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The Thing with Motherhood

The Things They Fail To Mention

By Danielle DowdyPublished 7 years ago 3 min read
Photo By Kat Jayne

When my first son was born, it seemed everyone had something to say about how amazing he was.

“Children are such blessings from God.”

“He’s so perfect, you’re so lucky.”

“Wow, he’s such an active boy.”

“You’re so lucky to have a baby.”

“His life is so precious.”

But none of these things felt… True. In fact, everything about my first experience in motherhood seemed to be a disaster. During my pregnancy I was constantly in pain and constantly fatigued, my labor was horrendous and actually left me with mental scars that still have yet to fade, after he was born my son drove me to the point of insanity.

Don’t get me wrong, my boys are amazing, and they have made my life full, but nothing that the people who coo’d and aww’d at me were saying was right. I struggled every day with postpartum depression, I had flashbacks of screaming in labor and delivery after my doctor let my epidural completely run out, I struggled with feeling completely alone and helpless when nothing seemed to console my child. It wasn’t until my youngest was born that people told me my firstborn was the most difficult child they had seen, but I wish they had. I wish more people had been supportive towards me when he was young, I wish more people had offered to help. He couldn’t sit by himself, couldn’t sleep without being next to someone constantly (literally as soon as you moved away he was awake in less than five minutes, no matter how little he had slept), he failed to latch, and I struggled to continue to breastfeed at the pressure of everyone around me, and as active as he was the boy seemed to never stop screaming.

My post-partum depression peaked when he was two months old. I remember it as clear as day. It was 3 in the morning, and it was yet another day that he would scream and scream, no matter what. It didn’t matter how tightly we swaddled him, it didn’t matter how full he was, it didn’t matter how comforted he was. As soon as he was sound asleep, he’d awaken moment later screaming. I was in tears and my partner was struggling to stay awake, wanting to help but having no direction in the least as to how.

I lashed out at my child.

I’m not proud to say it, but I yelled at him. This small two-month-old infant that I had just created and had no idea what was going on. I grabbed him and fought with myself not to harm him. It was then that my partner stepped in. He told me to give our son to him and I did. He told me to shower and I struggled with the thought. I hadn’t showered in over a week, my skin was greasy and coated in a layer of dirt. My hair was tangled, dull, and lifeless. Yet, despite these things, I felt obligated to my son more than I felt the need to care for myself.

This pattern continued for months. I was working three jobs, going to school full time, and never saw my son while I struggled to move our family out of my partner’s parents’ house and support us. I failed to care for myself on a regular basis. It wasn’t until he was almost a year old that things changed. I was forced to quit working when I became pregnant with my youngest and I began having seizures from the stress that had plagued me. We had help at home to help with my son and I was able to get the help I needed.

My life became defined by my children. People failed to see past my kids and notice the woman behind them. Even now, people often don’t ask how I am but jump at the chance to ask about my kids. And this is the story for too many moms. Not just new moms, but seasoned veterans too. Even now I struggle with mental health, but now I know my support systems.

Struggles in motherhood aren’t something that we should be ashamed of, they aren’t something that should be hidden. We are more than our children, no matter how much we love them. As a society, we need to make a change in how we treat mothers. Stoicism has no place among mothers, we need to come together and raise each other. We can’t judge each other when no two kids are the same.


About the Creator

Danielle Dowdy

A 21-year-old mother of two kids and countless pets. Constantly writing on various subjects from fiction to motherhood.

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