Thinking about, what others are thinking, about me.

I’ve been restricting my social media for close to 8 months.  It’s been most helpful to me, especially when my panic attacks were at their very worst, to be selective about what I allow into my mental space.  Unfortunately, that has included a lot of social interaction.

That said, I am still visible through posts on the Babe’s IG or other family members’ posts.  Because of this, I often wonder what things people say when they see me smiling or otherwise appearing “normal” on the pages of others.  Do they assume that I’m “fine” and just being standoffish?  Or worse, do they believe that now that I have a kid, I’m focusing so much on him that I’ve kind of “got the goody and gone”?  Do they think I’ve abandoned my infertility flock, in exchange for the “bliss” of parenthood?  I hope they don’t.  But I know they do.

Infertility was so very much a battle because it is a disease that debilitates you from the inside.  Your heart and mind battle with one another at all hours of the day and keep you bound in this inner turmoil that affects your outer attitude.  But no one can see it.  You’re fighting for your life, and nobody knows how hard.  It’s one of the many invisible ailments that humans often suffer from.  Now that I’m supposedly on the other side, I’ve been placed in yet another one.

Depression isn’t always dark rooms and tears.  (though I’ve had my share of those also). Instead, depression can be smiling in photographs while battling obsessive and intrusive thoughts.  It can be nailing everything at work, while fighting through panic attacks in your car at lunch.  It can be experiencing pure elation at the thought of your infant, while also experiencing sheer terror at every turn.

Depression doesn’t look like people think it does, and so they don’t respond to you the way you hope they will.

So I’ve tried to be as honest and direct as I possibly can with people while I’m on this journey to recovery.  When they ask why I’m not on Facebook, I tell them the truth. When they invite me out, I try to give a real reason for my not going out.  When someone asks me how I’m feeling, I give them more than they bargained for.  And I don’t apologize for it.

But that doesn’t stop me from wondering obsessing about whether or not that’s enough to keep from hurting, offending, or upsetting those I love or like.

Sigh.

Feelings, amirite?

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Mommy Wars? This is apparently a thing.

Mommy wars.

This is apparently a thing.  What a luxury item.

Infertility teaches you so much about your level of compassion.  Its unique pain tends to unify those of us who have experienced it to the point where we can’t imagine judging someone doing what they need to do to get by.

But yes, this is apparently something that people have time to do.

It was surprisingly a culture shock for me, I’ll admit.  With infertility, when you search for information or advice, most of what you receive is in a friendly manner.  We each want the other to find their way to parenthood, however they can, so we don’t have time to yell at each other about the semantics.  So when I first saw a digital argument about whether or not it was “okay” to allow your 4 week old to sleep in their crib so that a mom could SLEEP, I was lost.

This poor mama was raked over the coals by countless other parents who felt that by getting enough sleep for herself, she was somehow neglecting her child and the fact that “parenting is a 24 hour job”.

Um…What?

I’m confused.  If I’m drastically sleep-deprived, filthy, and malnourished, what kind of parent am I then?  When my poor infant is languishing in my limp arms as I pass out, who is going to care for him THEN?  You?  Self-righteous and judgy, “parenting is my only job” person?  Are YOU going to come in like Mary Poppins and take over?  If not, shut up.

Not to mention, every single parent is learning as they go along.  Whether it’s your first child or your fourth, each one is different and there are some parts that you’re going to have to learn as you go.  I can’t add the insurmountable guilt I place ON MYSELF, mind you, to your ridiculous expectations that you’ve decided to project onto my home also.  Many of us are struggling with getting to know these small people who are learning how to be people, while also dealing with partners, family members, and other daily stresses.  We don’t need the additional weight of someone else’s judgement.

My mantra while pregnant, during labor, and now into my journey as a parent has been honed and cultivated over the many years of dealing with infertility, and that is: “Go with the flow”. Going easy with myself was key, and going easy on my child and partner is vital, so that we can each be our best selves.  With that in mind, I can’t imagine putting undue stress or pressure on another parent.

I worked too hard to get here, to let someone else’s opinions influence my parenting.

I’m doing a good job.  And so are you, whoever you are.

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