My second child turned 18 months old recently.
I heard that going from one child to two was life changing, and not always in an enjoyable way. But you don’t really get it until you are in it.
Life changing is an understatement.
This transition changed me on every level. My body, mind, passions, relationships, level of tolerance, and overall functioning completely changed.
To this day, it has been the hardest transition I have been through.
I thrive on structure and routines. When I don’t have these things, I feel overwhelmed, unproductive and out of control.
Looking back now, I realize I started to experience a real inner conflict because I felt like I lost myself to being a mother.
In the first few months of being a mother of two, I spent all my time taking care of my boys. Making time for things I wanted to do by myself and for myself went out the window. And I became pretty miserable.
I was crying to my husband on a daily basis over the struggle to manage two kids. The overwhelm I felt seemed inescapable. I was extremely agitated and restless.
I would spend the very little time I had to myself searching online for full-time jobs. To ship my kids off to someone else all day seemed like a dream.
I finally approached my Dr. about how I was feeling. He put some things in perspective for me, and encouraged me to try meditating, exercising, and most importantly, finding time out of the house by myself at least a few times a week. I agreed that I could make an effort to try these things out. We agreed that if I didn’t feel better in a month or two, I would check back in with him.
Always the good student, I tried everything my Dr. recommended. I was meditating for a few minutes at night, exercising three to four times a week, and trying to spend a half hour or longer out of the house by myself when I could.
I still felt pretty crappy. One morning I was doing the dishes and my son did something, I can’t even remember what it was, and I completely flipped out screaming at him. I actually scared myself at how much anger and frustration I felt within me.
After putting him in time out, I went back to doing the dishes. I was crying over the sink. I was crying over my guilt for how I treated him, but I was also crying because of how scared I was of myself. I started to think that maybe I should call my Dr.
Never in my life had I made a phone call for help like this. I was so nervous because I knew that I was feeling some sort of post-partem depression and the next step was probably medication.
With my heart pounding, and tears streaming down my face, I turned the faucet off, found my phone, and dialed my doctor’s office. As I explained to the nurse how I was feeling, I was holding back my tears. She told me she would talk to my Dr. and have him call me back. I quickly told her that he had mentioned to just call if I needed a prescription and he would write me one.
She must have heard the desperation in my voice because she put me on hold for less than a minute and came back to tell me he was calling in an anti-depressant to my pharmacy. Her voice was so caring. She asked if I was OK and if I needed immediate help. I told her just knowing I could take something made me feel better.
I immediately picked up my prescription and started it that day. The first few days I felt kind of groggy and I was scared that the medication would make me feel worse. But soon I was feeling less on edge, more patient and more optimistic.
Because I was feeling less agitated and overwhelmed, my kids weren’t acting out as much so it made parenting easier. I felt more at ease and finally found the idea of being with my kids all day more enticing than being away from them.
Slowly, I started to feel like myself again. Over time I started incorporating things I wanted back into my life. I placed a bigger importance on sleep and exercise and tried to make these things a priority.
Would I have made these changes without the help of medication? Maybe? But I was at the point where I knew something HAD to change and I needed some help. I'm glad I made that choice to for myself and my family.
As women, we often take the weight of the world on our shoulders. We don’t want to ask for help. We made the choice to have our kids, or take that job, or move away from our family, so we should be able to deal with all the inconveniences that come with it, right? We shouldn’t “burden” other people when we can do things ourselves.
But what this does is burn you out and make you a lesser version of who you want to be – for yourself and as a mother, wife, friend, sister – whatever role you take.
Whatever you are struggling with today, I encourage you to take that step and reach out for help. Make that phone call if you need to. Do it even if your heart is pounding in your chest and tears are running down your face. You deserve it.
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