Most people have heard about post- pardum depression, but did you know pre-natal depression is also a thing? I didn’t!
From the day I found out I was pregnant I have been excited about becoming a mom and meeting my little one! However, there has also been this annoying thought in the back of my head: are you really able to be the mom you want to be?
I like to think I can do it all, be a dedicated wife, an involved and effective teacher, a good dog mom, and keep a well organized house with home cooked meals on the table. I have had reality checks in the past, when there were no kids in the picture. These reality checks often come with lots of tears, feeling overwhelmed, and like I am the worst person and how could I ever think I could do all that? I soon come up with new plans around how I can change, and slowly building my confidence. Emphasis on slowly!!
I am so scared for what the reality check will be when there are children around. The added pressure to be a great mom is already here. Since I am a teacher, many people feel I will automatically be a great mom. I would love to believe them, but there is that doubt that is constantly nagging at me. Will I have the patience to bring up resilient kids? Will I have the balance to model how to live a well rounded life? Will I be able to give up me time, and things I love to do to make sure the kids can explore their own passions? Am I a horrible person for even thinking that I might want to put myself before my kids before they are even born?! I am honestly not sure if these are things every mom-to-be worries about, or if I am actually not ready to be a mom. When I stopped to think about all these things, I can get overwhelmed, and feel lost.
I thought this might all be normal, but I found out at a recent doctor’s visit, that if you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed everyday or a few times a week, it can actually hurt your baby! These feelings can lead to lower self-care (which in turn leads to not great care for your growing baby!), lower baby weight, and even anxious tendencies being passed on to your baby!
So, how am I dealing with this?
I am writing this post! In the past I have found journaling and sharing with others to be an outlet that can help center myself. When I re-read what I have written, sometimes I think ‘great!’, and other times “I really just wrote that? I shouldn’t be sharing these concerns with the world’. However, if I don’t put these out there, who can tell me if I am being crazy or if everyone feels like this? Also, writing and then looking back at it a day later, can also help with prospective. For example, I wrote this post in two sections. When I went back to look at the first section, I already had a new perspective on my concerns. Yes, they are normal!
I am also looking for what I can control around the house. Can I control my emotions? Sometimes… maybe not all the time (especially in the 9th month of pregnancy), but for the most part I can control when I loose it and when I can keep it together. Can I control the amount of dishes in the sink? Yes! Will it make me feel better knowing the kitchen is cleaner? Yes! Can I cuddle with my pup? Absolutely!!
The last two things I use to help when I feel overwhelmed, are quilting and exercise. quilting is a creative outlet for me, and it gives me something to show off at the end of a project. I love to sing and dance, but usually no one else wants to see me sing and dance. Quilting is something I can do on my own time, and show that I put in the hours and enjoyed it at the end. Exercise is a natural endorphin giver! You are not only doing something great for your body (and when pregnant your baby!), but to quote Legally Blonde:
Side note: If anyone who reads this really feels overwhelmed, and like you can not go on please call for help! There is no shame in asking for help, and there is so much life out there! Even if it isn’t how you pictured it would be! Here are some emergency lines:
911- if you feel like you might harm yourself
1-800-273-8255- national suicide hotline
call your doctor and ask for a number for a local respected counselor!
Depression and anxiety are real! Moms have a lot on their plates already, this does not need to be one more added issue. Find a self-care plan that works for you! Re-vamp it as needed! And if you need to, go talk to someone!