"Sometimes the weight of motherhood is just as heavy as the joy"
Guilt. It is a feeling that all moms feel at some point in their journey. A feeling of helplessness, thoughts of if we are doing this mom gig “right” (Like who defines what right is anyway). At some point or another, we all go through phases of feeling guilty about something. That was me, that is me.
The other day Ryan was just out of sorts, crying all day, nothing made her happy no matter what I tried and I found myself feeling like I needed a break - just a few minutes to collect my thoughts but there was nowhere to go. Then the guilt set in. Painfully heavy. How dare I feel like I need a break from my baby. As a special needs mama, it made the guilt that much heavier. It wasn’t her fault, something was bothering her and I wasn’t meeting her needs. She is non-verbal so it is totally a guessing game and I was losing. I felt so guilty for wanting to just take a few minutes to myself but then again, all I wanted to do was hold her.
I am the type of mom that suffers from extreme postpartum anxiety. I don’t hide it and it is something I battle with on a daily, moment-to-moment basis. It invades my body and sometimes I lose myself in potential outcomes that may never happen or are unlikely...but to me, they are possible. My thoughts during this moment with Ryan were, “here I am asking for a few minutes, begging and hoping for nap-time, but what if I lay her down and she doesn’t wake up...when all I wanted was a few minutes and then it is a lifetime without her.” - what if, what if, what if. A constant battle in my mind with myself. Some say that anxiety is born from trauma of some sort, something we experienced or even witnessed. I am not sure if that's true or not but I do know these fears and guilt are real. What type of mom does that make me, wanting to get away from this tiring moment with my daughter? The guilt of feeling like I need any time away from my baby who finds comfort in me on her hardest days, it feels terrible. I deeply love my kids. I want nothing more than for them to feel nothing but love from me. It is 100% possible that on this day...where I was feeling trapped and overwhelmed, that Ryan was feeding off my emotions, thus, making it worse for both of us.
She finally drifts off to sleep, I instantly feel relieved and just cry. I am crying because I am tired, because of this huge cloud of guilt, because I feel like I don’t deserve to be this amazing child’s mom because of how I felt. All I wanted at that moment was to pick her up and hold her tight, remind her that I love her no matter how hard the days. I just watch her sleep, watch her chest rise and fall so peacefully. She’s perfect.
After confiding in a close friend, I realized it’s okay to feel like I need a moment to myself to collect my thoughts. It is human and doesn’t mean I love my baby any less for needing just a moment. Being a mother is so hard, your tired is tired, you live on caffeine, yoga pants and hope that you are raising good humans. I am here to tell you, you are not alone, you are a good mom even when you need time away - self-care is important and you can’t fill the cups around you if yours is empty. We are their safe place, and they are ours - even if we do need “just a minute”.