Mentally Ill Or Shitty Mum?

I wonder how much of the way I feel is depression, the monster that takes over every rational thought, and how much of it is genuine feeling? Does my mental ill health make me wish I’d never had a child, or do I simply regret the decision? I have times of such frustration, feelings of entrapment, I’m suffocating. Followed by feelings of intense guilt. And then the seemingly obvious solution rears its head – suicide.

I can’t wait for Moo to go to school so that I can be alone. I enjoy the novelty moments of being a parent, the brief cuddles, the funny one liners of a typical two year old. But it soon wears thin and ultimately, I look forward to being away from her. She’s a great kid, a delight to be around at times, but I don’t want to look after her.

These thoughts are then followed by horrific shame and guilt. What kind of parent doesn’t want their own child? How can anyone not want to spend time with such a beautiful little girl? How can I look into her innocent blue eyes and feel this way? Don’t I know that there are women longing for a child like mine? Aren’t I grateful that she’s healthy? How will I ever explain this to her if she were to find out I felt this way?

Are these the thoughts of someone with mental health issues? Or are these my genuine feelings about being a mother? How can I differentiate? If this is the depression, post natal or otherwise, then there’s hope. It’s treatable. I can change my medication and have therapy and try to alter my mind set. But if this is how I feel… What the fuck do I do? Answers on a post card, please.

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Posted on February 23, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. It’s not abnormal to have your feelings…extreme amounts can have to do with your mental health issues, yes. But there’s a shadow side to motherhood and it doesn’t make you bad. Read “broken crayons” on my site and know you’re not alone!

  2. It’s. bit of both. The very fact you’ve written this post shows you’re having the normal thoughts of a normal mum – don’t be hard on yourself…

  3. I feel exactly the same way, and I’m struggling with depression/PND too. I’m glad there’s someone else out there who feels the same way. Especially since we went through a lot to conceive our little girl (IVF) and she’s nearly 4 now.

  4. Thank you for telling the truth about your experience of mothering. Today I’m faced with the utter failure of today’s constellation of life strategies (parenting, work, financial, self, etc.). I really needed to see this post today — thank you.

    The more women share their individual truths about mothering, the less any of these truths seems like an aberrant response and the less shame we feel — that’s my hope, anyway.

    Our culture does not prepare us for the possibility that we may find mothering relentlessly tedious (which I do, though there are breaks in the tedium). And the concept of sacrifice is not cool these days. I spent YEARS resisting the necessity to sacrifice, and I’ve only just realized that I do need to confront this word and integrate it into my being more harmoniously.

    Mothering has brought me to my knees over and over again as I attempt to come to terms with surrender and sacrifice, and as I face the best, worst, and most humdrum of who I am.

    Here’s where the rubber hits the road: you may be “mentally ill” by some definition or another (and based on my experience, it’s worth looking for medication, therapy, herbs, whatever, that can support you with this), and/or you may deeply dislike motherhood. But you have a daughter, and as you wrote in another post, she needs not just a mother, but YOU. I learned this when my daughter was 5, and I was completely and totally unwilling to mother her any more because I felt I was doing far more harm than good. Despite her having a biological father, a common-law soon-to-be-ex step-dad and a doting surrogate granny, not one of them was willing to take her on. And ultimately, I came to see that no matter how crappy my parenting is, it’s better than the alternatives (which is very, very sad, but apparently true).

    My advice? (And the best advice I’ve ever heard about advice is, take what you like and leave the rest.) Forget the guilt and shame. Accept the fact that you are a mother. And, along with all the other mothers who find this journey deeply harrowing, let’s figure out how to be the kind of mothers we are proud to be, given who we are as people. Maybe we are a revolution waiting to happen.

  5. To me, it sounds like you are depressed and you mention medication so presumably you are having some treatment. I think you should get it checked out if not or even if you already have some medication. There are always ups and downs in parenthood but your feelings seem too strongly down at the moment. Good luck.

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