Moms work hard as hell. There is no easier way to state that truth. Mothers are probably the hardest working humans on earth and whether you like Luke Bryan or not, when he sang about Moms being saints, he was right. Moms carry a human (or humans) inside of them for months and feel their body transform from something they were used to, to something completely foreign. After that, their body starts leaking and stretching and ripping and healing. Once the baby arrives, a mama must hook herself up to a juice-sucking machine, get her nipples gummed to death, ands rearrange her entire routine to match the one her baby has created.
Before becoming pregnant, I worked as a Medicaid Service Coordinator for almost three years for an agency that supported families who had a child with either severe medical diagnosis or disability. Even before then, I worked in the mental health, special education, and human services field for several years. I had learned the ins and outs of providing supports to families who needed them most. These supports ranged from helping families find ways to put dinner on the table to helping create a modified bathroom to suit a wheelchair-bound individual. Many, or most, of my clients had Medicaid and with this insurance, they were able to access supports and services to benefit their family’s specific needs – whatever they were.
Being a mom of twins, I walked into motherhood knowing comparisons would probably happen. I also knew it was something I had to do my best to stray away from. I have officially learned how difficult it is not to compare your children and not to compare yourself to other moms – even when you try desperately not to. Every single day, I make comparisons and every single day, I try to stop myself. This has become an ongoing battle and simply knowing other people genuinely fight this same battle makes it a little bit easier of a pill to swallow.
However, it still leaves me feeling like one heck of a guilty mom.
I knew right away that I was not going to force breastfeeding upon myself. This choice wasn’t because I knew tandem breastfeeding twins may be tough. This choice also wasn’t because I feared my girls may face latching issues or I’d have trouble with milk production.
I made my choice not to breastfeed because of these three factors: comfort, stress, and anxiety.
Bonding with Baby: It Doesn't Always Happen Right Away. This truth is a tough one for many women to admit. However, it is a truth that needs to be discussed openly. Too many women believe they need to feel that immediate wave of emotions the second they lay eyes on their baby. They believe they should know absolutely everything about their baby within that first week. They think they should feel this overwhelming, overflowing amount of love every second of every single day.
The truth is, many moms don’t feel any of those things for many, many months – and it is completely normal.
When asking some moms about their go-to, positive read for the new year, one of them responded with this: “Um… books? What are books? I’m lucky if I have time to read the back of a shampoo bottle before my toddler comes busting in the bathroom while I’m trying to go.”
Finding time for yourself, away from motherhood, is not an easy task. It also shouldn’t be seen as a task, but more times than not – it is. As a mom of one-year-old twins, I have struggled over the months to find time for myself. Their needs come first, as they should, but sometimes that leaves a new mom to get smacked in the face by “Baby Blues” or to force aside her own interests and hobbies. While I was able to still intertwine some of my hobbies into my schedule early on, I also had to push aside some of them. This brought forward a deep depression and made me feel less like the confident, secure person I had sculpted myself into over the years.
Though the holidays are a time of excitement and decorations and gift-giving, they can also be a time of incredible stress. This stress can involve financial difficulties, lots of traveling, and trying to please everyone during gatherings. When there’s a little one involved, the anxiety can often skyrocket. How will I afford all the gifts? Will the weather allow me to travel? How will I be able to see everybody? Do I really need to put up a tree if the baby is just going to try to tear it down?
Even before the girls were born, people asked me about how I would handle favoritism and the sharing of attention between my twins. For parents who have more than one child, this concept can come up in conversation often. At first, I was nervous.Would I have a favorite? Would I not be able to show my babies equal attention? Would it be harder than I thought it would be?
Well, of course it would be hard – that’s just motherhood in a nutshell.
The starting line begins with Halloween and the finish line ends with New Year’s Day. The “Holiday Race” has officially begun.
This time of the year can be just as exciting as it is stressful for many parents. While many moms may love putting together creative costumes and buying every decoration they see, anxiety may also be very present. Between the planning and purchasing that goes into the holidays, parents may find this time of the year quite stressful when it should be enjoyed with loved ones.
Between facing mental health battles as a teenager to facing similar struggles during pregnancy, one thing is for sure – life doesn’t hand you what you can’t handle. Clichés are often overused, but some do hold a lot of truth. I’ve conquered quite a few demons in my lifetime: cancer, self-harm, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety. I’ve managed to make it through those difficult times and learn from them – something some people, unfortunately, do not. The dark hole of mental illness is a dark hole, but there truly is light at the other end.
With the courage “Mom Bloggers” have recently shown when posting their personal “1 in 5” stories on Instagram, I felt encouraged to share my personal “Mental Health Mama” story as well. Being someone who has struggled in the past with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal ideations (as well as attempts), I felt drawn to this viral hashtag and the message attached to it.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that “1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.” Many “Mom Bloggers” have taken to Instagram to share their personal mental health stories by involving this statistic as a hashtag. Putting yourself out there isn’t for everyone, but for those who do it carefully and appropriately are strong, courageous individuals – such as the following “Mom Bloggers.”