Today "is a pretty big day, and you didn't really respond, so I'm just gonna tell you: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! TA-DA!"--Rapunzel from Tangled the Movie
Yes! Everyone! It's actually my BIRTHDAY! MAY 26TH! Another year of memories to look back on. Another year of experiences, and only one year left of my blessed 20's!
Last year was difficult. I had baby girl at the end of of 2018, so the front half of my 28th year was a blur, but as I got going and got back to myself I could tell something had shifted. I wasn't fully myself. I was acting differently to my kids. My husband said I was different, and I just wasn't happy. Come to find out that I had Situational Depression.
Situational Depression is a common form of depression that affects someone whose expectations weren't met. You're going through the stages of grieving over the loss of your expectation of a certain situation. Hence Situational Depression. I've never been depressed in my whole life, so suddenly feeling these mood shifts were unnerving to say the least.
After having Abby, going through a second C section, then not being able to breastfeed for the second time left me feeling defeated, and hopeless. My vision of "Trying again the second time around" and actually "Succeeding" at these basic mothering tasks was my lost expectation. People kept telling me "Kelly, it's fine! Baby's are fed formula all the time! You're doing great! Don't worry about it". Everyone around me was supportive, but all I felt was grief, depression and severe anxiety that I wasn't doing my absolute BEST.
I struggled to find motivation to exercise. I struggled to get everyone on a solid schedule. I struggled to get out of bed till around June. The sun came and warmed me up a little and got me moving. But the sun goes away in the Fall and then the Holidays hit with the cold. It all came flooding back. Worse than before.
I was busying myself with crochet orders and craft markets, but nothing seemed to truly pull me out of this wretched hole I was in. Finally, after a long talk with my sweet hubby and good look in the mirror after a crippling anxiety attack, I called my doctor. I got some medications to get me through Christmas, and started seeing a therapist.
Comparison is the thief of Joy -- Theodore Roosevelt
I've always thought I should be the best. I should be the most talented. The most graceful. The most eloquent. The best writer. The kindest person and the. best. mom. I was told my whole life how wonderful I was. "Kelly you did so well at that recital!" or "Kelly, I loved you in that show!" or "Kelly, you're so good at this. Great job!"
Now, I know you're probably like "Kelly! Those are good things to hear!"
Yeah... but if you hear that all the time, you start thinking you shouldn't do anything wrong or you won't be loved. I had powerful shame messages all over my accomplishments. I would compare myself to others who got the same "Good girl!" exclamations. People online. People I didn't even know! Whenever I'd get pregnant, I'd search for the most popular ways to BE PREGNANT!
Get the cute dress. Get the fancy bottles. Get that cute nursing cover because you know you'll be able to do it this time and look like those cute nursing moms at church. Get the fancy breast pump because the nursing moms all have THAT pump. Watch youtube videos of moms who tell their natural birth stories after they've already had a c-section. See! You can do that! You can beat those c-sections! Get the cute ring sling carrier because you didn't have that last time and maybe since you didn't carry your last baby all the time is the reason why you couldn't breastfeed because he was always picked up and bottle fed right from the hospital and you didn't put your foot down enough and you and you and YOU!
When I got in the car after leaving the lactation consultant, after Abby LOST WEIGHT DURING A FEEDING at the clinic, I cried. I sobbed and sobbed. I officially "Called it quits" and switched to formula. Yes, I felt like I was quitting. That I was waving my white flag and pulling out of the race. I wasn't going to win so why try. My expectations of being the cute nursing momma at church were crushed. My expectations of being the mom with the cool natural birth story after a c section were ruined. Shame. Shame. Shame.
As I write these words, I feel a sense of relief. I feel like I am finally releasing what has been pushing on my shoulders for over a year. I compared myself to EVERYONE. So much so that I was depressed and having anxiety attacks. Stepping away from social media wasn't an option because I had a business to run, so I worked with my therapist. I received AMAZING coaching and now I am in a place where I can tell this story.
I didn't think I'd be telling this heroic story for my birthday post, but here I am! Wounds and all. My inner child was very wounded these past 18 months. It's taken a lot of reflection, work, and time to get me back to a place of confidence and self love. If you, or someone you know needs to hear this story, or needs to release this story for themselves, send them to me. I want to be a listening ear, and a soundboard of confidence for them.
It does get better. You CAN truly be YOU again. You don't have to hide behind your crushed expectations. You can change your story. You can live the life you want to without fearing the judgment of others, good or bad!
So, with a virulent virus on the loose, a new Inner Child Concept for my business, a new fresh perspective of my goals and dreams and aspirations, I move on into my 29th year! I'm more hopeful than ever before because I. AM. BEAUTIFULLY. ME! I always will be, and that is more than enough.
Happy Birthday to me and now it's time to eat all the sushi I can fit in my mouth!