The experience of becoming a mother is so expansive and multifaceted. Though counseling, I’ve found no mothers experience is the same as another. Throughout our lives, we dream of what motherhood will be like. What will it be like when we get to carry a child, give birth, and bring a baby home? We craft stories of who our children will be someday. We also wonder what their personalities will be like. Will they be spunky and stubborn? Will they be sweet and thoughtful? Regardless of who they turn out to be years down the road, we know that our love for them will be boundless. The second they’re shoved into our arms after delivery, we’ll have that undeniable mother-child connection that we’ve heard about for years. At least, that’s what mothers and parents before us have told us to expect.
But, this may not have been your experience. You may have had a complicated, even traumatic pregnancy. Or, labor was way worse than you could have ever imagined. As a result, the skin-to-skin contact that the nurses wanted you to have wasn’t all that special. You were exhausted. In fact, you still are. This isn’t what you expected. And nobody prepared you for feeling negative about the experience of motherhood. Isn’t it supposed to be magical? It’s supposed to be everything you wished for and more since this is your child forever now. You’ve dreamed about this baby for months, years, or even your whole lifetime. But, now that you’re a parent, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
How It’s Really Going
Everything has been harder since bringing the baby home. You haven’t showered in days… or has it been a week at this point? People keep trying to come over and meet the baby. But seeing people from the outside sounds like it would send you into a shame spiral right now. When was the last time you were able to sit down with a hearty meal and zen out?
Plus, you aren’t sleeping. Every night it continues to be a battle between you and your partner about “who’s getting up this time?” You’re at your wit’s end. Counseling for women may seem like the best next option. You CANNOT spend another night getting less than two hours of consecutive sleep. And yet, you can’t make your partner put in more work than they’re willing. You were the one who wanted a baby so bad anyway, right?
You’re starting to find yourself resenting your baby. Every time you hold them, they start crying. So you try feeding them, but that doesn’t help either. It feels like your life is starting to be ruled by this tiny human who can’t even communicate with you. The special bond that everyone talks about is nonexistent. Instead, you only want to sleep. And if you slept for a long, long, time, that wouldn’t even be so bad. At least you wouldn’t be as exhausted as you are now.
Could it be Postpartum Depression?
If you’ve never experienced anxiety or depression before, these new feelings can be very overwhelming and scary. The fact that things aren’t going to plan and you aren’t bonding with your baby is upsetting. You wonder… will it ever get better? Will I ever be able to connect with my child?
Experiencing low feelings or postpartum depression (PPD) can be so defeating. Having a baby is what you’ve hoped for. It’s what you’ve talked your friends’ and partner’s ears off about for so long at this point. You’ve invested money, time, and energy into becoming a mother. You may have even put your career on hold to invest in this part of your life. So why is it so hard to be happy? Why can’t you connect with this baby like you thought you would?
Postpartum Depression is Real
Talking to friends, family, and your partner about your struggle feels impossible. You may be questioning yourself about if your feelings are even valid. Well, they are. Many mothers, as well as partners who don’t carry the child themselves, experience postpartum depression. In fact, around 10-20% of new mothers in America experience PPD each year. And about 10% of new fathers face postpartum depression as well.
Think about it. The arrival of a baby, especially a first baby, is life-changing. Everything about your daily routine, conversations, and activities revolve around the baby now. Going somewhere? That means you have to check the car seat, pack the diaper bag, make sure you have formula or breastmilk, enough diapers, and an extra change of clothes for both of you. You never know when the baby (or mom) might have an accident. There’s an endless list of how your life has shifted since bringing your baby home. And while the list feels like it’s only getting longer, your ability to keep up with it all is dwindling.
Counseling for Women in Orange County, CA Can Help
You’re not the first parent or mother to experience postpartum depression. And you certainly will not be the last. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of parents struggle with similar thoughts and feelings. After bringing their baby home their world has turned upside down. And not in the ways you had anticipated. It’s more doom and gloom than happy-go-lucky. But, it’s not your fault. You have no control over postpartum depression. Yet, you do have control over asking for support. Working with a women’s therapist to assist you during this time. Together, you can make a huge difference in your motherhood experience both today and for years to come.
You deserve that happy ending you’ve dreamt of. If not that, you shouldn’t have to feel so bogged down by your new life. We’ll help you find ways to connect with your baby and build the relationship you’ve hoped for. Postpartum depression can be treated. But you have to take the first step and reach out.
Begin Counseling for Women in Orange County, CA
You don’t have to navigate motherhood alone. Our caring therapists can help you reconnect with yourself. We offer support from our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice. To start your therapy journey, follow these steps:
Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
Counseling for women isn’t the only service offered at Moxie Family Therapy. Other mental health services include counseling for young adults, teen girls, children, and couples. We also provide play therapy, art therapy, clinical supervision, therapy for therapists, counseling for college students, and LGBTQ therapy. Contact our practice to learn how we can help you reclaim your moxie!