I Wanted This Life, So Why Is It Making Me So Unhappy?
It’s 8:42 pm on a Thursday night and I can’t stop crying. Entire body shaking, snot dripping out of the nose crying. I feel numb. Hopeless. Weak. Sad. Like a failure. Like I just want to go to sleep right now. Like I want to give up, but mostly, alone. So completely alone.
I’m not alone. My husband is sitting on the other couch. He’s hugged me twice in the past 20 minutes and said he loves me. My sister is texting me, asking how the day went and telling me a new show on Netflix to watch.
I am not alone by all normal definitions of the word. I have love, and people checking up on me. So why do I feel so utterly and completely alone? Like I’m standing in a room full of people screaming “I’m about to lose my shit!” and no one even sees me. I feel like I’m drowning and no one is throwing me a life line to save me. They’re just watching it happen.
I’m a new mom. I have a beautiful 3-month-old baby girl.
I have postpartum anxiety and (most likely) bits of depression. It feels different every week. A lot of the time I’m okay — tired and stressed, but okay. Then it hits me like a freight train and I lose it. Tonight my daughter wouldn’t nurse very well. She’s been doing it the past two days. Pulling on and off (ouch) and crying but then not staying on. It’s beyond frustrating and I immediately feel like a failure at everything when this one thing doesn’t go well. (Immediately forgetting that she’s been happy and smiley all day and even napping well!)
I want to cry out for help. SOS! I’M LOSING IT OVER HERE. Someone please help me! What do I do? Who do I reach out to?
My friends (who don’t have kids yet) that are amazing and always offer help, but do they get it?
My best friends who live across the country? They know me better than anyone but they’re a million miles away. They’re not here.
My new mom group? I barely know these women and I don’t want them to think I’m weird … or weak. (I already feel like a failure with them because I’m the only one who can’t master baby-wearing.)
My sister? She has four kids of her own to worry about and she’s a big worrier. I don’t want to put this on her.
So what do I do? I open up Instagram and scroll. Looking at photos of “friends” and their happy lives and happy kids. Captions like “the best part of my day is snuggling with my baby.” They have a kid two months older than mine. Am I a bad mom? I should really get off Instagram. It’s not good for me sometimes. But then what would I do I all day home alone with the baby? It’s a connection to the world most days when getting out in the actual world with the baby feels so overwhelming.
I don’t know how to change this cycle. How to feel less alone in this and the guilt of even thinking that is crippling. I love being a mom. I love my baby. We struggled to get pregnant. How could I even feel this way?
I push it down. Finish the load of laundry. Wash bottles and pump parts. Get her dream feed bottle ready. The never-ending pump parts! I think about actually showering (decide against it) and get ready for bed. Praying she sleeps, we are trying not swaddling this week. Please sleep. Please sleep. Please sleep.
Tomorrow is another day.
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