Big hugs to you, friend. I am so glad you’ve landed here. I hear you and understand. I know exactly how it feels to feel so rotten and so horrible as a mother. You know in your mind that “it’s just a phase,” but, man alive, this phase hurts. I have soooo been there.
While motherhood is so wonderful, beautiful, and holy, at times it is also heart-wrenching, agonizing, and just plain hard! Fatigue (whether mental or physical) and all the crazy lady hormones make it that much harder. Add anything else – family drama, financial issues, mental or physical illness, moving, you name it – and it is easy to slide into what I call the “Mama pit.” I don’t completely understand why it has to be so hard, but it’s certain that this amount of intense stress can lead to depression and anxiety.
After one of my babies (they’re all close, we have 7, 5, 3, 1), I was so stressed from life that I literally couldn’t remember basic things like my debit card pin number at the store. My mind and body were under such immense stress from all that was going on that it couldn’t handle basic functions. Little things would stress me out and I would feel horrible for reacting negatively to my kids. I have learned that I get to that scary place when I feel like my life is out of control. In order to “regain” a sense of control, I sometimes try harder to control things around me – petty or micromanaging – it’s a psychological response to stress and is TOTALLY normal.
You may be under IMMENSE stress right now. “This too shall pass,” but in the present, you need to lower all sorts of expectations and let your kids have that TV or whatever you need to get rest (it’s better than losing your temper with kids, really!). For some amazing mamas, giving extra TV time is hard (I know it’s hard because it’s always hard for me since our hearts know what we want to give our children), but you will get through it and you will gradually be able to add in all of the lovely things that you want to as your body and mind recover from everything.
You already know this, I’m sure, but no one has it all together. When I was drowning and forgetting my pin at the grocery store, my friends viewed me as organized and on top of life! HA! I was sobbing alone in my closet wondering how to get through each day. It was so hard.
Also, my friend, I believe in a loving Savior, even Jesus Christ. I know that His grace is sufficient for not only you but for your children too. When you can’t give them what you’d hope, He will be there, giving them those things that are in your heart. I have to believe that’s true for all of the imperfect mothers who have raised amazing humans. With the amount of concern that I’m certain you have over your children (it wouldn’t hurt so much if you didn’t care!), I am positive that this is the case for you.
Beyond leveling with you, I want to share some of what helped me climb out of my own pit. I took some time to myself and made a list in my journal. this list included every possible stressor and factor as to why I was struggling. I then targeted a few things within my own control that I would work on. This is my list, but take time to make your own list, figure out which is factor you think will have the biggest impact, and start there. Little by little, you’ll feel better again!
1) Consider eliminating hormonal birth control because it can affect your mood. This was true for me even with the hormonal IUD’s! Be so careful what you decide to put into your body.
2) Get as much sleep as possible, of course, if it means a movie every day at 1PM-3PM, so be it. Lack of sleep can also affect your hormones which, in turn, affects your mood. Establish an early bedtime- you won’t always be this tired and you may not need to go to bed at 8 or 9 forever, but maybe at least til you’re more stable!
3) I started taking Doterra vitamins. I know that there are a few other micronutrient vitamins out there as well (see True Hope vitamins, and also Amare for a heart, brain, and gut health plan). If you’re a mama who’s had babies close in age (like I did), you might need a little extra help giving your body those nutrients. After about a month of taking them, I got to the point where I was able to get up feeling alright in the morning. I cried to my husband one Sunday when my body felt calm to its core for the first time in awhile. I could actually get through the whole day without feeling like I was going to die and without needing to take a nap.
4) Get Help. Beyond asking for help from friends and family, get professional help if you need to! I have been greatly blessed by seeing appropriate professionals including doctors and therapists who have helped get me back to where I want to be. While it takes courage (and sometimes some planning) to get the help you need, it is well worth it!
I know if you take some time and write down the factors in your life, and pray to God, He will help you know what thing needs to be at the top of your list. He can help you know what will have the greatest impact for you and your children. He will even help you humble yourself to ask others for help. Think about the times you’ve offered to help others and remember how willing you were. Now, realize that there are other people just as willing right now to help you. It’s ok to ask for help!
I’ll also throw out this awesome book that I bought that helped me a lot. See The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women. It just might help you too!
So many hugs to you. Heavenly Father loves you and is so aware of you. Though you might not be able to feel it now, He is putting angels in your life to bring you back to where you want to be. He has so much more mercy for you than you can possibly imagine. If you reach deep into your soul and surrender your own expectations and guilt to Him, over time, He will fill you with peace and understanding that will surpass your present circumstance. I know how hard it is! All of that is SO FRESH in my mind! It still stings! But, just know, sister, you are not alone. Prayers and love for you!