I know the tough days are normal, but.... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 04-16-2002, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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****This message was originally posted in the Post Partum Depression section - but i wanted to post it here in Single Parenting as well since it deals with single parenting issues as well......and i am interested if any of you have any feedback for me about this.....thanks*********




Hi......

Just sort of feeling the need for some support.....

I am a single mama to a five month old ds and so far i have been quite happy with how well i have been handling things on my own.....aside from the odd day during the first few months werein i felt pretty overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after a baby on my own, things have been pretty good.

And i have been recognizing that falling in love with your baby is a process that for many takes time. Of course i did feel an immediate sense of love and connection from the moment i first saw him in the delivery room, but it wasnt really until the last month or so that i have experienced moments of HUGE love for him.

So why am i posting on the PPD forum? Well.....although i believe my thoughts to be normal given my situation I do find that i am worrying a bit lately that i may either be depressed or could easily slip into a depression .....

Since i found out i was pregnant last year i have been fighting/holding it back ('it' being depression) on a regular basis. I have been trying as hard as possible to not be negative, to look at the positive, to be strong etc etc. Mainly because i know that if i let myself go 'there' i may not return.....and i now have a child to take care of and who needs me and depends on ME for everything. THere have been so many times when i have wanted to cry but have not let myself do it - mainly because i think i am sort of afraid to find out what kind of a slobering mess i might become if i do......and i have this strong belief that it is important for me not to be upset infront of my son since i know it would scare him and make him feel upset. Obviously children do need to learn about emotions but i feel that at this age it wouldnt be good to expose him to my grief.

I guess the main reason i feel upset is around the fact that i'm a single mom, or more that i am doing this alone. Dont get me wrong - i feel very capable of the challenge (well most of the time anyhow!) and i have nothing but admiration for single mamas. I guess its just hard sometimes not sharing the beautiful moments with the person you created your baby with....not having someone i can really vent to when i need to (of course i do have my mom and friends to talk with but somehow thats not always the same)

So to get to the root of the matter here the thing that kind of has been scaring me lately is how when i'm especially sleep deprived i seem to really run out of the energy i need to entertain my ds and give him the stimulation that he needs (he is a very alert baby who needs constant attention, affection and interaction)

....And i have caught myself lately sort of resenting him - i feel horrible about this since i DO love him SO much - but i am amazed at how at the same time i can sometimes really just NOT like him at all....i just want him to go away.....it makes me feel so sad and horrible and question whether i have what it takes to weather through all the inevitable tough times ahead for us.....

....and lately he seems to be looking more and more like his dad and that seems to bug me too - i have to remind myself that he is his own unique self and NO he isnt just a mini version of his dad (who by the way is around and a part of things - he visits three times a week and is very interested in being his dad - but there is ALOT of bitterness and resentment between us to be worked out)

I find that when i am feeling more rested (which isnt all that often lately unfortuneatly - ds wakes to nurse VERY frequently and also is awake by 6 a.m. every morning -no sleeping in for me EVER - no dh to take him on the weekends, no option but to get up out of bed and face the day) ANd sometimes i resent my innocent child for denying me of my sleep - when of course he is not to blame in any way....

Anyhow i could go on ....and ON ...but i know this is getting WAY to long and i am beginning to think if i go on any longer no one will read this....so i'll stop for now....but thanks cause i really need to get some of this off my chest.....

monkeymama


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#2 of 5 Old 04-17-2002, 03:26 AM
 
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Hi monkeymama,

I can empathize with your situation.

I have been a single mother since my 5th month of pregnancy (dd is 20 months) and I can tell you that during the first 5 months of my pregnancy I went through stages of feeling down, feeling up, feeling confused, feeling strong, etc. It was very stressful. After 5 months, when dd's father cut off contact with us, I was able to focus on all the positive aspects of my pregnancy and life and felt nothing but happy and strong. I can't recommend it to others (hoping for the absence of the dad), I can only say it was the turning point for me. The negativity that was present when he was 'involved' in my pregnancy disappeared along with him. The stress resurfaced when he sought visitation at her 8 month mark. We made a pretty good go of it - behaved cordially and with my daughter's best interest in mind - but in the end he found he was too busy for a child. I have to admit that our lives are much happier now. I am less stressed and in turn that is a positive thing for my daughter.

You are in pretty frequent contact with a person that you feel bitterness and resentment towards. What makes this worse is that he is the co-creator of your beloved child and you probably feel as though you should be celebrating together with amazement and pride in the beauty of your child. I'm sure the absence of genuine affection between you and your son's father can really hurt and create a void. I felt this void and speaking from experience, now that my daughter's father has been completely absent for the past 4 months (as he was for the first 8 months of her life) I have never been happier or felt less stressed.

If your son's father is in his life for the long run, and it's a good thing, perhaps you and he can seek counseling together to work on the bitterness you still feel towards each other. I'm not saying counseling is a cure-all, but if the two of you can establish a positive parenting relationship with each other, and get some closure on the past, maybe you'll feel better all around. Maybe you can even work toward a relationship where you'll be able to 'share' the joys and challenges of parenting. A healthier relationship with the father of your child mightl help you out with your depression.

I don't know if any of this is helpful, pertinent or relevant, but I wanted to lend a little moral support.

It's tough being the one who bears the majority of the parenting duties. Really tough. I hope that you have family and friends that can lend you a hand. That's where my sanity has been saved. I also hope that dad is helping out and that you're taking his help - he has an obligation too.

Anyway, pm me if you like - I'm always ready to lend an ear.

Good luck,
Mary
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#3 of 5 Old 04-17-2002, 02:41 PM
 
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BIG hug!!

Your feelings are normal. Completely! It will take time to work things out w/the ex, but it will happen.

Also some women (like me) are very affected by hormones during breastfeeding. I thought I had only PPD after both boys, but when I got my milk started 5 years after ending bfeeding my youngest boy, in order to bfeed my sisters baby while she was dealing w/a brain tumor- what a surprise to find that I felt as crappy and depressed as during PPD. Enough so I knew it wasn't only due to the worry and emotional pain of my sister & her brain tumor, but very definitely hormonal.

After going borderline psycho after the births of both babies, and being rabidly pro-breastfeeding (2.5-3 years each) I would NOW do things a little differently. For one, for the sake of SANITY and my sleep needs (very valid and very very important need!), I would, if I were going to do it all over again, give my babies a bottle of (oh I'm choking here) formula to keep them nice & full for a long stretch of sleep. Now, I would do that without guilt, knowing that one bottle each night will not harm my baby (and it needn't be every night, maybe just when I needed it most!) and would help me out in a very necessary way.

We 'natural' mothers really pressure ourselves to be perfect. Almost as bad as any religious fundamentalist; there's all that guilt if we 'slip' and do things a little less than 'natural' sometimes. It's easy for me to look back now and see how hard I made life for myself, not to mention how I know my issues contributed to the ending of my marriage- I was a wreck! I bfed exclusively, made my babies' organic babyfood when they started eating around 10 months or so, washed my own organically grown cotton diapers- my goddess, that is not too much if you're a SAHM but I was also a college student and working part time! Crazy! I'm glad I gave all that to my kids, but I think I could have thrown on a disposable here & there (gee like during finals) or let them eat jarred food or given them a nighttime bottle and/or cereal so I could SLEEEEEEEEEPPPP!

Not everyone is as affected by sleep deprivation as other people. Now my boys are 14 and 8; when I dogsat for friends for a week and those damned dogs barked at night and wrestled in the morning...I lost sleep and I was a miserable witch! Cured me of my baby-cravings...

So TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

Blessings,
S
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#4 of 5 Old 04-17-2002, 02:49 PM
 
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{{{{monkeymama}}}}
I, too, know exactly what you mean! There is LOVE abound at our house, AND there is the underlying "this isn't what I signed up for" in my heart. I wouldn't worry so much about the resentment, it is a completely human reaction ... I would, however, avoid guilt over feeling the resentment ~ it just compounds the problem. Acknowledge the pissiness and go on with your day, the only thing you can change is your perspective.

Now for practical help: do you wear your baby during the day? I found the "kangaroo" position in the sling allowed the baby to get stimulation from the environment instead of only me, and the closeness gave the baby confidence to interact with others. Are you co-sleeping? Have you mastered sleeping while nursing? Nothing like prolactin to induce a cat nap (OH, I miss it!!!). Oh, notice that, too ... when I would get down about life and I had a baby (or toddler) to nurse, I would sit and visualize the Prolactin doing it's job of keeping me calm and sane, insuring I'm the best mom I can be (even if all I have to offer at the moment is my milk!). Acknowledge the things you're doing right during the day (at the end of my day, if both kids are still breathing, it's been a successful day!!), even if they seem trite (woo hoo, got that diaper changed ~ go mom!).

And if you want a remedy for those moments, might I recommend Bach's Rescue Remedy. It is an amazing help to me .. I also use the Cherry Plum essence, it's for the moments when I feel like I really am losing my mind... you can find these at most healthfood stores (unless you live near me-I drive across the state to get mine). There is a remedy for almost anything, you'll see when you start researching ... just prioritize your "complaints" and see what fits.

Re: the baby looking like dad
Very funny! Dh's parents divorced when he was three and he didn't see dad for almost 27 yrs. The first time I saw his dad's picture, I almost fainted ~ It was exactly Mitch's face, but white!! (Dad's german and Mom's mexican) I finally asked MIL how did she do it? Looking into the face of her ex EVERY SINGLE DAY??? She admitted she had to really catch herself to react only to MITCH and not to the Father he looks like! I met FIL 4 years ago, it was strange to see what my dh would have looked like had he been able to live into his 60s. (both dh and fil died in 2000) My Hannah looks like Mitch, but I've always said "daddy on the outside and mommy on the inside" ... this has come to haunt me, as Hayden favors my side in looks and daddy's side in personality... tee hee

Blessings to you and yours

~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#5 of 5 Old 04-23-2002, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi

just wanted to say a quick THANKS to all of you for your support and kind words.....i will reply at greater length soon - but little man needs his nap right now and there isnt any time for typing....hopefully i will be able to post again soon!

thanks

MM
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