Parenting is no walk in the park, we can all attest to that. Every parent needs support when they have their babies, so what do you do when the village doesn’t exist? From sleepless nights to meltdowns and excessive caffeine, we do what we must to survive. I can admit looking back on those days when I was hanging by a thread, how it would have been so wonderful if I had a village or maybe two.
The Independent Mom
As a new mom, I really struggled. I had this beautiful baby boy that I waited so long for. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early twenties and it wasn’t easy for me to get pregnant. So when I finally found out I was pregnant, we were thrilled, but also scared. I was scared because I knew the village wasn’t there.
I don’t have a large family and I have an estranged relationship with my mother. We didn’t have in-laws, friends, or relatives that lived really close and I knew, I was going to be solely dependent on my husband and myself. For us, the village didn’t exist. I am a very independent, type-A person. I talked myself up to conquering motherhood as if it were a business project. Man was I wrong! Looking back that “village’ would have changed a lot of things for me.
Once I had my Aiden, everything inside me changed. I second-guessed my every move and my anxiety disorder spun out of control. I found out during the first few weeks that my son had an airway defect which decreased the amount of airflow, and scared me to death. My OCD/Anxiety turned into me not sleeping at all, on top of the already minimal hours I was able to rest. I slowly turned into a person I didn’t recognize and found myself slipping into postpartum depression. I realized how badly I needed that village, but the village didn’t exist.
Family and friends came to visit and boy was I good at hiding how bad it really was. I’ve always had that ability to put on a happy face despite any situation and yet here I stood, dying inside. Feeling like a failure as a mother, feeling alone and in despair and I didn’t know how to climb out of this hole. No one knew! I kept this internal battle to myself, which was the absolute worst thing I could do. I thought it was just a hormonal process after childbirth.
The Breaking Point
When the village doesn’t exist, you feel alone and loneliness turns into sadness. As time went on, so did my depression. I then realized I had to see someone when I started to feel that my life was not worth it any longer. If I didn’t start seeing a therapist, I am not sure I would be here today. I cry when I admit that to myself and when I reflect on this hard time. My therapist became a member of my village.
Then, as I started to feel better I went back to work. I was able to work from home thankfully and hired a friend I knew to be my nanny for Aiden. This was the first real outside help I received. Yes, I was still a hot mess, but it was so nice to have someone help! I was also able to shift my racing thoughts and transfer that to my meaningful work.
Starting The Village Over
When my son was about six months old, we moved to Florida. My depression still wasn’t 100% gone, but it was manageable. It was hard selling my home and moving to a state I’ve only visited. I also knew that the village that I so desperately yearned for was going back to 0. Once again, the village didn’t exist.
The transition wasn’t easy, but I was so lucky to find new nannies that became my friends. These nannies were moms that just understood and got me. Who knew how hard it was for me to move, to go through PPD and did everything to really help me. These women, I am eternally grateful for. In addition to their friendship, I started meeting new moms and became part of a mom group to help me adjust and give my son the opportunity for playdates. Slowly but surely I created a small village of dependable and wonderful people. People that really helped me out of my depression and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Creating The Village
So what do you do when the village doesn’t exist? You create one! You do what you need to do in order to feel supported. For moms like me who struggled not having a mother figure or family they could depend on, I want you to go online and find a mom or parents group. I want you to reach out and get to know other moms and families because I can guarantee you there are those that stand-alone too. If you can, hire help when you need it the most. When you finally find your people, you can take a deep relaxing breath, because you then know that your village is completed.
No one has to struggle alone! If you are struggling with PPD, Anxiety, Depression, etc., please don’t suffer silently as I did. Your life has meaning, you are worthy and loved. Please speak to a licensed therapist as soon as possible.
For support resources, please visit these websites
Check out this article from Tampa Bay Moms on Post Partum Doula’s