Monday, October 10, 2016

#write31days: Are You Depressed Because You Have Three Kids Under Three?

This is the big question. I feel this is often an underlined in conversations, if not specifically mentioned.

My opinion is NOPE.

Three under three means I have less time for socializing, need to organize more and maybe definitely affects how scatter-brained I am.

But these kids actually keep me sane because I love them so so so much. Maybe that is not the way for everyone, but it is for me. If anything, I am more contemptuous of anyone else who discusses my kids or my parenting in ways my brain perceives as vaguely condescending.

(Perceives, of course, is the key word.)

It's the most favorite phrase I hear: "You have your hands full!"

I usually reply that, I have one hand free (chuckle, I'm so clever), or, I'm baby wearing!, or, UP YOURS. (Sort of kidding on the last one.)

A better reply: Hands full, heart full! 

If you can't believe that you're seeing a person who has one to multiple children, here's what you can say:
  1. She/ He/ They're so beautiful!
  2. You are a lucky mama!
  3. Just smile and say nothing. (Because you don't have to say ANYTHING, since you usually do not know the person in the slightest.) 
What then? Say nothing, yes; instead, practice acts of mercy. Few people are interested in unsolicited opinions. How are your actions going to reflect love?

My friend Maria just sent me a couple of weeks worth of dinner. Praise the LORD. I'll only have to worry about the kids, which is easy enough. I am still in awe at her thoughtfulness. I've had a few friends send me cards to say Hi, I love you. That's it. That's what I need - support and love.

We Catholics have a moral obligation to participate in the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy. I know for me, I am especially practicing "bearing wrongs patiently" these days... I am often impatient. It stings me to recognize how impatient I can be, but the self-awareness which comes from my healing is a blessing indeed.

Many cases of depression swirl around the idea that the mother is not enough; and in some ways, this thought is right - no one person can *do* enough. But each person has the intrinsic value and dignity of *being enough*. We all must show through our actions and words that this is the case, and try to undermine the false demons.

Favorite things to mail new mothers:
1. Anything  aden+anais (e.g. soft bibs, blankets)
2. Starbucks gift card
3. Any type of gift card involved in expedient purchases
4. wipes + dipes
5. a little luxuries box - this is much more individualized, but: a new water bottle, nail polish, easy breakfast options, a good pair of socks, flavored sparkling water, a favorite magazine, a Netflix gift card (or Hulu!), a box of tea/ bag of coffee... really, anything you feel a mother would enjoy. {I'll write more on creative gift ideas soon. This is a favorite activity of mine!}

The same goes for the depressed mother. I like to send belated gifts because once the routine has set in, it's nice to receive something to know I remember that they have a baby at home and I am thinking of them. I tend to send mother-centric gifts, because she needs to know that people care, even when she feels alone and overwhelmed. Babies are need love, feedings and changings, and the emotional energy is going 24/7.

When in doubt, if money is tight, just send a card.

It really is the little things.


My "rules" for this series are short (especially before commenting): this topic is personal and I am currently living in it. This is not an abstract for a dissertation. I do not have 20/20 hindsight yet. I don't need any medical advice, as I keep in close communication with my own PA + Dr., as well as being married to one. My husband and I practice many different types of coping mechanisms as well, which I will write about too. My situation is 100 percent unique and I am writing only about myself. These posts are directed at no one, and still, I am opening myself up to share my experiences. If I can help one person, it will be worth it. Please respect this adult conversation at face value.


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1 comment:

  1. When I encounter a clearly overwhelmed mom out and about, I always try to smile and wave at the kids or tell her that her kids are adorable/funny/a blessing. Because all those things are true, and who doesn't love seeing a little kid waving back at them?!

    Love the gift ideas :)