If you have kids, then you know that there are numerous books that describe what pregnancy will be like. They tell you what to expect from conseption up til you give birth. They tell you how your body will change, how your moods will swing. The books will even tell you all the gross, nasty details of actually giving birth. Never google what after birth looks like.
And movies kind of show you what is going to happen but never really prepare you. You see with my first kid, when it came time to push (which that labor story is pretty simple, both kids were born within 30 minutes of getting to the hospital) I thought I had to scream. Honestly, I started yelling like it was the end of the world. Like Bruce Willis didn’t sacrafice himself on that astroid in Armagedon and we were all going to die. Why? Because if you see child birth in any movie, you see the mother screaming so loud that those waiting in the waiting room hear them and think something is wrong. But I didn’t need to scream and maybe that is because of my wide hips. I was always told that I had birthing hips. Maybe that is why both of my kids were born quite easily naturally. No epidural needle has ever touched my back. And that is the way that I wanted it. Because my aunt got an epidural back in the 80’s and they never told her to not get up after getting it and it honestly messed her back up and now she gets these insufferable migraines.
Now, I have been around kids for a very long time. I have been babysitting since I was 11 (not always by choice, thanks to my oldest brother) But I never read anywhere what to expect when having kids would do to my already messed up mental health.
When I was a kid, my mom worked all the time. My oldest brother is 9 years older than me. And as time went on, day cares got more expensive. So by the time my brother was 13 he was watching after me and our other brother who is only 5 years older than me. But as my brother got older he no longer wanted his weird little sister tagging along with him everywhere with his friends. So I would be left home alone. I remember being in 3rd grade being home alone at night, making my own dinner (thank you tv dinners) and putting myself to bed by 7 pm because I had EOG’s the next day.
My oldest brother loves scary movies and those creepy clowns. And I think I hate them because of him. He thought it was funny to run around the outside of the house banging on the windows while I was home alone inside. Which is partially why I am always so anxious at night. alone.
I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder when I was almost 16 because I was having constant panic attacks. In the middle of school. hyperventalating to the point that I almost pass out ( I did pass out once) So the school called my mom and she took me to the ER and my regular doctor shortly after where I was diagnosed. With this awful anxiety disorder. And my brother only continued to make things worse after that.
So, there I am with a kid. Who was premature. And so tiny. And I wasn’t as scared with her as I was with my second one which is weird. But there I was at almost 20 years old, responsible for this whole new human being. She was mine. My responsibility. And there my anxiety began to get worse. not that it wasn’t already bad. But it just made things a thousand times more there.
Before kids, I could push it so deep inside that no one could ever see. But now that I have kids…. that anxiety is so close to the surface. Because not only am I anxious about my actions and myself, I am anxious about my kids. And it is not the normal anxiety you feel like should you change jobs or not. Noooo
You see, what they never tell you in those expecting books is that you should expect your mental health to take a hit. You should expect to feel more overwhelmed because you’re battling a mental illness that now circles not only you but how your kids are. They never tell you that having kids changes everything.
My oldest daughter is the most sensitive child that I have ever seen. So when I am repeating myself for the 20th time in 10 minutes and I get a little aggravated so I get a little stern, she starts to cry and looks at me with these weeping eyse like I just killed her puppy. Which sends me into a whirlwind of am I a bad parent? This happens quite often.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was in this awful car wreck that totaled my SUV. which isn’t as easy as you would think consider half of my windows were shattered and the rear end was in my second row. I had to get shots every week from 15 weeks to 34 weeks to make sure that I didn’t go into preterm labor. It was a rough pregnancy. There was a lot of back and hip problems that came from that wreck that couldn’t be addressed because I was pregnant. And having a second child, made me that more anxious as a mother.
I feel like a failure as a parent. Yes my kids are spoiled and 90% of the time they earn every toy that they get. My 1 year old picks up trash and throws it away. They get this little mental ATM credit that they can use when we go to the store. My oldest will ask if she has enough credit to get a small, medium or big toy. But they also know that twice a year they have to donate toys to those who don’t have many like they do. So I am trying to instill some responsibility and make them humble.
But more often than not, I go to bed wondering if I was a bad parent today. Did I yell too much? Did I not show enough love? Did I not love one them enough? Did I break their spirits? Did I put them down too much? Did I crush their dreams? When I was my oldest age…. I knew way more than I should have and I was way more afraid than a child at that age should have. I want my kids to be protected more than I ever was. But am I a bad parent?
What I wish I knew when I was pregnant was that having kids will and does change every single thing. I wish there was a book that could help expecting parents who have depression or anxiety on how to cope with the changes of becoming new parents.