I think that being a mom for the first time rocks, but seeing my husband, even just the smell of him, makes me feel upset.
I think that being a mom for the first time rocks, but seeing my husband, even just the smell of him, makes me feel upset.
My mother had a history of bipolar illness, that is the reason why my doctor advised me to undergo therapy to be able to handle the possibility of having mood swings right after or weeks after giving birth.
Not all pregnant women may experience moodiness, but what if you do?
Every trial is God’s priceless gift to me that He patiently wrapped in fears and miseries, boxed in anxiety, tied with a plain-colored ribbon, with a card on top saying, “You can do it, my precious daughter, I am with you!”
My Millennium Bug
Seventeen years ago, as everybody was fearing the millennium that was approaching because of the threat of the Y2K bug, I never thought that it would hit me earlier than expected.
My husband out of nowhere packed his things and left us without a word, and my youngest son who was very close to him got depressed and fell ill.
I distinctly remember how I listened to every tick of my watch, stared at the wall of the hospital, walked to and fro the hallway hoping for good news, and then the doctor came out breaking the news no one wanted to hear. The inevitable had happened. I will no longer see my son go to school because I had to walk him to his grave, the most painful phase of my motherhood journey.
I thought that was all, but no, God was not done yet. Another surprise came a month after, another sad news. My mom had a heart attack and was declared DOA.
At that time, I was a single mom of three kids, and since my mom passed away, I also got to take care of my sick dad.
Anxiety And Depression Kicks In
Months passed, and still, I got these sleepless nights. Every night was just the same as all the others. I just tossed and turned on my bed trying to catch that elusive sleep, but all my efforts were of no use. I couldn’t go on that way, so I went to my doctor who gave me some sedatives. I avoided my caffeine and took herbal alternatives, which were supposed to induce sleep but all to no avail. The best they provided me was 2 to 3 hours of sleep.
Is this stress? I hope so.
I turned to read my Bible as I lay awake in the middle of the night, listened to gospel songs because they comfort me, and prayed that whatever I was going through, I hoped God will cure me.
Sleepless nights were then followed by hot and cold flashes and night sweats. I felt afraid and, in panic, I just cried and cried. My doctor finally told me that it was anxiety disorder combined with depression. “Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of ‘I really don’t think I’m going to be able to cope with this, maybe I’ll just give up.’ It’s shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing,” said David Barlow, PhD, director of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.
It explained the sleepless nights. According to Katie Hurley, LCSW, “People struggling with depression are likely to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.” My doctor then gave me some more medications and said that we should be able to identify the triggers to address the problem adequately.
Acceptance Is Never Easy
For someone who often looks down on mental health issues, this is nothing easy to take. It was another blow, but I needed to accept and embrace my doctor’s suggestions for it’s the only path I know that would help me get on the road to recovery finally.
Julian Humphreys, PhD, PCC, wrote, “[T]he more open and accepting we are about what’s really going on with us, the more likely it is that we will find healthy defenses that contribute in sustainable ways to our own and others’ long-term growth and development.” I needed to be healed because I’m a mother, a daughter, and I had a small business to run.
Have you heard the news about mothers killing their own newborn babies? You’re probably wondering and asking yourself why and how can a mother do such thing to a helpless baby.
During my pregnancy, I gained a lot of weight. I knew that I needed to eat more for my baby’s health’s sake and for me, of course.
At times when I could feel my baby kick, I would be so elated and excited that she’s growing up inside me healthy and strong. I would sometimes caress my tummy with my hands in front of the mirror and talk to her. I could say that she’s happy inside, too, but as I looked at how I big I got, worry started to peep in, and I got anxious. Will I get back to how I was before?
“As any woman who has ever been pregnant knows, there is an intense focus on weight throughout pregnancy,” clinical psychologist Alexis Conason, Psy.D., wrote. “From the first visit with your OB when you step on the scale and are given a prescription for how much weight to gain, all the way through the postpartum period when your body is scrutinized for how fast you drop the baby weight, pregnancy can be a difficult time for even the most body confident woman.”
“Few new parents have accurate expectations of how much their lives will change after the birth of their first child. The physical and mental exhaustion, and the constant attention newborns require, leave virtually no time for the individual pursuits or relationship activities that had characterized their lives previously,” wrote Guy Winch, PhD.
First time moms have many fears, and one of these is the fear of breastfeeding.
“A mother’s milk currently reigns supreme in the ebb and flow of what is the scientifically-supported, publicly favored infant feeding practice in our country. “Breast is best” is the ubiquitous chant that joins the chorus of physiological benefits supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” wrote Lauren Montgomery, MA.
Hours after giving birth to my eldest child, I woke up with a feeling of heaviness in my chest. I panicked and called the nurse immediately. She came and told me that I had produced milk. It was time to breastfeed, and so she brought the baby to me.
I’ve read some stuff about breastfeeding, but reading was very much different from me actually doing it. My anxiousness made me forget about those things, and I suddenly didn’t know exactly how to do it. How will I hold my baby? What if I fall asleep, I was still feeling exhausted at that time, and I was afraid that I might not notice his fall off the bed, or I might accidentally lie on him. Crazy thoughts began to play tricks on me.
The nurse might have sensed my nervousness, and so she guided me and reminded me of what I was supposed to do.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding
To calm me down while I was breastfeeding, she told me some stuff about breastfeeding.
It worked! I was able to do my first breastfeeding session without falling asleep because my nurse stayed by my side throughout the process, reminding me of stuff I should know about breastfeeding. When the baby fell asleep, I felt some relief in my breast. The nurse told me she would send someone after I got some rest.
Hours had passed, I got my nap, and another nurse (I thought) came in, a lactation consultant they called her. She re-oriented me about breastfeeding so I will be more comfortable with it. She told me that it’s natural for the first-time mother to feel anxious and panicky, but she said I would eventually get used to it.
The Pain of Baby Latches
Latching may be one of the most excruciating pains of motherhood, but a good latch is crucial in a mother-baby relationship. It helps lessen the mother’s risk of developing sore, bleeding, and irritated or abraded nipples. A good latch allows the baby to suck effectively, feeding himself an adequate amount of milk.
Help Your Baby Latch On
It is essential to know your baby’s feeding cues. Giving your breast at the early phase of hunger cues will make it more convenient to get the baby on the breast properly. There are steps you can follow to get a good latch.
Hearing my baby cry still puts me into a panic even after a week of feeding him. So once my baby latched on to my breast, I made sure that I hear him swallowing to be assured that he’s sucking the milk. Seeing him relaxed after feeding makes me calm down, too.
The pain a first-time mom feels often puts her in a state of anxiety and panic, especially when it comes to baby feeding. The lactation consultant who re-oriented me on breastfeeding helped me much, and as days passed, I got used to breastfeeding. There may still be some pain at times, but the joy surpasses all the pain.
According to Robert Muller, PhD, “Every woman’s situation is unique. Lifestyle habits, medication use, and medical and psychological history can complicate the post-partum experience. With this context in mind, the healthcare team should provide a comfortable environment — free of judgement — when discussing post-partum issues, including how to provide an infant’s nourishment.”
Every mother should look at breastfeeding as a beautiful experience, a great bonding moment with her baby that she will treasure forever.
With all the exhaustion you encountered during labor and delivery, the journey of motherhood does not stop there. In fact, this is just the beginning. You will continue to experience sleepless nights and tiring days of nursing and taking care of your bundle of joy. Thus, conditioning your body is necessary, and this is possible through proper nutrition.
I will never argue with you if you say that motherhood is entirely the toughest job in the world. No one will understand it more than you do. You know it is not just about carrying an unborn child in your womb, and it is not also about the instant birth you just did. It is something that you will have to deal with in your entire life. It is your life-long responsibility as a human being. Having said that, it is genuinely acceptable that you sometimes feel the world’s burden. However, never underestimate the power of you being an ultimate mom.
You Probably Have Done This
A lot of individuals might not get it, but your love for your family and kids is way beyond anything. The truth is, almost all mothers like you are more than willing to sacrifice their lives only to keep their loved ones safe. What is more convincing is your attitude of always prioritizing your family’s needs instead of thinking about yours.
Psychiatrist Mark Banschick, MD, wrote. “There’s so much about raising a child that is simply out of your control; and yet, there’s so much that you invest.” He added, “If you are healthy, the love pours out, regardless of their strengths and limitations,” emphasizing a mother’s unconditional love for her children. There is no room for exceptions when it comes to loving each of your children, and giving everything for them.
“A woman may hear how motherhood will change her life forever,” wrote Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW. “Indeed. But what is often not said is that some of these changes will be profoundly disquieting, often launching her into a crisis, the likes of which she has never known.”
Being a mother, you are not always perfect. However, you have the attitude of trying to work things out no matter what the situation is in front of you. You often think about others feelings. You value your principles, and you want your kids to learn that. You show respect to people because you want to set as an example for your children. You are worthy of your word.
Another great thing about you is your ability to handle situations magically. You can turn a broken piece of glass into an art. You can do things all together. You can find valuable items that are missing for like years. You can create delicious food out of small portions of ingredients. Honestly, you can make something out of nothing. Sometimes, you have the power to control time, depending on your situation. You are no superwoman, but you do things according to what most superheroes on television can do.
As a mom, your power comes from your unconditional love. You can change things according to their greatness and betterment. Yes, some of your decisions are sometimes inapplicable to situations, but you always make sure to create it with compassion. You bring happiness inside the home, and you fulfill everyone’s needs. You are essential in the family because you care for them as no one will ever will.
The best part of your power as a mom is your ability to shoulder the entire burden that is harassing your whole family. Anything for your children is a possibility. Nothing stops you from giving them their emotional and mental needs. You do not care if you lose yourself in the process as long as you protect and keep the family safe from any harm.
Like what Meredith Resnick, LCSW, said, “Motherhood changed my life on so many levels I still have the tendency to say it’s made me an entirely different person. But when I stop and think about it, a more accurate description is to say it made me move beyond the person I thought I was supposed to be to finally see and find and accept the real me.” Your power as a mom is endless. These things are only an inch of what you can do for your loved ones, so never underestimate it.
There is this belief that mothers are the one person that has the right to their kids. A lot of these women tell people that it is their legal entitlement because they are the ones who bore and suffered for nine months until the delivery of their kids. But, is that enough reason to become over-insensitive towards the children’s emotional and mental development? Is that enough reason to validate mothers’ negativity and toxicity in children’s’ lives?
THESE SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN
Mothers Abandon Their Kids Without Explanations – Whatever the reason there may be, mothers should not abandon their children no matter what. Not only will the circumstance create damages to the emotional and mental health of children, but it will also affect their view of the people around them. Children will become less concern about others’ feelings since their mother neglect and abandon them.
According to James Sorce, PhD, and Robert Emde, MD, “In an ambiguous situation, a mother’s physical presence but emotional unavailability engenders displeasure and inhibits her child’s exploration, whereas her emotional availability has a significant effect on the infant’s affective, social, and exploratory behaviors.”
Mothers Strictly Decide For Kids’ Future – One of the things that most inconsiderate mothers do is deciding for their kids’ future. It is acceptable that parents have the right to say no when their kids’ behavior and actions are hurting their future. However, there is a restriction to that part. Mothers should not decide for their kids because success is never achievable when things associated with it get poorly executed. Meaning, when kids are not confident in doing what they do, they will never reach their goals no matter how much they try and pursue it.
Instead of weighing your child with expectations, child psychologist and mother, Francyne Zeltser, PsyD, said none of the decisions you make for your children are set in stone. She advised moms to pull back and observe, if you have been pushing them too hard, “You are your child’s best advocate and the ball is in your court. There is no “one size fits all” to education, so trial and error is your best bet.”
Mothers Control Their Kids’ Emotions – When children feel sad, they should be allowed to feel that way. Same goes when these children feel angry, agitated, and confused. It is very inconsiderate that mothers control their kids’ emotions only because they don’t want them to become open about their weakness. So instead of mommies trying to take care of their kids’ emotional well-being, most of them deprive the young ones of self-regulation. This circumstance will not only affect kids’ emotional part but also damages the psychological aspect too.
Not Allowing Their Kids To Become Who They Want To Be – Most mothers are authoritative. In most cases, they are more in control with their kids’ life decisions compared to some fathers. The particular issue creates an impression to children that their lives are not theirs. Most mothers do not care and often think that what they do is only for the benefit of their child. They did not know that not only they take the children’s happiness away; they also become the cause of these kids’ unfortunate overall imbalance.
Mothers Love The Kids With Certain Amount Of Conditions – A mother’s love is unconditional. It does not take anything in return, especially from their children. However, when there are cases that mothers want their child to repay their sacrifices, then that is not an appropriate way of loving. It is the parents’ responsibility to take care of and love their children without anything in return.
Love may be reciprocal, but always consider there are more appropriate ways of showing love. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, said a parent’s example of love and gratitude trickles down to children, so when parenting gets too tough remember: “Do what you do for your kids with an open, generous heart or don’t do it. Don’t expect that you’ll be repaid with effusive gratitude or even good behavior.” So if it is not like that, then perhaps it has nothing to do with love.
Even though people think they know so much about life, there are a lot of discoveries that need understanding. That includes knowing the things that mothers are not allowed to do.