Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Are you a "Detached Mama"?
When children come into your life it should be an exciting and joyous occasion. After all what could be better than holding your precious little bundle of joy for the first time and thinking of all the ways you want their life to be better than yours was. When I had my first daughter, Camryn in January of 2007, I was elated. She slid into this world at a whopping 9lbs, 11oz “au natural”. I was excited because I had a boy and now a girl. The disappointment started when I was discharged from the hospital and she had to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). I was so pissed off, at myself, my husband, the nurses and the doctors. I could not understand why she couldn’t come home! I cried, and cried and cried until I couldn’t get another tear out. I knew that Camryn couldn’t maintain the proper blood sugar levels, but I also knew that I wanted her home. Her stay in the NICU was brief, Thank God! When she came home I was really excited but it still seemed like something wasn’t right. It was like I loved her, cared for her and nurtured her, but I didn’t completely connect emotionally with her. It was my first girl and I wasn’t sure what was happening. I bonded very well with my son Brandon and I wasn’t sure why this was happening to me, to us. My husband got a new job moved away (2 hours) to get our new place situated back home. My mom came for three weeks to help me with the kids since he was gone. She helped out a lot with my son which gave me more one on one time with my baby girl, but things still didn’t feel right. It was as if my emotions were hot and cold, but I wasn’t in control of them. I knew that I wanted to shower her with so much love and affection, but it seemed like a task, instead of it coming naturally. I was confused and embarrassed to seek out advice from anyone. I mean, seriously how do you tell someone that you were just blessed with a beautiful baby girl, but you don’t feel like that’s your kid. It felt like I was trying to love a stranger’s baby. When I look back on it now I think I may have been suffering from a mild case of post-partum depression. Of course the doctors tell you that if you start feeling weird to contact them immediately so they can prescribe something. I didn’t want to be doped up and like I said before I was embarrassed. These feelings were unnatural. I had a tough battle going on inside of me. I was thinking what kind of mother can’t pull it together enough to make the proper connection with her newborn baby? I wanted to know what was making me feel this way. I suffered in silence and for a few months was detached from my daughter, but I didn’t have to be. Looking back on it I was detached and I recognized it, but I wouldn’t tell anyone and I did not seek help from my doctor. I did not have to go through this alone, but I was afraid of what people would think of me as a mom. I know that are some Mama’s out there who go through post-partum depression and they are simply telling themselves to “pull it together” instead of going to the doctor to get medical help. They are telling themselves that this is just a phase and they will soon overcome it. I would like to say to the“Detached Mama’s” you are not alone and you can get help, but you have to take the first step. Some Mama’s don’t have post-partum depression, but they are detached because they suffer from being overwhelmed with the duties of a mom and wife. This detachment can leak out in various ways, such as you no longer being interested in comforting your child when they cry or are hurt, you have a nonchalant attitude towards your family, and you don’t want to receive help from others that can benefit you family when offered. I am not a perfect Mama, none of us are. When I feel overwhelmed, the first thing I do is communicate it to my husband. I am brutally honest about my feelings because I don’t want them to morph into negative behavior towards my husband or my children. Someone right now knows of someone who may fit the description of a “detached Mama”. This Mama may not have small children, she just may be generally overwhelmed.I am no expert on depression or post-partum depression, but what I will say it to extend an olive branch and reach out. Be sincere and offer help. It may mean offering a meal or offering to watch the kids so Mama can get out of the house for an hour or so. An hour or so may not seem like a lot, but sometimes it is needed. If you are a “Detached Mama” reading this blog, don’t beat yourself up, admit your struggles and seek help. It doesn’t make you weak or a bad Mama it makes you human.Remember a Happy Mama is a healthy Mama, inside and out!