Wednesday, February 26, 2014

{secret struggles}

I promised i would give an update on what's been going on in our home the past 3 months
This post is going to be a bit different from my usual post
Why? Because I'm going to be very honest
Not that I'm not honest in my other posts, but as a blogger (& as a person in general) you only broadcast the happy, because that's what seems appropriate. 
So no one knows what is REALLY going on in your life, whats behind the smiles, what happened before & after the picture. 

I've been working on this post for about a week... i wanted to make sure i wrote the right words, i don't want to come off the wrong way, but i feel like sharing my experience these last few weeks might be helpful to some one out there. I feel like it is still an imperfect post.. i had a hard time finding the right words... so bear with me
A friend posted a link to another mamas blog the other day, where she described her experience as a first time mama. I read it & immediately thought, Oh my gosh! This is me! This is my family! That is my baby! This is EXACTLY what happened to us. It was encouraging to me to read her post, & to know i wasn't the only one out there. Reading her story gave me the push i needed to finally post this.
But before i do, here are some photos of my sweet kids that i love so so so SO much
So here goes

As new moms, (especially young mamas like myself) everyday we are faced with so many challenges. First of all, raising & meeting every need for this little human (or humans!) that has the ability to go from sweet to devil child in a matter of seconds {Having a 2 year old is totally new territory...} Then we have to get used to the changes in our bodies, our lives (staying home, going back to work) our marriage, our friendships. And to top it all off, we are then subjected to the ongoing judgement of our friends, family, & other moms. Especially other moms. It seems that anymore, every question is laced with Judgement of some kind. "Are you breastfeeding? Bottle feeding? Pumping? Will you be going back to work? Staying home? Baby wearing? Co sleeping? Cloth diapering? Is your baby sleeping through the night? Will you be doing the Cry it out Method?"  
Every mom has an opinion on the way things are "supposed" to be because of her personal experience with her child. I am soooo so guilty of this. I've caught myself giving advice when it wasn't requested so many times. You know you've done it too! After having a baby, we all think we're experts.
It wasn't until we had our second child, Liam, it hit me how truly different every baby, family & situation is. There really is no perfect answer.
for example,
In a world of Cry it out & don't cry it out, I found myself somewhere in between both times, but especially this time. Liam is a lot more needy than our daughter was... adjusting to life with two kids is so much harder than i ever thought it would be... the first 10 weeks, I spent every day not knowing what to do, feeling so exhausted, depressed, alone, & SOOO over hearing crying (!!!!) Liam only slept 10-20 minutes at a time day & night for 10 weeks... It didn't matter if he was sleeping in the pac n play by our bed or if he was in our bed right next to me, or if i was sitting in the rocking chair with him strapped to my body.... he woke up seriously every 20 minutes, Tops, & he would cry non stop for hours... Then during the day, he wanted to be held constantly & ONLY by me, so I had him in a baby wrap strapped to my body at all times... it was exhausting & i didn't have any personal space at all... I was seriously losing my mind. We also found out Liam had a bad tongue & upper lip tie, which lead to 2 bouts of masitis for me...On top of all of the stuff going on with Liam, our daughter turned 2 & suddenly became a monster! His constant crying & neediness had caused her to feel a little left out.. after being potty trained for 8 months, she suddenly reverted back to peeing in her pants at least once a day... She fought going to bed, & started waking up at night again screaming. So we had two kids up all night...
Cry it out sounded so appealing at times, but i just couldn't do it, I couldn't leave my boy to cry...even though i resented my extreme exhaustion..
I also refused to accept help from family members who offered.. i am the WORST at accepting help. I don't like feeling like i can't handle it. In this situation, my pride had taken over..
 But the truth was.. i couldn't handle it  by muself... I was losing it.
I was angry, mean & depressed.
Nothing was making it better...
I felt like i was the worst mom EVER
I had become resentful towards everything & everyone, including my husband., which is not a good thing at all.
I was angry that he was able to leave the house & get away from the children & their constant crying..
I was angry that he was able to have a conversation with other people, a real conversation...& not about peppa pig, or the pee puddle on the floor, or time out, or the many reasons the meal i just made is "yucky"...
I wanted him to feel like i did...exhausted, battling mastitis, over stimulated, & depressed.
I remember one night, he came home from work so exhausted. He smiled, wrapped his arms around me, & told me he missed me & I just looked at him & said "I hate our children.. & I hate you too" And i went upstairs & went to bed....
Mean right?
I still can't believe i said that. It haunts me to this day..The look on his face... oh my heart.
My sweet husband.. who works 50-60 hours a week providing for our family... putting up with angry strangers & other stresses at work.. & I had just told him i hate him.
& our kids.. I didn't hate them.. i was just angry & i hated how i felt
Stress & exhaustion had turned me into a monster, I was a completely different person.
One day, giuliana told me she didn't like me anymore... it made my heart hurt... i walked into another room & cried & cried..
I wanted to tell her "I know baby... I don't like me either.." 
But i knew that wouldn't fix anything, & she wouldn't understand..
I had become a person i didn't like
A person that didn't care
I avoided leaving the house because, as much as i wanted to be around people, i just couldn't do it
It was too much
Friends and family would call & i wouldn't answer the phone.. I didn't want to talk to anyone
I had nothing happy or nice to say..
I had entered into a place i never thought i would.
I was completely & utterly overwhelmed & depressed
That same night, i texted my husbands aunt, I asked her to pray for me because i was completely lost and vulnerable.. I didn't know what else to do... I couldn't stop crying...

The next day, my husband encouraged me to reach out to my doctor and tell him how i had been feeling, & i am so glad i did
With my doctors help, along with the continual love and encouragement from my amazing husband & family, & their prayers,  I am finally myself again.
And it seemed that as I started to get better, everything around me started getting better too

I was able to handle Giuliana's tantrums calmly, & after about a week, they stopped!
When Liam woke up 100 times at night, i was able to get up & be ok
He now sleeps 1-2 hours at a time at night {Hallelujah!}

I'm finally able to be the mom & wife I feel I'm supposed to be
& it's because i finally reached out asking for help

My point in writing this post is not to complain or to scare anyone
My point is to let some one out there know that they are not alone
& that you are NOT a bad mom because you are struggling to adjust to the changes
& it's ok to reach out for help!

Being a mom is so hard!
& If anyone tells you it's easy, they're lying
Even if they look perfect, & they're kids look perfect, you don't know what goes on behind closed doors
Every parent has their struggles
yet, like i said, we all want to appear to be the expert, the best parent

Being a mom is one of the hardest things i have ever done
But it is also the most wonderfully rewarding thing i have ever done
I love my children, more than anything in the world!
& I love my husband, he is my rock,
I thank God for them every single day
Everything we have gone through as a family has made us stronger, the positive AND the negative

I know this post is all over the place, but, it was a hard one to write..
I hope this helps some one out there
Just remember, we're all human
& it's hard
But as long as you love your babies, your husband.. your family
you are doing a great job

We all have our secret struggles
but God doesn't put you in situations he thinks you can't handle
everything happens for a reason

You are a great mom
& you will get through this


xoxo

19 comments:

  1. I will pray for you and you sweet family! Don't forget to add Jesus in the mix. Actually, He should be at the top of the list. He is there for you always. You are a great mama!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for sharing this this! As hard as it had to be for you, this will help so many other moms!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful post - you are definitely not alone and I'm glad you were encouraged to reach out for help. I've got a 20 month old and I'm only now sort of starting to forget the tough times (which lasted for about 16 months for me - none of this "he'll be better at 6 weeks/3 months/6 months" crap). Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ashley thank you so much for posting this. I'm 23 weeks pregnant and have an 11 month old and I'm scared to death of what will happen in the coming months. You have given me hope!!! Thank you so much for that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hang in there Momma! It really does get easier....then, when they need you less (like mine do), you'll long for days when they needed you for everything. Here is a piece of that well-meaning, unsolicited advice (like you mentioned earlier)....but....during our darker days, when I couldn't find any peace and was never left alone, every time my kiddoes came to me for another and another and another need, I sighed and began my response with, "I love you so much!" Those words always helped me begin in a better frame of mind. And, it also melts your heart when they surprise you by immediately saying it right back! God bless you all!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ashley, THANK YOU for your honesty in this post. You are so right - motherhood is hard!!! My husband and I have a beautiful little boy who was born in May. In January, we made the decision for me to become a SAHM, and it has been much more challenging than I thought! It's hard to sacrifice your own needs 24/7/365 for someone so demanding. They don't mean to be, but babies are demanding! I have definitely had those moments of saying harsh things to my husband and then apologizing for it later, because I definitely didn't mean it, so I know where you're coming from on that front. On top of that, my son has recently decided that naps are not for him, and at 9 months, that is just not working! He needs to nap, or he is just miserable, and then makes me miserable. So, that is an ongoing battle in our house right now. Driving me crazy! I am so glad you were able to talk to someone and get your emotions sorted out. It's something I have been thinking about looking into, as there are days where I really struggle and can't seem to get it together!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I applaud you for writing this! I think a lot more of us Mommies go through it and don't let anyone know, or in my case don't realize they're going through it because we are so utterly exhausted we can't even think straight! Going from one to two definitely was a huge adjustment and challenge and I felt like it took me so much longer than everyone around me. I had the same exact feelings you wrote about and I don't miss those first few months at all. Things will get better! You're doing a great job! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have seen some dark days as I adjusted to becoming a mom and after reading this, I sat back and sighed and thought, "it wasn't just me." I have the most amazing, supportive husband but there have been days since I became a mom, that I have never felt so alone. We live thousands of miles from each other but hearing your honesty about your struggles makes me feel a sense of community. Not only am I encouraged by your post but I am feeling humbled because after the hard days passed for me, I am ashamed to say that I have at times shown arrogance and judgement towards others, thinking that I have it all figured out. I want to always be compassionate and not forget what the hard days were like so I can show love and encouragement to those mamas who need it most! Thank you for your honesty and willing to share. I can't tell you how touched, encouraged and humbled I am. So happy to hear that your days are getting easier! God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so proud of you for finding the courage to write this post! I'm still trying to muster mine to post of my recent bout with PPD. My kids are 4, 2 and 9months. My 2yr old is constantly sick, he's had 5 hospital stays in his short 2 years, not including the times he was very ill but I got to keep him home. When I had my third child my life became a tornado of emotions! There were days I would cry to my 4yr old about how I was such a bad momma and that I was so sorry. He would start crying to and tell me that I wasn't a bad mommy. Like you I have an amazing husband, but one day I got so angry at him that I punched a door and broke it. That was my wake up call. I'm not an explosive person by any means, I deal with stress by praying, shopping or crying lol. Things are sooo much better now by the grace of God! If you ever need a friend you can email me! I totally understand!

    Dusti

    thelipkinlife@gmail.com
    thelipkinlife.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! I'm not even a Mom yet and this post almost made me cry at work! Your honesty is going to help people! Thank you, good job, keep it up, and (from someone else who has a hard time accepting help) keep reminding yourself to be open, SO THAT you can be free :) It's a system God designed. Hoping that Jesus and the Holy Spirit brings more peace and flow to your home from here on out. *hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful post, Ashley! It really hits close to home for me. My second is on the way, but when my first, a little boy (named Liam!), was born, my husband was deployed. I spent the first 3 1/2 months completely alone. I didn't enjoy ANY of that time. Every day was "I just have to make it through today". He was much like your Liam is now. Nursing what seemed like (and some times literally was) every 5 minutes. He also had a tongue and lip tie that we didn't find out about until he was 10 months old. He grew like a weed so no one thought twice, and I certainly didn't know to check! It was the most exhausting and difficult 3 1/2 months of my entire life, and I'm pretty sure I cried every single day (and especially night). He is now an incredibly sweet and energetic 18 month old and it truly is so rewarding to watch him grow and learn. But I felt like such a terrible person when people would ask me how I was enjoying motherhood and I'd say something along the lines of "I'm not". I was ready for the exhaustion but not everything else. I loved reading your post because it's so honest and because it really is so nice to know that I'm not alone in how I felt (or feel sometimes now or undoubtedly will feel in the future). I think most of us know we're not alone, but no one ever really talks about it. So, thank you! Really, what a great post =)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for writing this. It was just what I needed to hear. I have #2 on the way, due in October and a 4-yr-old daughter. She is great and I know things will change when the new baby comes. This is a reminder for me to take each day one step at a time and do my best each day. If I mess up, tomorrow is a new day.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So sorry you had to go through all of this, but I am so glad you were able to reach out and get help and that you are brave enough to share your experience. I'm so happy to see pictures of your beautiful kiddos again!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you. So much. You've helped me a lot, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to say all of this so I wanted you to know you did help someone out there, just like you hoped you would.

    I feel so many of the same things you do, but all I ever hear from friends and colleagues, from random strangers at the supermarket, from the mommy bloggers I follow, is "isn't motherhood just the best feeling?" and "aren't you just exploding with joy every moment you're with your baby?" That is a really high standard to live up to, and when I stop and think, I have to suspect that surely motherhood is not that way for many, many people. But when that's all you hear every day, you start to think perhaps the fact that you're feeling tired, burned out, or resentful might mean your a horrible person with not enough love to give.

    Thank you for admitting that it's just not that easy. You've reassured me that just because I'm struggling doesn't mean I don't love my child or my husband enough. It just means it's hard.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ashley, so proud of you for sharing your heart with us. Motherhood is hard work. It's all the time, non-stop. I'm so happy that you were able to talk to someone & that things are looking better for ya'll. Hang in there Mama!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am a first time mom. I'm typing this at four o'clock in the morning as my husband and 5 month old daughter sleep. My daughter is also very needy and clingy, so this is the only time I get to myself. I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing. Your post was so relatable that I actually teared up while reading it. Your honest story is a reminder that other women are sharing a similar experience and at times have similar feelings. Being a mom and a wife is indeed very hard at times, especially for those of us who have trouble accepting help from others and difficulty handling change. I'm glad that you are finding your balance and just wanted to let you know that your post was comforting and encouraging :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Loved this post - being a mom is the best & hardest job in the world (and I only have ONE!). Thank you for being so open and honest with your readers!! I know what you mean about being envious of your husband being able to leave the house and have conversations with adults - I miss that a lot!! But know that I am much happier being at home with my babe...however, it doesn't mean we don't crave that 'adult' time! Glad to hear you are feeling better! XO

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ashley, This was, by far, the best post. I think I read it 5 times...and cried each time! Thank you so much for sharing! I found myself being able to relate...and I only have one baby(now 7 months). He was much like Liam as well in the first 3/4 months. The crying, the anger, the exhaustion... being a mother is much more tough than I had ever expected. So glad you are feeling some relief! Gosh, I know how great it feels after a tough time!

    ReplyDelete