postpartum

Working Mom Guilt

back to work-2.png

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I totally thought I would love staying home. I imagined all the play dates we would have, the groups we would join and all the new mommy friends I would make. I could see it in my head. The afternoons filled with adorable kid friendly crafts, the cute pictures of lots of babies all born in the same month sitting on a couch together, exercising with a group of moms. You know, the whole post baby package we see all over the media.

Then I had my son and I quickly realized that what I saw on TV and all over social media was crap. Being a mom was way harder than I had anticipated. It was not all play dates and time for lunches and new mommy friends. In fact it was pretty lonely. There were hours spent re-watching the entire series of 90210 (that really happened) when I couldn’t move from the couch in fear my sleeping baby would wake up. There were walks, and trips to the mall spent trying to keep a baby calm and fed, all while trying to keep my boobs from exploding.

As my son got bigger, there were fun play dates and parent and me groups with new mommy and daddy friends. There were trips to the park and failed attempts at stroller strides and honestly, it started to get fun. But I still felt like something was missing.

It was initially my husband who suggested that maybe I should go back to work. I scoffed at that, I mean, I was meant to stay home. But like most statements that I’m not ready to hear, it takes me time to process them and decide if I agree or not. Ultimately, when I was ready to listen to myself, I realized he was right (you’re welcome honey).

The idea of going back to work made me happy. There was an excitement that I hadn’t felt for a while. I was ready to have adult conversations and feel productive. I was ready to have a task with an anticipated beginning, middle and end. But all that meant that I had to leave my baby in the care of someone else.

And cue the guilt (and anxiety). And there was lots of it. What if he took his first steps and I wasn’t there, what if said a word and I missed it? What if his caregiver didn’t know that he liked to cuddle with his lovey before he took his nap, or that he liked to be held a certain way when he drank his bottle? There were so many conflicted feelings that it was hard to manage, and to be honest with you, it still is.

There are missed dinners, bath times, books and activities. And although my husband is amazing and incredibly supportive, a lot of work falls on him (how we split that up will come in a later blog post). But there is one thing no one can manage but me, and that is the guilt.

So how do I deal with it? I acknowledge it. I remind myself that I am a much better mom because I work. I am teaching my children how to responsibly manage their time, and how important it is to continue doing something they enjoy. I get to explain to them what I do and have them be proud of me. I get to teach them to be independent and to manage life without their dad or me always by their side. I remind myself I am boosting their confidence. I am teaching my daughter that women can work be whatever they want to be and I am teaching my sons that gender roles aren’t so easily defined.

In the end I know I made the right decision, because I feel more like me. If you are struggling with your decision to go back to work, or struggling with the fact that you have no choice, remind yourself of the positive aspects of working even when the guilt feels overwhelming. Remind yourself that you are a good mom, and make sure you always end your day practicing gratitude for what you have. And if you are still having a hard time and need to talk, I'm always here.

Let's Talk About Postpartum Anger

postpartumanger_sm.png

Let’s talk about anger. It’s ugly… like really ugly, and it’s also a pretty common symptom of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Typically, when we talk and think about postpartum depression, we think of a woman who is sad, who has a hard time connecting with her child, who is weepy, feels hopeless and maybe resentful. This is the picture the media paints about what postpartum depression looks like, and part of the reason why it is so misunderstood.

In reality, postpartum depression and anxiety can manifest itself as irritability, rage, frustration and anger. Which is often directed at your partner, self or even child. These intense feelings of anger can leave you feeling guilty, trapped or worthless as a mom leading to isolation, negative thinking, resentment and possibly suicidal thoughts.

Are you curious about what it looks like? Picture this, your toddler just finished lunch, and you finally got to sit down to feed the baby. And then, your toddler starts complaining that they are hungry. While this would annoy most mothers, considering you JUST fed them lunch, you start feeling angry. Your heart starts beating faster and your blood starts to boil. You can feel your blood pressure rising. Maybe you yell, maybe you aggressively stand up and try to appease your toddler, while dropping F-bombs. Or maybe you just start counting the hours until nap and then bedtime so you can finally be alone and have some quiet. You might think about running away or possibly hurting yourself. And then, when the situation starts to calm down, you feel overwhelmed with guilt. A good mother shouldn’t act this way. A good mother would know how to stay calm. I’ve probably scarred my children for life? The list of worries goes on, and the feelings of guilt grow bigger, creating more depressive and anxious thoughts. You know it’s a problem, but it’s not something that’s really talked about. Well… it should be. This is part of living with postpartum depression and anxiety and it will get better with treatment.

It’s possible that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for how to get help right now. So, I’ve compiled 3 of my favorite tips for calming down anger to get you started. 

 

If you, or someone you love, might be feeling this type of postpartum anger reach out and get help. You can find some resources here and if you think I might be a good fit to help you heal, please call 818-917-6596 or click here to schedule your free consultation today.