Oh, mama! First - huge hugs to you.
Second - I am not sure where you live, but there are likely some resources like a Family Resource Center or the like. Do you have someone to talk to? A counselor or midwife? I can't imagine struggling as you are and then adding stress, but I have always been amazed at our (collective mamas) ability to get through things that seemed impossible.
Are you on meds that help you deal with the depression? It really seems like you need some professional support and someone to help you get what you need to get through this. Feel free to PM me if you want me to research what is available near you.
I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was young (22) and mountains of stress. The father and I disagreed initially on what to do about the pregnancy. We were together but our relationship was really on the way out, not at its strongest point. Then we found out it was twins. Then they were born at 24 weeks, out of state. The babies couldn't leave the vicinity of the hospital for a year, so we had to relocate there. To top it off, we had massive, massive, massive medical bills.
I looked into adoption. Really, the only reason I didn't do it was because Dad refused to go along with it and I didn't want the kids to be raised by his parents or a nanny. Giving them to a stable, older couple who was ready for kids was one thing. Simply abandoning them for their dad to raise alone was quite another. When we ruled out adoption, I felt petrified. Sometimes I wished I'd have a miscarriage. I've always loved kids, but I just couldn't see how we were going to make this work! I, too, was afraid that if I were having such thoughts, perhaps I wouldn't love the kids or bond with them properly, or I'd resent them and be a bad mother.
Of course, by the time they were born, I definitely loved them. I would not want to go back and live my life to this point, without them. Nothing turned out as I hoped, or as we planned. We broke up. The kids have learning disabilities. But everything has worked out. They're good, lovable, wonderful kids. My life is happy. Money has been really tight at times, but we've managed and pulled through. You're already a mother. You know how to love a child. You will find room in your heart for this one, too, if you choose to keep him/her. You don't need to stress out, to make that happen. Try to trust that it will happen on its own.
However, there is nothing wrong with giving him/her up for adoption. Adoptions are structured all sorts of different ways. If you wanted to maintain contact, or just get updates, you could. You would not be abandoning your child. You would be making a loving choice to let him/her be raised by people who are better-able to provide for him/her, financially, and who are simply dying to have a child to raise, whereas the idea of having one more is understandably stressing you out.
As the PP suggested, please make use of any resources at your disposal - or call a help line, or the Gabriel Project at a Catholic church near you, to find out what resources are available. You have options. You just need to commit to a decision, then be gentle and forgiving with yourself. Keeping your child isn't wrong, of course. Neither is giving him/her up. Perhaps you can have a little more peace if you try not to look at your choices as right or wrong, or yourself as good or bad, based on the decision you make. It's a hard situation. You deserve - and can find - support for whichever choice you make.
My heart goes out to you, mama.
I didn't plan for any of my kids. Each of my pregnancies prolonged a bad marriage, in fact. When I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time, I was briefly suicidal. It's truly terrifying to know that you are supposed to be the solid rock your kids depend on, but you feel unstable yourself.
I have suffered from depression and anxiety a lot as a mother. I have had many days where I thought my kids would be better off with someone else. Getting out of my marriage helped, after the first year or so of post divorce stress. But the one thing that has helped keep me on my rocker over the years is looking to myself as the ultimate source of my own strength and wisdom.
This is your life, your family, your issues. You DO know what to do. When you wake up in the morning, it is your day to live the best you can, with what you have. You have to make the decisions and live with the consequences, so you HAVE to trust your own instincts and judgement. With mental health issues, it's easy to distrust yourself, as if your mind were going to pull a Dr. Jekyll on you, and you are going to wake up tomorrow realizing you had been Mr. Hyde in your sleep. It's not like that.
You know what helps you feel more stable. Remember the goal is to inch your overall stress level to below gasket-blowing level. Make a list of the things that have helped you relieve the pressure, temporarily or more long term. Some of the things that have helped me:
- watching cheesy inspiration videos on youtube
- getting a counselor that made me feel lighter after the session
- breathing exercises (short term, but helps)
- daily walks (I know, how can you do that with babies)
- meditation practice (you have to stick with it, but it helps a lot)
- nutrition nazi (How I feel improves in direct proportion to how many vegetables I eat)
- getting up before the kids
- when I get angry or anxious, imagine the feeling welling up inside like a wave, then crashing and ebbing away
- praying to god to just get me through this moment/day with all my heart
- When I was pregnant and feeling terrified, I visualized other women giving birth and experiencing motherhood in difficult circumstances- war, famine, slavery. I pictured them filling the room, inviting me to join the sisterhood of strong mothers, offering to support me and tell me what to do. I imagined that those women could communicate with me when I didn't know what to do, like spirit guides.
I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but if you think about it, women have babies in less than ideal circumstances all the time. It's only in the developed world that we expect a lovely nursery and a happy marriage and a perfect mother. I believe that you can do a decent job of raising your kids. Just don't hold back on using any resource you can find to get the job done. Find medical, financial, and social resources, now before the baby is born. Minneapolis is a big place, there are probably a lot of resources there, but if not, have you considered moving? Closer to family maybe? I used to live in Iowa, and they have an excellent public mental health system.
Be strong, mama! Keep fighting the good fight!
PS, I also don't think adoption is a bad choice, but it sounds like it's not what you want to do, so I didn't talk about it.
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia