Anxiety · Family · Love · Mama · Mental Health · Parenting

#LoveYourSelfie

Welcome to the month of L O V E!!!!

As a teen and young adult, I always equated Valentine’s with romantic love… as a mother I realize now the profound love we share with our children—it’s a feeling like no other!!

Unfortunately, with age I’ve also felt the inevitable struggle women have with loving ourselves.

Admittedly, this is a struggle I never anticipated.

{Long post alert!!}

I grew up in a home full of love, support, and a (decent) dose of spoiling. I was always a very confident (read: borderline cocky) child, teen, and young adult. I did well in school, had lots of friends, played sports and excelled in dance and pageants. It was easy for me to love myself.

Naturally, I assumed this feeling would follow me into adulthood. Initially, it did.

Working as a therapist I did well in my job, and established great relationships with my kiddos, colleagues and families! Yes… work has its stressors, but overall I felt accomplished in this area of my life.

Motherhood hit me like a freight train. This once confident girl was now her own worst enemy. I was so hard on myself, so in my own head….

“Am I doing enough?”

“Am I doing this right?”

“Why aren’t I (insert feeling here)?”

I’ve dealt with depression/anxiety most of my life. But…. I DEALT with it. I feel, for the most part, I handled it well.

I’ve even chatted with a few women and when I mention that I struggle mentally/emotionally their response is: REALLY?!? You always seem so happy!

Yep! I am happy. I’m a ton of emotions. Most of the time, that’s my problem. I feel TOO MUCH! I’m a hot mess!! Hahaha!

But, motherhood was a struggle I didn’t anticipate. I loved my son, enjoyed our time together, and I didn’t have those feelings of “I don’t love him…” or “I scared I’ll hurt him…” that I thought were associated with Post Partum Depression. I hadn’t read up on Post Partum Anxiety…. and when my doctor suggested this diagnosis and suggested I begin taking medication, I admit I felt defeated.

Which, seems so stupid because I’d always been an advocate to friends and loved ones who themselves needed medication. But, admitting that I myself needed it made me feel defeated. I felt I needed help being a mom. I felt like a failure. If I couldn’t be a good mom, the most natural thing in the world, quite literally what my body was made for… what kind of person was I?

My confidence was rocked!

Once I became a mother I struggled greatly with my work load/personal life balance. I could not give both 100% and I felt like I was failing in both places.

My friends and I all had young children; and while we keep in touch with texts, we just didn’t have time to get together like we used to as we all had our own young families.

My mother, who is amazing, is the most emotionally balanced person I know on the planet, so I just don’t think she “gets” the highs and lows I feel.

My husband and friends, who are all amazing and love me dearly, also know I’m a hard person to get to open up. When I carry a burden I don’t want to unload it on anyone…. and when I finally do I’m often past my breaking point.

In a world surrounded by people who loved me, and whom I loved… I felt very much defective, misunderstood, and alone.

Oh yeah… and the motherhood thing. Throw in some sleep deprivation, some hormones, and all the life changes that come along with a baby…. and yes, confident Jennifer was probably massively struggling for the first time…. it was hard. My most important mission—being a mother—and I felt I was doing a piss poor job.

I think I cried myself to sleep for the first year of Jase’s life.

Prayer, time, support, balance, love, grace, therapy, medication, and forgiveness all played a part in my healing.

And that journey isn’t over. I’m still learning, healing, growing….

But my confidence and “that” Jennifer from before is growing stronger and stronger.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Jase’s name means “Healer”. What a healing my journey as a mother has been for my soul!! What a God wink!

Please know that just because someone’s life looks shiny and happy and all rainbows and butterflies from the outside…. we all have our fair share of storm clouds and rough seas.

Becoming a mother has been the hardest journey I’ve endured. Worth every second, but hard nonetheless.

I’m learning to re-love myself!

And, if you relate to any of this in anyway, know that you are worthy of not just other people’s love, but your own as well.

Give yourself some grace!! #loveyourselfie

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s