To the Momma who thinks her kids would be better without her…
It’s not true.
I have been thinking about this post for a month and just feel I need to write it. The holidays are tough. There’s extra stress and anxiety and events. There’s someone out there who needs to read this. To know she is enough. She is the perfect momma for her kids.
This is my story…
I haven’t struggled with infertility. I didn’t have traumatic births. My marriage is special. My family is the best. I have spent my whole life dreaming of being a mom, caring for my babies, and raising up little ones.
Even with all that though I was silently struggling. I figured it was just the sleepless nights with a 6-month-old and a toddler that struggles with anxiety. It all was just getting to me.
I had a short temper. I yelled. I was frustrated. I would lay on the couch counting down the seconds until my husband got home. I said no to playdates. I made excuses for why we couldn’t do things.
“It was easier for my toddler to stay home.”
“That’s during the baby’s nap time.”
“I have to work.”
The excuses were endless.
Looking back I was burying myself deeper and deeper into a dark, lonely hole.
Then I hit bottom. I was having a constant battle within myself to not drive off a cliff. I convinced myself that it was a normal thing for exhausted moms to feel and I was fine. It was normal I kept telling myself. Some days being a mom is tougher than others. Some days you just want to bang your head against a wall.
And then it happened again. One time I stopped the car in the middle of the road because I was so scared I was just going to snap and drive right off the road praying I’d die.
I had told myself I was a terrible mom and my kids would be better without me. I saw my husband playing with my girls and making the baby giggle and knew he would be an amazing daddy to those precious babies and they didn’t need me. I told myself I was permanently harming my kids by not being the best mom I knew I should be and that they needed, but I didn’t know how to change things so it would just be better if I wasn’t around.
It was tough. I told no one.
For months I fought this battle and tried to figure out what to do. I stopped driving certain routes scared I might just actually drive off the cliff.
It was an everyday battle.
I still laughed. I still loved my kids. I thought I was just having some tougher days than others.
I was living my dream. Being a stay-at-home-mom with two amazing girls.
But it wasn’t normal. I was a hermit. I hated life. I didn’t want to play with my girls a lot of the time. I didn’t want them to remember me as a bad mom who sat on the couch so I’d rather just die so they could have the happy memories of me. Make it an accident I told myself. No one has to know.
One day I was watching Emily from The Freckled Fox‘s Instagram Story and she mentioned struggling with postpartum depression after one of her baby’s and it hit me. Depression runs super heavily in my family.
Maybe I’m not crazy?! Maybe it’s an actual medical thing?!
I did some research and worked on paying attention to how I was feeling and when I was stressed how it affected me and my ability to be the best mom I wanted to be.
Some moms cry a lot. Others don’t feel much love towards their new baby. Others get high anxiety about little things. Some just disengage from life.
I thought PPD was just crying a lot and hating your baby. I didn’t deal with that so I didn’t even think I could be dealing with postpartum depression.
I knew something had to change though and started looking into daycare hoping that being away from them for a few hours a day would help me be a better mom when I was with them.
I will admit it has not been easy and this is a battle I’m still facing every day, but I finally got help. If you know Emily and a little bit of her story, you know how incredible she is. Her husband died after a tough battle with cancer with five little babies at home. And even though she has every reason to say woe is me she just wants to help others and share her story.
We were at a small retreat in October and stayed up talking till 3am one morning about the importance of taking care of yourself especially when you have postpartum depression. She helped me understand that medications are not admitting failure, it’s realizing you go through seasons of life where you just need a little help and it’s a chemical imbalance.
The day I flew back home from Utah I called my doctor. I got on medication and started seeing a therapist weekly.
I finally talked openly about my rough patches with my husband and told my sister. That was step one and SO GOOD. As soon as I had people to talk about things with it’s like my world changed. I wasn’t alone anymore. I didn’t have to face it alone.
If I know I’m having a tough day, we can talk about it. I can take a walk through Target by myself or call up a friend to hang out with.
I quit my job. Joined a gym. Read books. Do less social media. Do more of what makes me happy.
And I realize taking time away from my kids is not being a bad mom. It’s being a better mom. I need that time to be the best version of me.
It’s just a season of life and not necessarily what my life will look like from now on.
And maybe that’s what you need too.
If you are struggling, please know that you are not alone.
The people around you love and care for you so much. I have learned that first hand since talking about things.
You are STRONG.
You are ENOUGH.
You are the PERFECT mom for your babies with all your faults and imperfectness.
If you are struggling with postpartum depression or just are having a tough time, please reach out to someone. Talking about things with people closest to me has been the number one best thing that has helped in this battle.
Getting on medication was the second best thing. I’ve always struggled taking medications of any sort. I just hate that these little pills can chemically affect and change the way I am. But it’s been so good. It’s weird how it took the edge off of things.
I started noticing a change within a few weeks of starting my meds and my husband noticed within about a month. I’m more present, more engaged, and a better version of me.
If you don’t have someone to talk to, below are some resources to help you. First off, you need to make yourself a priority.
Sleep is crucial. Rest as much as possible. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Go to bed early.
Get help for things that have to get done and remove everything else from your mental to do list. Ask your partner, family, and friends for help. Hire help. Order meal delivery.
Fill your cup. What makes you happy? Do more of that. For me, I would stroll the aisles of Target for hours after the baby went to bed at night.
Most importantly, seek help. Start by telling your spouse how you’re doing. Call your doctor. Find a counselor. Tell a friend. Do not suffer alone.
Struggling right now? Call the national mental health helpline. It’s confidential, free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They will be able to provide you referrals to local support and information.
Don’t want to talk on the phone? Download 7cups app. I found it so helpful to know there was always someone available to talk to me if I really needed them.
Remember, so many moms have been down this road. You are important and special and your kiddos need you. If you’d like to connect, come say hi on Instagram @theamandagarvin. You are not alone.
You do not have to go through this alone. You are amazing and strong and your babies need you.
I know this isn’t my normal upbeat DIY post, but thanks for letting me share a little piece of my story. It feels so freeing to have this out there and not something I need to hide. If this just helps one person it will be worth it.
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