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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

motherhood... a journey


I wrote this post well over 2 weeks ago and debated about whether I should post it or not. It is pretty personal. I decided that I would post it because I think the topic of depression and motherhood is one that is often kept "hush hush", yet I have found so much support and love from other mothers who have gone through what I have gone through. Thank you to all those dear friends who have helped me out recently by listening and being there. It has meant so much to me.
....So here we go....

Motherhood... oh motherhood, it is so much more deep than I ever expected. There are so many ways to be a mother, and I am learning that everyday. I can't quite find the words, nothing seems enough, to  explain this crazy journey, but I am pleased to say that I have been taking some time to really think about it on many levels. And it feels good.
Something happened a few months ago, a conversation actually, that had me stop and really think about my responsibility as a parent to my children. It was painful for me to go back and think about some of the things that happened to me during childhood, and it is something that I plan on working on over the next while. But no matter how painful it was to me, I am thankful for the opportunity that it provided me with. An opportunity to look at my journey as a mother and to see things from a different perspective.
At this point in my mothering journey, I'd say I'm in the thick of it. We have two amazingly young and sweet children whom I get to spend my days with. This is my job. I don't wake up and go to a workplace everyday, no, our home, the backyard, parks, and going on outings is my place of work. Some people may think that that sounds delightfully simple and stress free, and while for the most part, this is true, I also find some days to be extremely hard, just like any other job.
Back to being in the thick of it. So we have two beautiful young children, whom I spend my days with. Whom I spend my days teaching,  playing with, cleaning up after, feeding, nurturing, taking care of, and worrying about. It never stops, even when I am exhausted. Even if I am feeling exceptionally down or depressed, I still have to carry on being their mother. It can be hard,  this job called motherhood. In fact, some would argue, the hardest (yet most rewarding job in the world).
In my first few years as a mother (I'm going on 4 years you know), I strived for perfection. I threw myself into being the perfect mama and it pretty much became who I was. Healthy food, clean home, educational play, books, outdoor time, craft time, no TV time.... it was great that I poured myself into it, but it was so hard when I would fail my own expectations. I honestly would feel guilt and worry over letting Noah watch TV or if he didn't get "x" amount of veggies into his system that day. I have since let that need for perfection go, and I'm happy to say that I am a better mama for it. I'm happier and nicer, I think. That's not to say that I don't strive for those same things today, I just don't allow myself to feel so horrible if it doesn't work out as planned.
Lately I've been going through a difficult time. Seasonal depression, burn out and a mix of old memories coming forth. Fun times... well not really. But I am happy to say that I feel like I am coming out the other side of it all and have learnt a lot about myself (and motherhood is a big part of who I am).
I am currently reading this great book, Momma Zen, and am thankful for the message that is given in the book. Ride the wave, be aware of the good and bad, most importantly- motherhood is a journey that can be spiritual.
There is that saying that, the days are long but the years are short, and oh how that is true. Coming out of a dark time, I can look back and see that even though it was a difficult time, I am still here and we are still trudging along.
I decided to write this out in hopes of opening up the lines of discussion about motherhood, depression, and just getting through it all. While I have done a good job at painting a picture of having a beautiful life here on this blog over the years, it hasn't always been the truth. Not that I have lied, I've just chosen  not to document the dark stuff. And while I still don't like to dwell on the more difficult aspects of day to day life, I think that it is okay to be open and honest with ourselves. It's okay to say, "hey, I'm having a shit day.... or a shit few months".... that's okay.
I've always appreciated the Buddhist sentiments of living in the present. Living through the good and bad. Accepting it too. And that is what I will continue to do. I will also continue to try my best to focus on the good things in life, the many blessings, as I think this is a sure way to find true happiness.
So... what do you think?
xox

6 comments:

  1. Oh Johanna, you are so brave to discuss this. You have been moved from your friends and family to a place that would be hard for any one to get used to. And how another move is in the works. It is so hard to say the words "I'm depressed". I know that. I go through spells of mild depression and loneliness and and also have memories of a past that have shaped me, strengthened me and scarred me. The funny thing is I have a very hard discussing this with my real friends and family, but recently fessed up to a couple of blog pals who rallied and supported me. Just remember to ask for help if you need it. Whether a little break from the kids, a vacation, a chat, a professional to chat to...whatever it takes. I have found the past few years hard as my children are no longer at home. I miss them terribly and find the days can be lonely. A big hug to you Brave Woman!

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  2. Good for you in being so honest on your blog. Raising children is hard work and can really run the gamut of emotions from the best to the most depressing. I remember it well. My kiddos are older and are leaving home which will be sad when the moment comes.

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  3. I have seen you make great strides as a mother and your kids are SO lucky to have you. Heck, I am lucky to have you as a mama-friend, because watching you mother teaches me so much. I have seen you go from a great mother to a rocking-it mama and the difference is confidence. No one ever knows what they're doing, but in the last few years you've started believing in yourself and trusting that you're doing the right thing. And you are. The proof is in the pudding.
    And you're only getting better. Isn't that awesome to think of?

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  4. Can it be the time of the year? I am going through a nasty miserable time right now. A lot of it to do with learning to deal with my emotions without stuffing my face with food to numb it all. Gaaahhh It has not been a pleasant week!

    Good luck working your way through and just remember you are not alone in your struggles.

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  5. Johanna, I wish we could see and accept ourselves the way the people who love us do. It would make life so much easier.
    I think of you often, so brave and determined, so creative and honest. You are such a good, good person. A bright light on this planet. We are so lucky that you share your life through words and pictures here.
    I hope you are filled with a fresh outlook and new energy very soon!
    xoxo

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  6. Thank you so much for all these lovely, supportive and thoughtful comments. It's wonderful to hear of everyone's experiences. I really do think that the more open we are with our feelings, the better it can be.
    It's not easy being honest about how we really feel. It puts us in a vulnerable spot, but it can also be very liberating when you dont have to hide how you really feel.
    Thank you so much ladies xox

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