Tag Archives: Parenthood

Beware that you will compare

I always believed in the advice to not compare your child to any other child including and especially to their siblings..It seemed like logical/practical advice and therefore simple enough to follow. But as I continue to grow and walk on this journey of motherhood I find that there are so many things that are easier said than done. Also, you may have every good intention to do things in a particular way , which includes a goal to never be that type of parent, but you can’t say what you will do for sure until you are actually in that position.

Sometimes it is hard to sit in a room full of kids who are on the honor roll and your child is failing, hard to be around toddlers who are talking, singing, and have good social skills and your toddler says three words and appears to be introverted, it can hurt to be around other children who are affectionate and loving and your child is distant and can barely give you a hug or to be around a child who has a great appetite and eats their fruits and veggies and your kid cries hysterically or complains at mealtime. Whether or not some of you want to admit it, this is a real issue that we all will experience! If you have NEVER EVER compared someone else’s child to your own or vice versa, trust me your time to do so will come and it’s okay and VERY normal. However, it is not okay to constantly do so and say it aloud to your child. By you doing so, they won’t be secure of your belief in them which will create a poor sense of self as they will not believe in themselves because they will feel like whatever they do will not match up to those that you compare them to, but most of all you are sending a clear message that they are “not good enough”. This can lead your child into a host of various problems to tackle right into their adulthood including depression, anxiety, shame, emotional instability and even anger management issues. Their shame will turn into anger towards you and that anger will spread to everyone who comes into their life thereafter.

I say all this to say that if you should find yourself having a desire to compare another person’s child to your own, essentially you want what they have. So instead of being jealous, bitter, frustrated or angry, why not ask them how their child reached certain milestones, gained a healthy appetite, stayed on the honor roll every year since 1st grade, etc. Keep in mind that no child is the same , so what may work for that child may not work for yours. But it’s worth a try to do something different because obviously what your child is doing isn’t working and it can drive you to that place of driving yourself crazy LITERALLY, because insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In addition, talk to your pediatrician just to double-check that your child does not need supplemental resources, vitamins, counseling, etc. In conclusion, choose to be open-minded, choose to acknowledge that asking for help or advice doesn’t make you any less of a parent, but remember in the midst of all of that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. There may even be something you have/your child has that they wish they had. You just never know, so be thankful for WHAT YOU DO HAVE…

“Never the Same”

As a licensed psychotherapist I knew about postpartum mood disorders; postpartum blues, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. I knew that it could happen to anyone, including me. These disorders vary in their impact on a mother’s daily functioning after delivery of her baby. Postpartum literally means after birth (of a child). Postpartum psychosis is the most extreme of the three in the way it is expressed, postpartum depression second in intensity and then postpartum blues. Regardless of which of the three a momma is suffering with, it is a challenging journey to walk on, but can be overcome with social support, therapy and medication if necessary.

And so…

I figured that as long as I educated myself as much as possible about pregnancy, birth and motherhood, with the support of my husband and my extended family I would have a positive postpartum experience. My husband and I decided to take our time before we had children and I thought that would definitely help us transition from being a married couple enjoying “a grown folks only lifestyle” to becoming a married couple with “a settled down family lifestyle”. We had it all planned out, or so we thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, we were not naive about the not so good times that would come along with the good times of being parents and we knew the road of parenthood would not be perfect; but postpartum blues/depression was far from our minds.

Of course our primary desire was to have healthy children regardless of the gender of the baby, but I must admit a part of me wanted my firstborn to be a son. I always said if I had children I would want a boy first, which I believe stems from me having an older brother and the close bond we shared and continue to have to this day. I admired, respected and almost idolized my brother when I was growing up and the good times we had were priceless so I knew I would want nothing less than the same if not similar dynamics between my future children; a boy and a girl. So, I prayed and asked God for my boy and when it was confirmed that I was having a boy I was beyond ecstatic and felt so blessed

And then…..

After having my son, I mean immediately after having him, my world, my body, my mental state changed. I CHANGED! Once I was told that I would have to have a cesarean birth AKA C-section after 16 hours of active labor, I literally went numb. All of a sudden I felt like I was having an outer body experience. This couldn’t be happening to me! What did I do wrong?!?!! And from that point blaming myself and feeling like “I wasn’t good enough” was the central theme of my postpartum disorder. I had postpartum depression that appeared to be postpartum blues in the beginning, but because of the length of time and the magnitude of the emotions I experienced it was definitely postpartum depression. How could I be so excited to have a child, even more excited to have a son, and read articles, books and watch documentaries, but become disconnected postpartum. I had no reference point to return to because I was not the same woman, even more so, no longer was I walking on the same journey because I CHANGED, having my son left me no choice but to change. I couldn’t see clearly through my tears and my feelings of hopelessness to know that it does get better.

The key to getting better was accepting the change and realizing that I could not get better on my own. They say every doctor needs a doctor, so I let go of my knowledge, my title, my credentials and just let myself be me, a new mom who didn’t have it all together and THAT WAS OKAY TO SAY OUTLOUD! It was also more than okay for me to seek counseling even though I am a counselor myself. Although I did not remain in counseling for a long period of time, I went to enough sessions to get clarification on connecting these new emotions to the events that triggered them and obtained the tools that I needed to cope. I never became the woman that I used to be, but how could I, she no longer existed and once I came to terms with that, I began to have an indescribable peace. So, connect the dots and find peace in the change :)..

Here are some articles/websites that go into detail of every facet of postpartum mood disorders. Knowledge is power and it may not be your issue, but because 1 in every 7 women will suffer with a postpartum mood disorder there is a strong chance that you will encounter someone who could benefit from your knowledge and support. Be aware of the signs because sometimes someone is suffering in silence.

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/do-you-have-baby-blues-or-postpartum-depression

http:// www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/depression-pregnancy.html#moreInfo

http:// www.postpartumprogress.com/

http://www.passnc.org