May 13, 2012

At Last

My first Mother's Day nearly 3 years ago was one of the worst and most disappointing days of my life. At that time, as a new mom, I was in a deep depression, struggling with motherhood, among other things.

I woke up in a crappy mood. First thing that day, the hubby wished me a Happy Mother's Day, and I, already feeling depressed, wanted nothing to do with it. I didn't feel like PK's mom. Why should I be celebrated? I sucked as a mom, and I knew it. Sure, I took care of PK's basic needs, but that extra little "maternal" bit was missing. I was distant. PK sensed my distance, and the more she pulled back, the deeper I fell into my depression. The hubby picked up the slack, which meant that PK always chose him over me. I am ashamed to admit this now, but I hated him so very much for it. I got angrier as I saw all of the new moms in my mommy group post joyful messages on Facebook. Later that morning, the hubby presented me with a pink Mother's Day-themed mug. I hated it. Seriously. I just wanted to smash the damn thing into a million pieces, right in front of him. I hid it at the back of our closet in the basement. I think it's still there to this day. I can't even bear to pull it out of the closet, because of the memories associated with that day. It didn't help that the mug was pretty much the only thing that was done for me on Mother's Day.

In my growing anger and despair, I withdrew from my husband, instead of telling him how I was feeling. I got increasingly grumpier. It was a cry for help, and the hubby wasn't listening. At that point, he didn't want to listen, after putting up with me being like this off and on since I was pregnant with PK. All I wanted that day was to be told that I didn't suck as a mom. Even though I didn't feel special, I still wanted the acknowledgement and effort from the hubby, and instead he withdrew too. It didn't help that on the previous day, we celebrated Mother's Day with my family, during which I spent trying to make sure that my mom had an extra-special day. Nobody even seemed to give a crap about me. I was hurt beyond belief. I was depressed beyond belief.

So it all came to a head, and we had a terrible fight. That's when I told him that I hated the mug. And that's when he told me that he stopped trying to make Mother's Day special after my crappy attitude that morning, when we woke up. It was a bad bad day, and thinking about it still causes me great heartache.

Now, nearly three years later, I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I finally feel comfortable being called mom. Most importantly, I feel like I am finally living up to my potential as a mom. The road taken to get to this point was a hard one. Nobody is ever ready to be a parent. You can read all of the books, practice on your friends' kids, take your nieces or nephews out for the day, but nothing ever prepares you for the drastic life changes that take place when you suddenly become "mom" or "dad". You may read about post-partum depression in books, but nothing prepares you for it when it actually hits. And this applies to both those living with the depression, and those living with the depressed.

I am grateful that, in spite of it all, I managed to pull myself together enough seek help. I go to therapy twice a week - once for PK and me, and once for myself. I am not ashamed of it. I am grateful for it. It was one of the best things that I could have done for myself and for my family.

I am not a perfect parent, and nor will I ever be. And that's okay. I didn't breast-feed for long. I didn't use cloth diapers. I tried to make my own baby food for a bit, but that didn't last long. I speak to PK in Portuguese, but switch to English when I need to express myself more easily. I didn't put PK in a Suzuki music program. I don't know the names of all of the kids in PK's class. I don't attend PTA meetings. I HATE giving out thank-you cards, and I hate suck-up parents who give thank-you cards for all occasions. I am NOT Supermom. But I AM mom. PK's mom. And that's good enough for me.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there, old and new.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Love this post! We all go through similar things as a new parent, but I am happy that you were able to pull through everything. There are so many times when I thought, I wasn't a good enough mom, not doing enough for Cam, but, I am trying the best I can with what I have. Stay strong - you are such a great mom!