While I am several years past postpartum depression at this point in my life, I have been seeing a lot of articles about it recently, and a lot of new studies coming out about the best ways to combat it. Having struggled with the whole spectrum: baby blues to full-blown postpartum, I was able to do some self-reflection and pinpoint what the two biggest issues were in my struggle -- lack of support, and unrealistic expectations.
I felt totally alone. Granted, I was not in the best relationship at the time, I still felt like no one understood how stressed I was feeling, and how no matter how I tried, I just could not pull it together. I was putting in 100 percent effort, and felt like I was failing miserably at everything I did. The missing piece, as I said, was support. Boy, do I wish I had found a Mom's group back then. I am willing to be that would have been the key.
I had to laugh a few months ago when I saw a notification on my Facebook page, an invitation from a friend, inviting me to join a page a friend created called "How I Suck at Life Since Becoming a Mom." I literally laughed out loud. Her description of the page was:
Ever notice how most things online are all about the perfect parent with the perfect meal plan, children dressed impeccably and all crafts not only finished but perfected? Then you look around the house and see what looks like jelly on the wall, laundry piled higher than the dresser it's been sitting next to for what feels like forever, realize it's 5:00 and you have no idea what you're going to feed your kids for dinner. Well that's what this group is for!
This description continued to make me laugh, so I joined the group. Much to my surprise, there was something indescribably therapeutic about seeing other moms sharing the imperfect moments in their lives. I've often thought of this group as the anti-Pinterest. We do not pretend to be perfect, with spotless houses, gourmet dinners, and impeccably behaved children. We are a group of moms, now over 100-strong, who are real. We often have a mess in the kitchen, microwaved chicken nuggets for dinner, and children with questionable behavior. We all screw things up on a regular basis, no matter how hard we try. But what happens when we screw things up is the most incredible part.
We post how badly our days went, how ridiculously our children behaved, or how no matter how hard we tried that day, everything went wrong. Within minutes, there is an outpouring of support. Other moms share their failures, offer kind words, and frequently remind us that it is okay to laugh at our failures.
Seeing that you are not the only person experiencing the imperfections of motherhood is absolutely incredible. It is uplifting beyond words. We have created a group where we are allowed to be ourselves, and there is no judgment. We are sarcastic, pessimistic, and we act like normal women. Not once has anyone posted something condescending towards another member. Not once has anyone posted what a terrible day they've had, and received a negative comment.
We have created a small little piece of sanity for ourselves! This would have saved me many nights of tears, and probably lowered my own expectations of myself quite a bit if I had discovered this years ago. Having some type of support system as a new mom is incredibly important. I would encourage all moms to seek out this type of support group - you will be surprised at how much support you did not know you were missing!