Diaries of an Instagram mama: The realities of mental health

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By Cheryl-Anne

Being a mother is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced, but it’s not without difficulty. In fact, I don’t think anything or anyone actually prepared me for how difficult it can be at times.

I remember my pre baby days, when I used to think mums just have it together all the time. It’s almost expected that they should, when motherhood is in fact challenging and sometimes overwhelming.

But how can it not be?

You are responsible for a whole human — and hopefully nurturing that little person so that they become a phenomenal person, and not a murderer or something… but seriously, no pressure!

Unworthy mama

I suffer with depression and anxiety, and have done for as long as I remember.

There are days I feel like I am unworthy of being Euphoria’s mum and that she deserves more than me.

There are days where I want to do absolutely nothing but stay in bed with my head covered with the duvet. But that is just not possible — and probably a good thing!

The reality is that my ‘to do’ list seems to never end so even on my ‘down’ days I challenge myself to get 2 or 3 productive things done.

There is also no shame in admitting when I am feeling low and in need of some extra support. I am only human after all.

Blame game

My daughter is the happiest little person I have ever seen so I must be doing something right… I tell myself that anyway! But being an anxious person means I tend to blame myself for everything, even things that are completely out of my control.

When Euphoria wasn’t walking by her first birthday I found myself constantly wondering why — although the rational part of my brain kept telling me that babies develop at different paces (just as all humans do), and I need to stop looking at babies on Instagram walking at 9 months old!

Of course she started walking soon after her birthday and now she is a very naughty and unstoppable force of nature.

One thing I have learnt during my first year of motherhood is that self-care is OK. It actually enables you to give the most to your children.

If you are running on empty, what do you have left to give to them?

This is especially essential when you follow a gentle style of parenting, which is so full on.

I am still breastfeeding and co-sleeping which I absolutely love, but having Euphoria tug at my (actually her) boobs whenever she feels like it, including at night time, can leave me feeling drained (no pun intended) and in desperate need of a break.

Take a break

Not everyone has lots of people around them to give a helping hand (although I am one of those people as luck would have it!!) So it’s not always possible, which means you have to take measures to give yourself a break when you can.

When I say break, I really just mean a moment for some self care.

To me self care means having 5 minutes here and there to have a cup of tea or read part of a book, something for “me” so I can hang on to my sanity on days that are particularly difficult — which is easier said then done.

There is nothing selfish about needing/wanting a break, because when you give so much love out constantly, you need to find a way to recharge so that you have more to give.

Self preservation is key when it comes to fighting depressive feelings. It’s OK to take some time away from your phone, social media etc.

Best and worst job

I’m prone to constant over thinking due to my anxiety, and I have always put other people’s needs before my own.

But since becoming a mum I have realised that that is not sustainable and the only person I absolutely have to do that for is Euphoria. Other loved ones will (or should) understand.

And then I find myself worrying if I am smothering my daughter or doing too little — and how either one could impact her development; it’s overwhelming! For example: Should I or shouldn’t I vaccinate? When should I stop breastfeeding? Should I still be co-sleeping? Should I let her spend more time away from me?

It’s exhausting.

Being a mum is definitely challenging that’s for sure. But it’s the best job in the world.

Follow Cheryl-Anne, or more accurately the most beautiful baby ever aka Euphoria, on the gram >> @Euphoria_Lotus

What’s your mental health at? We want to hear from YOU. Share your stories on social media using #WokeMamas or comment below. ❤

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