee hours of the night, I would shamefully scour the internet. Not searching for baby products or cute outfits for my baby, but rather searching for validation.
Validation the feelings and thoughts I was having were ‘normal’.
I felt like a complete and utter mess.
And the shame I felt in feeling the way I did; was almost unbearable.
Thoughts of apprehension, doubt and fear would swirl through my head:
“What did I do?”
“I’m so lonely, tired and I miss my pre-baby life”
“Why don’t I feel an instant connection?”
“Why am I not enjoying this? Am I normal?”
“Do other Moms feel this?”
I tried to silently justify my feelings to myself. It will pass. It is the hormones. It is the lack of sleep. All the while trying to fend off a plague of guilt for feeling utterly broken at a time when everyone tells you having their baby was the “best thing that ever happened to them”.
I began questioning if I truly wanted to be a Mom. Not that I had a choice now, but my mind would doubt my decision.
I wasn’t enjoying it like all my friends said they were.
I loved my baby but I also felt resentful, frustrated and had bouts of anger that I did not know I had in me.
I truly began to believe I was a bad person for thinking these things.
I really missed my freedom.
I felt like I did not know who I was anymore.
My relationship with my husband was different. Almost foreign.
I didn’t feel sexy.
I felt so… ‘functional’.
When I could not get the baby to stop crying my nerves would quiver.
The anger at times I felt was intense and coated in shame.
Uncertainty and despair rushed through my blood stream, as I tried to embrace and understand my ‘new normal’. I felt like a stranger in my body, in my emotions and in my life.
The unknowns were overwhelming me.
I spoke to my Doctor about PPD/PPA as I have a history of depression. This was not it.
People would ask how I was managing and I would passively say “oh surviving…taking it one hour at a time” insert smile and little laugh here.
Yet, I was silently drowning in loneliness, loss of identity, self-doubt and all-consuming feelings of guilt over the “wrong” thoughts I had swirling through my head.
Even writing this brings up feelings of guilt and shame.
But through communities like Unapologetic Motherhood I am learning and giving myself permission to start shedding this shame.
My ‘baby’ is now 3 and a half years old and we were blessed with a rainbow baby in 2021. And although the second time around, I was more emotionally prepared than I was the first time around; I still continue to have moments that I need to ‘grow through’.
The thing about Motherhood, whether it is your first, second, third, fourth or more…. Is that it is a constant evolution of the soul.
The emotional transformation into motherhood is just that.
It is a transformation.
Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Like any major life transition, there are going to be feelings of apprehension, regret, fear, and uncertainty.
The only difference about motherhood is it is a transitionary period on steroids, that continually ebbs and flows as your family continues to grow.
Full of doubt, uncertainty, fear and growth.
Mama, if you are reading this in the wee hours of the night, and are feeling guilty for some of the thoughts you may be having, please know, you are not a bad mother.
You are not a bad person.
It simply means you are going through the most transformational time of your life.
Allow yourself grace Mama.
Allow yourself to feel all your feels and give yourself permission to go through your transformation – however this looks for you.
As Maya Angelo so beautifully said “we delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Even in the moments you feel alone, please know, you are not alone Mama.
Lora Devries is a Nature-loving Mother of two beautiful little girls who combines her social work degree with her passion for writing and holistic wellness to support others in living a more intentional life aligned with their values. Lora lives with her husband and daughters on Vancouver Island, Canada. She is an advocate for emotional wellness, eco-therapy, biophilic aesthetic and intentional living. You can follow her on her blog, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.