October 25, 2011

perspective can be a little funny.

Forgive me.  This is a bit of a debbie downer post.  But I know I'm not the only one who feels like this sometimes, and occasionally you just really need to let it all pour out.  No worries, I've interspersed some cute pictures of Ryann to make the emotional vomit a little more bearable.

I'm struggling.  I'm struggling to be happy right now.  I don't know why.  And this happens to me more than I would like.  When Ryann was born, if you put it all down on paper in my eyes I would have hit the life jackpot.  I had a handsome loving husband who would do almost anything for me, a family who takes care of me and supports me in whatever I do, we had a beautiful little home and now the perfect little daughter (I suppose that is my opinion of course, but I'm the mother, I'm entitled to that one :o) to add to the mix.  As my friend Jackie would like to call it (lovingly of course), just a 'stupid perfect life.'


So when I should have been on cloud nine, why was I dissolving into tears at any given moment and unable to sleep because I was shaking from so much anxiety?  You could say it was just the fact that I was a new mom, and just had a case of the baby blues, but I don't think that completely describes it.  I think I was depressed, but I was so embarrassed by it, that I couldn't really tell anyone.  I wouldn't.  How could I be depressed when nothing in my life was all that terrible?

she has a thing for being 'upside down' these days

Part of it was Christopher's schedule.  Being the wife of a med student/resident is tough (I know it isn't the only profession that creates difficult hours and such, but this is all I know).  When Ryann was born Chris got two days off.  I believe with the rotation he was on he also had some weekend days off so that was nice, but two days.  He was with me in the hospital Sunday night (when my induction began) through Tuesday evening.  Thankfully my mom came to stay Tuesday night in the hospital with me, but she was going through some stuff at the time and couldn't be with me on Wednesday.  I was alone in the hospital with my brand new baby completely lost and confused.  Chris picked us up and took us home in the evening, but was gone again bright and early the next morning.

the toms are already incredibly well worn.  i guess we were warned that they aren't really play shoes.

I think I laid in bed for half the day on Thursday, my sleeping baby to my left, a box of tissues to my right.  One minute thinking to myself 'what have we done.  i am so alone.' while the next minute hating myself for having such a thought.  All my life I've wanted to be a mother.  The precious little baby next to me was amazing.  She was beautiful and perfect.  Why couldn't I just freaking sit there and enjoy it and soak in every minute of her amazing newborn-ness.  We were so lucky that she was more or less completely healthy.  What more could I want?

she insists on putting things in her mouth after I tell her not to...

Eventually it got better.  I found a joy in the blogging community and made some online 'friends'.  I started to branch out and get out more.  I didn't feel so alone.  We settled into more of a routine.  But then Chris's schedule would get hard again and I would sink back into that unhappy hole.  And go through the vicious cycle of being unhappy and then hating myself for being unhappy all over again.  I want to provide an amazing life for my daughter.  I want to be completely present in her life.  I wake up every morning with the intention of making it a great day.  I tell myself I can do this.  I can be a great mother, a great wife, I can do it all.  But when 4:30pm rolls around and I know I still have another 3.5 hours or so of flying solo, I start to drift off somewhere, I get lost in the unhappy corners of my brain.

... and is somehow still surprised when it tastes gross.  silly girl.

Right now the thing getting to me is the holidays.  He opted not to request off Thanksgiving (and as far as I know, will be working), because in December Christopher was supposed to be on a rotation where he wouldn't have to work the 24th-26th (the clinics aren't open on the 26th or something).  It worked out perfectly for us to travel to Nebraska and see my dad's side of the family.  Then they switched his schedule around, and now he will be on an ER rotation.  Obviously the ER doesn't get holidays or weekends off.  And they have to submit vacation requests 90 days prior to a rotation or something.  I of course threw a fit, and thankfully he has the 24th and 25th off.  But I'm still all wound up about it because it means we will either be spending part of Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day in the car with a toddler who absolutely HATES being in the car, or we won't be spending the holiday with the rest of my family.  Why can't I just be happy that he will have the holiday off? 

And then I read posts like this that lead me here and I hate the inner workings of my mind a little more.  Perspective is an amazing thing.  My daughter is thriving.  She is smart and funny and adorable.  Yes, life can be exhausting.  Christopher works long hours and let's face it, Ryann is a toddler.  That is tough.  She is constantly climbing on to things she shouldn't, refusing to do stuff I want her to do, being stubborn and testing her limits.  But she is healthy.  She has (God willing) and entire lifetime in front of her.  More or less as do I.


The best I can do is keep starting each day telling myself it is going to be a great day.  I can pour my heart and soul into being the best mother I can possibly be for my daughter.  She deserves that.  I just hope that at some point I can find that drive and strength at the end of the day too.  Because the days may be long and tough, and not every day is going to be the greatest.  But there is most definitely a little bit of good in every day.  Ryann reminds me of that constantly.


And Christopher?  I'm sorry that this sounds like a lot of it falls back on you and your schedule.  Just know that I love you with all my heart (ok you have to share it with Ryann, sorry).  I know the crazy long hours are only temporary.  It will get better.  I apologize that you get the brunt of this most of the time.  I LOVE YOU.


Marie said...

Oh how I can relate to everything you typed here. After our second was born, my husband had to go right back to work, so I was at home with a new baby and an almost 4 year old. It was terrifying. His jobs in the summer are crazy b/c he is working two jobs (one being at a waterpark) so he is gone a lot too. All the summer holidays (memorial, 4th of July, labor day) he has to work along with late hours.

4:30 was my time too I would start feeling down b/c I knew he wouldn't be home till 8 or 9 some nights.

You are not alone with these feelings. A lot of moms may not want to talk about it or you feel like "why am i complaining it could be so much worse?" I have found that just talking about it with my mom or close friend has helped me out with some of the sadness b/c I know I can call them and feel better.

~e said...

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. As a fellow mom to a toddler with a husband that works LONG hours, I completely understand. I want every day to be wonderful and fun, but some days I find myself just surviving.
I struggled with depression for years and felt guilty about it because I had a good life. But I learned that my feelings were still valid and that my depression was still valid. I really want to encourage you... if you think this is more than just a slump, to find someone to talk to. It can be a friend or a counselor- just someone that you trust.
Been following your blog for a while... my blog is (very) small, but feel free to pop in sometime :)

Aaron and Lindsay said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now. and I rarely comment, sorry :( just sorta lazy I guess. My husband works construction and is often very late home from work, sometimes when our 2 year old is already in bed. I often feel like a single parent, and struggle with the same thoughts you are thinking.. why can't I just be happy to have a healthy little girl? With #2 on the way and due in February, I'd be totally lying to say I'm not way nervous. Parenting is Hard. but worth every struggle. and I always have to remember when I'm about to lose it what someone told me once when Raegan was going through a particularly ornery week "The days are LONG, but the years are short" and eventually "You're going to miss this." Hang in there, you are not alone!

Stacey said...

I know a little bit about how you feel… except I don't have a child (yet). My husband and I have been together for almost 7 years (married for 5 months) and he travels 90% of the time. He is gone from January 1st through April every week Monday-Friday and at least one weekend a month. Summer settles down for us some with about 2 trips a month, but come August through December he is gone again every Monday-Friday. I do pretty well on my own for living in the middle of the lonely country, but it most certainly wears on a person. I find myself struggling majorly once December comes and it’s only begun. I think one thing we really struggle with is the fact I’m VERY happy to see him come Friday nights and he just wants to relax, watch a movie and go to bed early. I want to go out for food, meet up with friends, etc – since I’ve been home alone all week. It’s something with struggle with every year, but it is the life we chose (but like you, the only one we know).
It’s very hard and I know what you mean by feeling guilty for feeling depressed regarding a fairly “normal” healthy life. Don’t ever feel bad for being human and feeling these types of feelings. You are obviously doing the best you can; take one day at a time. I know this will be a huge ordeal for us when we decide to have children, but just like you I know I need to just take it all in stride… one day at a time. I also try to keep myself busy with classes after work so I’m not home alone every night.
I wish you the best! Thanks for sharing; it’s nice to know me (we, whomever) are not alone.

Erin said...

I know how you feel, and this is pretty much how I felt through a lot of my maternity leave, especially the first half. I really do not do well being home alone with a barely verbal child all day. I know some love it, but I would definitely go crazy. I hope you are able to find some way to get through the rest of residency - maybe some of the other "basically single mamas" will have some good advice for you. I really would feel the exact same way you do, and am so thankful that both Ben and I have very flexible schedules and can pretty much split everything 50/50. I know I'd be pretty damn resentful a lot of the time if that wasn't the case, despite knowing that wasn't logical or a good way to feel.

Meredith said...

I feel ya Ashley. I think a lot (most?) of us deal with some form of depression as our hormones are leveling out...but the degree varies, I think.

I know Ryann is a little young for this still, but when I know J is going to be home late, I try to push her nap back until 1 or 2--it helps a little for us!

Jessica J. said...

I can't say I've walked in your shoes, but I think I know how you feel. My hubby works 48 hour shifts and when they fall on holidays it's a real bummer. Family invites me over but it just isn't the same when everyone else has their spouse and I'm there alone.

This year I'm trying something new. We're going to do our own thing and host a belated Thanksgiving on the Saturday after turkey day. I'll serve something fun like pulled pork and we'll have games and movies and munchies. Open invitation. I hope it'll be a nice way to make up for not getting to have the actual holiday together and with our family.

Best wishes, I know it's easier said than done but I hope you find the joy in the little things.

Happy Wife said...

There's so much that I want to share with you... and yet at this point I'm not sure where exactly I'd begin...
Question? Would you be open to receiving a little bundle of love via snail mail? You're free to check out my blog to make sure I'm not a creeper or anything! Here's my e-mail address amberdawn{dot}prov{dot}31{at}gmail{dot}com... if you want, I'd love it if you sent me your mailing address, so that I can send you a little more than a few words written here in this 'Comment' space.

amy@agoodlife said...

i read the dragon mom post & through tears streaming down my face it totally put things in perspective {as parker is back in his room refusing to sleep as i type}. just take it one day at a time & keep yourself busy with things that make you happy :)

and a couple years ago (pre-parker) sam & i both had used up all our vacay to go to Australia for a few weeks & couldn't travel anywhere for Christmas. We stayed home & gave each other gifts & filled stockings & had our own little celebration & it is STILL one of my most favorite, memorable Christmases. Maybe staying put wouldn't be so bad?

Cheer up pretty lady!

EmilyE said...

As I read this post I felt like I wrote it myself! I wish I had some great advice to make it better but I am afraid I don't. The best thing I have found to work is talking through my (apparently not so crazy) emotions with my husband. Talking to anyone, even us blog friends, is the best way to start getting it off your mind and bringing you back to center. I would also like to add that as a previous runner when I was done training for my marathon I went through this pretty big. I think your body is adjusting from that still too.

Meg said...

Thanks for posting this. I really apprciate your honesty...and I can SO relate to SO much of how you are feeling. It feels so wrong to complain when you know you have SO much...I only wish I could be as honest as you are in my blog (but too many of my husband's family reads). Anyways, now I'm rambling. *hugs*

Danielle said...

Oh how I know where you are coming from. Guilt is such a thing when we have some perspective and think 'What do I have to complain about?!' But it's normal and if you don't get it out then it'll eat you alive.
My husband just got a new job and it's going to be some crazy long hours sometime which scares me as I don't want to feel like a single parent with our 5 month old. But it's going to be what's best for our family and hopefully something that J will enjoy more than his current job.
And I just want to say, I love, love, love your blog. I have made mine private because after baby, I started sucking at updating but I still keep up with yours and that adorable little girl!

Meghan Camino said...

I've read your blog for almost a year now, but I don't know that I've ever posted a comment before. Sorry for that. I wanted to let you know that I have felt like this for a while as well. I don't have children of my own yet, but I also have a wonderful life and still find myself down OFTEN. I lost my mom to cancer back in May after a long road of treatments and watching her go through hell and back. I know that's part of it, I'm definitely still in the early stages of grief. But I can't help but have several days a week where I can barely pick myself out of bed. I'm young, healthy, married to a wonderful man. We live in a house that we own with a lab who is the goofiest thing ever. So much to be happy about, and it's not that I'm being greedy or unappreciative for all I have, but I'm still not happy. Still trying to figure this one out. Sending you lots of hugs and the hope that you find your happiness.

Sandy said...

I think this is why I look forward to your posts so much. I really feel like you and I are a lot alike. I have been reading your blog for a while, and my son is a few months older than Ryann.

My husband is in the military, and while he hasn't been deployed since my son was born, I know what it is like to have a cutie, wonderful, but absent husband. It doesn't help that we wait ten years to have kids (totally my choice), so we had a wonderfully selfish life for many years, and I feel just as guilty as you describe here when I think about how hard we tried to have kids.

Keep your chin up as much as you can. We will be thinking about you, and please take comfort knowing that you are not alone!

Jennifer said...

I am completely and utterly able to relate with this post. My husband works looooong hours 6 days a week (sometimes 7). My son is 3. Oh I love my sweet boy, but he can be defiant sometimes. Long days aren't always fun. I've found that my outlook does help though. Maybe you should get involved in a mom's group or something to help "shorten" the days or just to help you get out of the house and not have "free" time to think about what all is wrong with your life. I speak from experience....it's SO easy to do that...been there. Google "meet-up" and see if there are any mom's groups in your area. I got desperate one day for some adult conversation and thought it would be nice to have organzied play dates OFTEN for my son. I googled Mom's group and my city...and found an amazing group of Christian moms. Good luck! Thanks for being transparent. =) I love your blog!

suzanne @ pretty swell said...

It took such courage to write this! You are not alone ... as evident by everyone's comments. I just wanted you to know that I struggled with postpartum depression with my first baby, and I know things would have been MUCH worse without my husband around. You are doing a wonderful job. I am in awe of women who have to do so much of the work alone. Don't be afraid to ask for help ... especially if you suspect depression. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog and to "meet" you!

Tysie said...

I read this and tears filled my eyes! I fully understand your emotions and experience. When Papa Bear is gone I too struggle with falling into a bit of hopelessness (being a "single parent" for a time). I appreciate the fact that you so openly and honestly shared this - the fact that others feel the same way we do at times can provide a sense of reassurance and hope that things will be alright so kuddos to you! XXOO

Julie S. said...

I could have written this exact post. I felt the same way when we had B during my parents business's busy season. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, because K was born during harvest. Hubby is working crazy late hours and now I'm juggling 2 kids. I'm struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But- my kids are healthy and happy- do that's what is keeping me from being too upset. But it's tough. Thanks for writing this

Anonymous said...

i can relate somehow even if im not yet a mother. kids somehow irritation to have. they want things and things and when they are tired they throw it away. but as they grow up you will experience things that you wished they were babies again. :)