The goal of the Mental Health Mom Series is for Moms and Moms-to-be to share their stories to be used to help inspire, uplift and spread awareness about mental health and motherhood.
Whether you suffer from depression, PPD, PTSD, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder or something else your story may help change the life of another mom reader and that’s important to me!
A submission by Stefanie Bernard of FeelGoodMum
I Thought I Was Perfectly Prepared For being a Perfect Mum
I am not ugly but also not the prettiest.
I am not stupid but also not the smartest.
You could have called me just your average woman who needed a bit more self-confidence but overall was a happy person.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I was terrified though looking forward to the new adventure. So, I prepared as much as I could as I wanted this to be perfect – I wanted to be the perfect mum.
I read many books about pregnancy, together with my husband, we attended all the birth preparation classes and even a hypnobirthing class.
In addition, I started to read a lot of articles online and came across all those amazing mum’s profiles on social media. I was fascinated how they managed motherhood in such a perfect way.
Getting their pre-pregnancy body back in just a couple of weeks after birth, preparing meals before birth so as to allow more sleep or play time with their newborns and so on. I wanted all this as well.
By the end of the pregnancy my baby’s nursery was set, I cooked my freezer meals in preparation of the newborn phase, all the baby clothes were washed and folded away, the house had been cleaned spotless and I was ready and excited for my baby to come.
My son was born and then it hit me – It was not all pink cake.
No one had told me or neither did I read about all the negative feelings which can come with being a parent. Or I may have just ignored those articles when I came across them. And after my son’s birth there started a very hard time for me.
GUILT – The guilt of not being a good enough mum for my baby. Blaming myself for the long labor and stress I had put my baby through. Blaming myself that my baby couldn’t sleep and much more.
FEAR – All kind of scenarios went through my head, e.g. that my Maternal Child & Health Nurse or even my own family would also think of me of being a terrible mother and therefore take my baby away from me. Or the fear of losing my child due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
LONELINESS – Especially feeling lonely at 3 am, night after night, while either breastfeeding or trying to get my baby to sleep. Realising I haven’t been able to really talk to anyone, because all of my energy is focused towards my baby.
EMPTINESS – There was a hole in my heart because I felt like I lost the love towards my husband and couldn’t connect to my baby.
DEPRESSION – The heaviness of my body. Not wanting to leave the bed. Not wanting to dress or talk or do anything, though I had to, as my newborn relied on me.
Only months in, I understood that I was feeling that way due to a mental issue – I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression. Until then realizing that this is something on which I can work on and get better again. It is not me forever, I will be happy again.
Though I am still working on totally overcoming this, it all started with me accepting that I am not perfect. I am not the perfect mum I dreamt of and will never be. I am and will always just be average. AND THIS IS OK. THIS IS ME.
I learned to accept that my faults and imperfectness makes me – ME.
And by just accepting myself to be good enough, I now know that I am the perfect mum for my son.
Steffi wants to raise awareness of Postnatal Depression by showcasing her own battles with it. She believes that we should talk more openly about this topic and there is no reason to feel ashamed or guilty.
On her blog, the first time mum of a 1-year old son named Luca, and wife to her amazing husband Fabrice is writing about her fears and hopes and wants to make sure other mothers in the same situation can relate and not feel lonely in this battle.