Have you ever felt like your identity has been solely focused on being a mom? I have.
I was a stay at home mom for 4 years. My daughter, Rylie, is 5 and my son, Joseph (we call him J) is 4. They are only 14 months apart. To say that I had a rough transition into motherhood would be an understatement. I lost my identity and struggled with Postpartum depression and anxiety that I am just now being treated for. My goal with this blog is to normalize feeling like a failure as a mom and recognizing that we are all just doing the best we can every day and to try to not be so hard on ourselves as moms!
Do you remember when you were younger and you had all of these wild, amazing, life changing dreams for yourself? My dream was always to be a mom. I did go to college and got a Bachelor’s Degree but I always knew that once I had kids that I wanted to be the one to stay home and raise them, so I never really jumpstarted a career as a result. I got married at 24 and had my daughter by 27. We had some trouble getting pregnant but I will never, ever forget that feeling of pure joy and bliss when I finally got that positive pregnancy test after all of those negatives (my heart goes out to any mama’s that are struggling to conceive). I knew motherhood would be hard and would change every aspect of my life, but I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the changes that are about to happen to you mentally, physically, and socially. I thought I would be a calm, sweet, caring mom but what I remember about my early days of postpartum were anger, rage, resentment, sadness, loneliness, boredom, and this crippling feeling that I was doing everything wrong while everyone else has it figured out. I never shared these thoughts or feelings because I was embarrassed and I thought that the only thing you are supposed to feel after you give birth is “joy” and “happiness” and I couldn’t understand why that wasn’t happening for me. I kept thinking to myself “the next stage will be easier” or “once she sleeps through the night things will go back to normal” or “this will all pass and I will feel like myself again soon”. Little did I know that none of those things were true. It makes me so sad looking back and knowing that I wasted so much time feeling so awful but not knowing that I needed help until it was too late. I still, to this day, worry that my anxiety got in the way of me fully appreciating the time with my kids when they were newborns.
So while it took me a while to get pregnant with Rylie, it only took about 6 months to get pregnant with J. Joe, my husband, and I always knew we wanted 2 kids so we figured we wouldn’t use birth control or be careful after I gave birth because “if it happens it happens”. And IT HAPPENED. After I had J my life got truly out of control. My anxiety was the worst that it’s ever been. The littlest thing could set me off into a huge rage that was almost uncontrollable. If the kids would skip their naps I would truly feel like the world was going to end and I would allow it to ruin an entire day.
Let’s fast forward to a year ago. Rylie was 4 and J was 3 and I had just put Rylie into Pre K. The freedom that gave me for a few hours a day to only be responsible for one kid made me crave some time to myself. So I decided to go back to work part time. This was the best decision I could have ever made. It gave me a little piece of independence back that I did not know I desperately needed. It allowed me to make friends and it was so nice to go somewhere that I could just be “Alyssa” and not “mom” or “wife”. It gave me a new purpose in life and it was the beginning of the rebirth of myself into the person I always wanted to become. I know this is not something most moms would admit but being away from my kids was just what I needed. I LOVE my kids, dearly, with all of my heart, but how can I be a good mom when I didn’t even feel like myself?
Although going back to work crossed off a lot of boxes for me in the happiness department I still felt like something was missing. I found myself drinking a lot of wine every night when the kids went to bed and I would wake up every day not feeling 100%. In January 2023 I decided it was time for me to really focus on myself and my goals and I decided to talk to my doctor about antidepressants. I got on Zoloft in the beginning of January and it has been life changing for me. In order to see if the Zoloft was really going to work for me I also quit drinking and started exercising. It has made all the difference in my mental heath. I want to be the best mom I can be and live my life to the fullest without feeling guilty about anything. I am on a path of rediscovery and I could not be more proud of myself on how far I have come in such a short amount of time!
I want this blog to be my safe place where I can vent, complain, reminisce, and set my goals. I also want it o be a place where I can share what is working for me as well. I love being a mom, but that’s not all that I want to be. I want to also be my own kind, creative, fun, accomplished person outside of being a mom. I am just starting to recognize all of the things that I once loved doing that I let go of when I became a mom and am hopeful and optimistic for the future! I’d love for you to come along for the ride 🙂