I’ve always been a very yin and yang type of person. I’m very black or white – I’m either off or on, I either like you or I don’t, I’m in a good mood or a bad mood. A lot of that might have been the instability of my hormones, and therefore my moods, or maybe I’m just a typical chick who never knows what she wants.
When I was pregnant I remember thinking that after I had the baby life would go back to as it was before…you know once this pregnancy was over with. Then one day, at about 9 months pregnant, it occurred to me. I will be bringing home a baby. Yes, wait a minute. Life will never be the same again. It scared me – it scared the shit out of me.
With everything Eva and I went through with the after-birth complications and then my near-death experience (See blog post: Knocking on Heaven’s Door) I don’t think I ever had the chance to properly process my feelings on the unfortunate way in which Eva was welcomed into the world.
Instead, I internalized those feelings of fear and anger and self-pity – as I’ve said before I was plagued with feelings of ‘Why did this happen to ME?’ and ‘Couldn’t I have had a “normal” experience? – and I did what many dependents do best. I drank. I shopped. I pretended like life was good. In hindsight I don’t think I pretended that well because I remember a time of sad blog posts and angry status updates. I remember the day I dyed my blonde hair black. I remember the emptiness inside.
At the point that I could no longer stand feeling like a selfish and uncaring mother I faced the depression that was drowning me.
I hated myself. Why was this change so hard for me? I felt like all of my friends approached motherhood with ease and here I was a big fat failure. I was failing miserably and all I wanted to do every day was get drunk and forget about it. I wished for the ease and comfort of my old life which shamed me.
In the heart of my debilitating Post Partum era I had to make the decision to stop socializing in order to start getting well. My friends had always been a huge part of my life; especially recently – in say the last 10 years – when my mom and I had our falling out and many of my family sided with her. At 22-years-old I felt alone and betrayed by those who were supposed to love me unconditionally. Sure I had other family members that I was close to, but that is a story for a different day. Or one that may stay private forever.
At that time I was forced to turn to my friends for love, guidance and support. My friends became my family. Sometimes I probably leaned on my friends too much. I knew that and tried to respect their boundaries. I had friends that would invite me over for Thanksgiving and Easter. It made my heart burst with love that even though I was alone (which I wasn’t, I just felt that way) that I wasn’t alone. I was loved.
Making the decision to stop socializing was in a way abandoning my family, those friends who were my family now. My fremily. 🙂 There was an even bigger hole inside me now. A hole I needed to learn to fill with love for myself. It was very hard for me to face this obstacle all alone. I’m not good with alone.
I can’t thank those friends enough who continuously reached out to me even though I constantly declined plans or was unreliable – even if it was just a text message to say hello. Just to let me know they cared. I knew that if I continued on the destructive path I was on I would never get well. I had to make my health front and center. I had to face it head on.
And now here I am 6 months later. I’m happier and healthier. But. I have damaged friendships. I have no social life. Now, as with my yin and yang personality, I have done the complete opposite and refused to leave my house. I mean, I go to work, Target, the gym, but as far as meeting up with friends – I decline.
Making plans? I just don’t bother. I make excuses about doctor appointments. I’m not lying – I do have these appointments, but the truth is I’m scared. I’m scared of who I am now.
Have I become old and boring? I don’t get shit faced anymore or dance on bars…I kind of don’t even know how to be fun anymore. Will my friends even still like me? I have some major social anxiety going on, too. Like I don’t even know what to talk about with my friends anymore. I could sit and stare at them and have nothing to say. The old me would have been drunk and laughing up a storm about whatever thing I was babbling about. Now I have nothing to say. It’s not that I have nothing to say. I’m just afraid to say it.
I also want to spend as much time with Eva as humanly possible considering I miss 40 hours a week of her development so I can’t bring myself to be away from her for even one night. It’s bad enough I miss all day. Our life is so simple now. There’s no drama. It’s dolls and Legos…it’s walks to the park and reading books. It’s easy. It’s safe.
I’m in the cocoon I surrounded myself in for protection which has ultimately had the exact opposite effect on me. It is equally unhealthy, and I need to change. Before I was going out too much and running away from my responsibilities and now I refuse to make time for myself and my friends for fear of missing even one second of Eva’s growth and change.
UGH! How do I find balance?
Balance is the key. I imagine that many mothers feel this way and struggle with this very issue. My new challenge is finding balance; it’s finding time for me alone, time for me and my husband, time for me and my daughter. And time with friends gets pushed to the backburner. There just is no time. There’s never enough time.
I’m striving to get to a place where I feel comfortable in all aspects of my life, where I stop feeling the constant guilt that has engulfed me for the past year. Is that even possible? Or has mom guilt set in and thus will be the rest of my life? Or at least until Eva is 18 or 25 and I can have my own life again.