I wonder often why I did not struggle when Munch was born. I worried about everything. I know that I had anxiety then, but I talked about all my worries and fears. I leaned on my extended family and my friends. We struggled on our breastfeeding journey. I felt uncomfortable nursing Munch in front of anyone except a handful of people.
With Skeeter I felt more confident in my parenting choices and decisions. To that end, my beliefs left no wiggle room. I was adamant that I would exclusively breastfeed for six months. When Skeeter required formula after birth to treat low blood sugar, I was so upset. I wasn’t able to control this situation. Thankfully that was a tiny blip. Skeeter latched on and nursed like a champ. She and I had a great nursing journey. I nursed my sweet girl for nineteen months. With Skeeter as my husband so eloquently put it, I’d “feed her anywhere and everywhere”. I was not going to feel shamed for nursing in public like I had been with Munch.
To that end, my staunch beliefs kept me from reaching out and asking for help. When I started struggling, I did not call anyone. I retreated into myself. I focused on my family. I felt like I had to soldier on. The mantra of “our choices, our family” left me stuck feeling like it was just my husband and I against the world. How could anyone else possibly understand our reality?
In hindsight I realize how flawed my logic was. My anxiety and depression manifested in black and white thinking. I had to maintain a veneer of control. What kind of person or mom was I that I could not control my thoughts? The intrusive thoughts came at me like images from a movie. I hated myself so much for being an utter failure as a wife and as a mother. I could not make any decisions. The depression paralyzed me. I prided myself on being detailed and focused. I lost all of that. Gone was the ability to plan and organize.
I still struggle with my need to be perfect and in control. My self esteem took a beating when I struggled with my PPD and PPA. Now I recognize the negative thoughts and beliefs in my mind. I can stop that tape and turn those thoughts into affirmations. I am perfectly imperfect. I hope to instill that in my girls.