Motherhood has been a bittersweet journey for me. The world changes when you become a mother. But that’s no surprise! We all knew it would. However, what really is a surprise is how you lose yourself in this transition and nobody seems to acknowledge it – let alone help you deal with this immense pain. Sometimes it begins to feel like a glorified journey of self-sacrifice which only women are expected to travel on.
Sounds, harsh doesn’t it? Let me explain. I am an engineer with a Masters in Finance. So when I started working, it was my dream come true. I was learning and growing each day. Then marriage happened and we moved out of the world of finance amidst the global depression.
I soon started a boutique with my sister. Quite a shift from the financial markets but I totally loved my new venture. We slogged day and night and were soon bearing fruits of all that hard work. And then, motherhood happened. I loved my work so much that I took off just 2 days before my due date.
Never for a moment, I thought of giving up my boutique – post having my baby. I had it all planned! But, then things got difficult. I did not have the full-time support I needed to juggle both work and baby.
Finally, I made the call and closed my design studio. It was one of the toughest decisions of my life. While I had one of God’s most beautiful creation in my hands, I had lost myself. I lost my identity! So often it happens with women that society and people around us start taking these sacrifices for granted. No one understands the pain and agony. You are asked to give it up all that you were – and just be a mother. Though some might argue that this is the best role in a woman’s life, I think it is not the only one we are born to be.
Giving up my boutique was definitely a very difficult decision to make and left me feeling hopeless as well. The exhaustion of caring for my little one, being cooped up inside the house all day, the endless chores – made me think that this is what my life was going to look like from now on.
Doctors termed my condition as postpartum depression but both me and my husband knew where it was coming from – I was bitter, angry and heartbroken. My child was the only thread of my strength that time. I was very cautious of not pouring my bitterness over my child. And so, I shut ‘myself’ down completely and became just a ‘Mother’. All I did was read about parenting, take care of my child and put up a big smile even when I was crumbling inside.
Watch this video which explains about Postpartum Depression
When nobody saw my depression, God had different plans for me. My little one turned out to be a very curious and hyperactive child. No playschool could do justice to his questions so it all fell upon me.
My earnest desire to give him the best paved the way to Curious Caterpillars – a forum where I talk about Parenting and STEM workshops. Never had I thought of venturing into this field of Child Psychology, Parenting and STEM in Early education. And never had I imagined how I would rediscover myself like this!!
So after 5 years of struggle and losing myself, I want to help all the young mothers and to-be mothers who are on this journey with my two cents. I wish I had someone to give me this advice.
#1. It is not going to last forever
Motherhood is the most demanding and exhausting role you will ever play but it is going to get easier. Things will start getting better and you will soon have some time for yourself. Just stay strong amidst this chaos.
#2. Make Self-Care a Priority
You can’t pour from an empty cup. So be kind to yourself and ask for help. Fix a weekly self-care routine and abide by it. Be it just sitting alone or going for a coffee or reading a book. Do it! Assign baby’s responsibility to your spouse, grandparent, aunt or with whoever it works.
#3. Join Social media ‘Mommy’ communities
When you feel there is no one to share your emotions or feelings with, mommy groups are a great platform. Not only you will find many more women going through a similar situation but also solace in voicing out your feelings. Chances are you might make some good mommy friends as well and go out on a playdate.
#4. Cultivate or reclaim a hobby
Bring your old hobbies back to life or cultivate a new one. If you enjoyed reading, start again. If gardening is your calling, try small plants or give hydroponics (the method of growing plants without soil) a try. They require little time but do bring a lot of peace.
#5. Throw away your loungers
Loungers and sweatpants are bad for morale. I realized it too late that they made me feel even worse. While they may be comfortable, they do not do good to your self-image. Dress up nicely every day. It feels lovely. Make it a habit.
#6. Make a Happy corner
Print out some inspirational quotes and happy pictures and stick them on your fridge, on the mirror, around the house to remind yourself of how awesome you are. Don’t wait for your spouse or family member or friend to tell you that. Be your own hero.
#7. Stop Comparing
I know there are plenty of women who seem to have all, but everyone has their own battles. You don’t know them and nor do they know you. So stop comparing and judging yourself and make the best out of what you have got.
#8. Bring on some Music
Whatever be your taste in music, play it on and dance with your baby in your arms. You will not only feel lighter but also happier. Light up an essential oil diffuser to add to the magic. Music and scent have the powers to de-stress and are good for the baby too.
#9. Say bye mommy guilt
I suffered a lot with this whenever I took some time off from my baby. I felt selfish and shallow. But at the same time, I realized that Me Time – made me a better mother. A less tired mother means a happier and healthier person – which is good for the baby. You are doing your very best for the baby and no one in the world loves your baby more than you do. So no mommy guilt!
#10. Step out of the house
Staying within the four walls all day, week after week can suck the positivity and energy out of anyone. So grab that stroller or wear your baby and head to the park. You can even schedule a weekly outing.
Want to know more about Postpartum Depression? Click here
Some of these ideas will work for you and some won’t. Try to find your own balance with these, but do not lose your identity to motherhood. This is your fight with yourself and losing is not an option. Your life will never be the same as it was before you became a mother – but I promise, you can be whole and happier again.
Watch this video which explains about Postpartum Depression
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Shreiya was an investment banker, now turned Mompreneur who holds STEM Workshops and events for kids. She is extremely passionate about Child Psychology and Early Brain Development. CuriousCatepillars her venture works on providing the best insights to parents to help them shape a healthy, happy personality.