I am so ashamed of myself
Could be sensitive to those TTC or have experienced loss
, Nov 26 2012 11:48 AM
64 replies to this topic
Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:48 AM
Usual story here, old member going anon, as I am really ashamed of how I feel and don't want to be identified IRL. For that reason, some details have been changed; however, the crux of the issue remains the same.
A bit of background: I have 2 kids, Older (2 years) and Younger (3 months). I have been with DP for about 6 years, and we have a fairly good relationship, although it has been strained of late due to exhaustion and frustration. We live a long way away from friends and family, having moved for work reasons (which are going very well), and so have very limited support. I am currently at home with Younger, whilst Older is in Daycare. I will be returning to work in 6 weeks, and Younger will be joining Older at Daycare.
First off, I LOVE my kids. I never had the 'head over heels' love that people describe, but more a growing sense of how precious they are, and how I would do anything for them. If something happened to them, I don't know how I'd cope. They are well treated, and know that I love them, and many people comment on what a "good Mum" I am.
But here is my shame: Whilst I love my kids, I HATE being a parent. I can honestly say I hate almost all of it.
The sleep deprivation, the loss of identity, the loss of freedom, the boredom, the way everything has to be planned around the kids, the crying and tantrums, the mess, the fights over food and bed, the damage it does to my relationship, the financial cost - I'm sure there is more, but that's just off the top of my head.
I know people say that they hate some aspects of parenting, but that others make up for it. Well, for me, there is not much that makes up for it. I have moments where I appreciate Older's funny behaviours, or achievements, or cuddles. I have moments where I appreciate Younger's smiles and cooing at me. But not nearly enough to feel like this parenting caper is actually worth it. I would estimate I hate at least 80% of it. I get the impression that other parents experience much more satisfaction than I do.
I am hoping this will change as they get older, and as I go from being a cleaner/human milk producer/family coordinator to...something else. But honestly, I don't hold much hope. I think having kids was a huge
mistake for me. I thought this after having Older, which was a massive shock, as DP and I went through hell to have kids. Younger was an accident, but I couldn't bring myself to have an abortion because of personal reasons. Suffice to say, when Younger was born I had my tubes tied so this could not happen again.
I have a fantasy in which I go back in time and get to erase the future I have created. In this fantasy I remain childless, back in my old location, actually having a life. I realise how selfish and self centred that sounds, and hate myself for this as well. But it's how I feel. Don't get me wrong - I would never wish any harm on my kids, or walk away, or anything like that. But I would do things differently, in a heartbeat, if I could.
When truly exhausted, I allow myself to escape into the fantasy of this other life. I imagine what my house would look like, and how I would come back to it after work and it would be just me. Alone. In peace. I imagine tiny little details - the colour of the coffee table, flowers in the kitchen. I know it will never happen, and I'm OK with that, but I just need an escape.
I have told DP that I hate being a parent, and he understands. I have not told anyone, however, about my daily fantasy of changing the past, and how much I regret becoming a parent.
I realise this must sound awful to many people, especially those who are trying to have kids. And I'm sorry - I don't mean to offend anyone, I just need to put this out, as it is burning me inside. I don't think I will ever tell anyone IRL. I am just too ashamed.
Please don't torment me for this too much, EB...
Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:58 AM
OP, firstly, see a professional, and make sure that it isn't something else lurking (be it a MCHN, GP whoever).
Secondly, i'm not great with younger kids, i love my kids, but only really enjoy them as they get older (DS is now 6, and a delight, even though he does have his moments. DD is 4 and is slowly getting there). I've always looked forward, though, and try not to dwell too much on now (so much so that i'm dreaming of the day that the little one i'm pregnant with goes off to school, and i can start living my own life again), take every moment as it comes, and try to enjoy what i can
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:04 PM
There was a huge thread on EB recently about this, a lot of women admitted as much. I hope life looks up for you when you are back at work, with a bit more 'me' time.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:07 PM
I have a fantasy in which I go back in time and get to erase the future I have created. In this fantasy I remain childless, back in my old location, actually having a life.
you know what? i bet if you did this you would want kids. (ETA - the grass is always greener... MUCH greener on the bad days)
as a new mum i sometimes feel the same, especially when DH gets to go out on a friday night after work or head to the movies with a friend without having to plan a week in advance (i'll leave the guilt i feel as a mum leaving bub with anyone else to another post...) but then i remember the feeling i get sometimes when my little one smiles at me and shows me that she is completely dependent on me to keep her safe - she has filled a hole in my heart that i didn't realise was there.
yes, there are bad days, weeks, and as she gets older bad months too. i'm watching my friends go through terrible times with their toddlers and hoping my bub won't be the same. but i know she probably will be, and there will be times when i will ask myself why i wanted this.
i look at my siblings as they have older kids, and i look forward to those days when i can leave the kids at home alone and have intelligent conversations with them, share their lives. then i look at my bub's newborn photos and wonder where the time has gone, has she really grown that much?!?
for your own wellbeing i think you should take a break - ask the grandparents to visit for a few days to babysit or your DP to have a daddy and kids day, so you can do whatever you like. sleep, massage, shopping, watching crappy movies and eating popcorn in your pyjamas - whatever you want. and try to make it a regular thing, like once a month, then plan what you are going to do each 'you' day. it's something you can look forward to and it'll come by in no time. stick to it, don't let anyone take your day away from you.
and most importantly - enjoy it, don't feel guilty. you deserve some time. happy mummy = happy kids. look after mummy, and everyone benefits!
take care and good luck
Edited by katiebear26, 26 November 2012 - 12:08 PM.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:08 PM
It WILL get better and
you WILL feel better, especially once you start work and as they get older.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:16 PM
Good on you for recognising the impact parenting is having on you and finding a way to pursue other things as well as parenting. I hope that bit of balance that comes with working has a really positive impact on you. I realised this about myself a bit and was very nervous during my second pregnancy. When the opportunity came up to start working earlier than expected from home I jumped at the chance. I've also tried to have some other projects on the go. I tend to do a lot better when my focus is taken off day to day parenting. I'm 'good' at that but I'm not good at thinking about it too much so when I've got other things on the boil I can just get on with life and I'm too busy to get bogged down in the humdrum details.
I tend not to even entertain thoughts about what my life would be like without children. It seems so redundant that I'm not sure that any higher level of self awareness regarding that will make a difference to me now. Onward and upward and all that.
It might also help you to think about how parenting can feel really different at different ages. You might come into your own in all new ways as they get older. We had a bigger gap than you and things were just humming along easily when we decided to have number two. That's hit the reset button but I know it will change again before too long.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:17 PM
Thanks for the replies so far. And for being gentle with me...
Firstly, I'm pretty sure I'm not depressed. I did the Edinborough Post Natal Depression test, and found that any items I said "yes" to were only in the context of being a parent, not in other areas of my life, if that makes sense.
Secondly, I know people will suggest I get out more and have some "Me" time. This is problematic as I have no one to babysit (live away from relatives, and don't have many friends in my new location - none who I am close enough to to ask to babysit, anyway) apart from a hired babysitter. I do use her occasionally, and it makes things worse. What I mean is, I get away and have "Me" time and am reminded of how much I enjoy it, then hate going home, and hate myself for hating going home...Blah blah blah...Guilt upon guilt.
I am hoping that things get better as the kids get older. But what if they don't? I don't see why they should, in all honesty - my role will change, sure, but I will still have to revolve my life around being a parent. At least for the next 20 years or so.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:21 PM
I think you have every right to feel that way. Please see a GP to ensure it is not something darker (depression) but otherwise you know what? I think kids aren't the be-all end-all they are made out to be. Some people people adore them and others would prefer not to have them at all, some prople find out which one they are the hard way afterwards.... Thats ok too. Hopefully things will get easier as they get older but I say there is no shame in recognising that parenthood isnt what you expected nor desire.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:24 PM
I agree with previous posters comment about seeing a professional. You need to talk to someone who is unbiased and can really help you through this, if you don't this may get worse and there is nothing more horrible than being consumed/trapped by the thoughts in your head. Best of luck OP, you can get though this.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:29 PM
I have 4 year-old twins and for the first two years, it was really tough. They're so clingy and need you to do almost everything for them. I actually pretty much ran away to Europe for a couple of weeks to a friend's wedding when they were 2 and came back feeling much better.
They're starting to get more independent and it is so much easier!! They're also turning into people I can have an intelligent conversation with. I really hope you feel the same as your kids get older.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:30 PM
Yes I fantasise about my other life without kids.
I have even thought of vanishing and never coming back ( ESP after one flight with the kids... If DH hadn't been there to pick us up news headlines would have been about children abandoned at airport and mother not found).
I have also found many talk about the better things and gloss over the bad. It is only when I open up over my struggles that others will give up their struggles too.
Eg another mum with 22m between kids like me kept on talking how easy it was..... Was not until later I found out she had a live I house keeper/ nanny which made her life easier.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:30 PM
Did you do the Edinburgh test in relation to before/after kids?
I think that's sort of the point, before I had kids I could always smile and see the funny side, since having kids I can't (type thing).
I'm no professional but have PND myself and honestly, you sounds like you need a trip to the GP for starters and maybe some counselling, help etc aswell.
Also, it does get better as they get older and more independent.
Look after yourself OP.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:31 PM
I agree you need to see a counsellor - not necessarily because you are depressed but to help you find strategies to enjoy things more. Little changes - more childcare, a regular babysitting arrangement, weekends away etc - might make a difference and help you through this time.
It WILL get better. When they are both in school your lifestyle will be very different to what it is now.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:36 PM
OP, you don't sound depressed. Nor do you soubd like a danger to yourself or others. You sound like a perfectly lucid person who has made an unpleasant realisation.
Realistically, as Niggles said, onwards and upwards. Hopefully the end of the labour intensive period will help you to feel better about your life's trajectory. You know what you have to do in terms of sucking it up and being the best parent you can be, regardless of how you feel about the broader parenting gig.
Good luck. I have made one particular mistake in my life that has affected everything that happened subsequently. I try not to dwell on it because this is my life and what's done can't be undone, so I can sympathise with how you're feeling and hope it improves soon.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:37 PM
Just to add to the complexity...
I can understand why people would suggest counselling, even if I'm not technically depressed. However it is not possible to have counselling in my current location. I'm not trying to be obstructive; it is LITERALLY not possible. If I could do it by phone, or email, then yes, I could have counselling - but I don't know if this is available.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:41 PM
I have felt like you op, remembering the good old days when I used to live by myself and silence was golden. Doing whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted and sleeping in till noon.
I'm no professional but you don't sound depressed to me. You've just realised something about yourself that doesn't sit well with your current situation, and therefore you feel very much conflicted.
I don't know what the answer is but just know that you are not the only mother who feels this way. hugs
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:41 PM
I'm sure you could organise counselling sessions via Skype. I've found it SO useful to talk things through with someone impartial, whether a councellor for personal issues or a coach for work issues. Feeling stuck and like there's no way out is just horrible, hopefully you can find a way to get some personal advice to help you come up with some options to improve things for you.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:41 PM
"OP, you don't sound depressed. Nor do you sound like a danger to yourself or others. You sound like a perfectly lucid person who has made an unpleasant realisation.
Realistically, as Niggles said, onwards and upwards. Hopefully the end of the labour intensive period will help you to feel better about your life's trajectory. You know what you have to do in terms of sucking it up and being the best parent you can be, regardless of how you feel about the broader parenting gig. "
For me, I think this pretty much sums things up. And I will always try to be the best parent I can, I have no doubts about that.
I just hate my life right now. Fingers crossed that, as many of you have suggested, it gets better.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:41 PM
Your username kind of makes me think it may be depression, even if only fairly mild.
That said, you are in the toughest time, it gets easier when they get to three and gradually you can rebuild your life. It might not be the same as it was, but it definitely gets easier... hope things look up for you soon.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:48 PM
Do not be ashamed of yourself.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:50 PM
don't be ashamed or beat yourself up OP. They're your feelings and it's ok to feel them.
I love being a mum and adore raising my children, but I still spend PLENTY of time daydreaming about what I would be doing in my alternate child-less lifestyle (including choosing cushion covers from magazines!) We all have good and bad parenting days
If what you describe is the way you feel most of the time... and your surrounded by bad days... well I imagine life must feel pretty lousy for you. I'd agree with the counselor suggestions, they might be able to give you some strategies.
I hope things get better for you, from what I'm told it does get easier as the children get older, at least their reliance on you is less. And good on you for speaking up, parenting isn't always peachy!
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:54 PM
My mother felt this way when my brother and I were small. Now, we have really strong adult relationships with her. She enjoys having children now we are independant. I know this probably sounds far off... but perhaps this will be the way for you.
Im sorry that you feel this way and that you are ashamed of your feelings. I would suggest a bit of respite. Can you get away without the kids for a week or two? Regular breaks might help.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:54 PM
Just adding that a lot of counsellors and other professionals have on-line, phone and even email options. There is also a possibility of some visits if needed. Get on to a GP, either where you are or in the nearest big town (I realise that in Australia that could still be a days drive away, sorry).
All the best.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:12 PM
Thanks everyone, I will try to find out about phone counselling options (Skype and internet connectivity are problematic where I am). Discussing coping strategies couldn't hurt
I do agree that I just have to "suck it up" and keep going - I made the decisions, and I have to own them in the way that will create the best possible outcome, for my kids and myself.
I really wish I didn't feel this way though. And maybe part of the problem is that I have no good friends in my new location, and no close friends IRL who have kids, so no social support with this. I guess it says something about me, in that the people I choose as friends are all childless by choice.
Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:18 PM
I know some of what you're talking about, though more like 50%-ish of the time. I, too, have had fantasies of returning to my old adventurous life but that's an impossibility if I want to do anything short of running off and that's not going to happen. Sometimes I only get through this parenting gig by picturing my kid(s) as adults and the relationship I hope to have with them then. That's what makes me strong. It's not the 18 years of childhood that make me love my choice to parent, it's the 40-60 years I hope to know them as the people they are struggling to become. Here's my advice, which may be worthless, so please feel free to roll eyes and ignore
but it's how I get through the darker times:
1. Find You in there somewhere. Your old job, your new location, your childbearing status etc...those are not "You". You are pieces of all those things but they are only a tiny fraction of what makes up your life. It feels all-encompassing now because babies and young kids require so much focus, but there are other things in your life if you just make room for them. If you need a psychologist, or spiritual guidance, or self-help books, or just a quiet hour a day to rediscover the forgotten parts of you, do whatever it takes. Your contentment will be directly reflected in your children, or so I've recently concluded in my own family.
2. Share your rediscovered traits with your kids. Are you a traveler? Try to find the joy in showing new and wonderful places to your kids. Are you an art lover? A poet? Do you love digging in the dirt and growing things? Do you find politics fascinating? What did you love when you were a child? Even if the list is short I bet there are some favorites. For me it was swimming and books. For you it might've been Legos or dressups. Do you remember staring wistfully at Disney movies or Man from Snowy River and all the horses? Did you get a kick out of watching sports on weekends? Whatever it is, try to recall what you loved as a child. This is your chance to love it again. Your kids are giving that to you. Are they guaranteed to love all you love? Nah. But they might! And you will all get to know each other more deeply in the process.
3. Try your damned hardest to remember that you are the next best thing to a superhero to your kids. Even when you screw up, feel down, yell, whatever. You are tops in their eyes. Superheroes all have their weaknesses. You are acknowledging yours. That's huge. Try to start each day over fresh and with the knowledge that you will try, today, to be the amazing creature your children believe you to be. Will you succeed? It doesn't matter. It's the trying that counts.
Anyway, these are some realizations I've had in my own situation, recently, and maybe you can get something from them. Maybe not. But you're not alone in having the feelings you have. Not even remotely.
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