4.08.2011

motherhood has made me insecure

When the Pie was about 6 months old I began battling this strange sense of insecurity and fear. I felt like I was not been enough of a wife, too much of a mom, and less of myself than ever before.
I feared that the Mountain Man wasn’t satisfied with our life.

I had no reason to actually think this, but it continually popped into my head that he could have one foot out the door and I wouldn’t know. He could leave and I would be left alone, with a baby I wouldn't have had if I didn't have him.

He could decide that living with a baby was too hard, that he wanted a better wife, more sex, fewer diapers (don’t we all?).

He was confused, hurt, concerned that I felt so…fearful. Why was I suddenly so insecure?

I think it was about my perception of myself, my expectations of myself, and the ongoing adjustment to motherhood.

I felt less interesting, less attractive, less like myself. I’m having to re-define myself, which means re-defining my marriage. I have to change my expectations of myself, and therefore my expectations for our life together. My focus is no longer on my husband, but now primarily on my baby and only secondarily on him. I have less mental and emotional space to focus on our relationship, and I feel the shift in focus.

And that made me feel like there was a change in us, and that he will feel it and decide it’s not what he wants out of a marriage. It was my own irrational hormone-driven thinking. Sure, there’s less time for us and I’m more focused elsewhere. I know he loves me. This was irrational. I’m not used to being irrational. But the biggest issue I think, is that I need him more than ever now, and being so reliant on him makes me vulnerable and a little scared.

I know that he wants nothing more than to spend his life with me and the Pie.
Well, that and maybe another plate of dinner.

I don’t know if it was a new shift in hormones or if I was just tired or overwhelmed or what, but it doesn’t make sense. Thankfully I’ve somehow made another shift, feeling more confident and secure, happier as a mom and more connected with the Mountain Man. My insecure phase was about a month and a half of on-and-off panic, uncertainty, fear and sadness. It was (thankfully) short-lived, and now that I've been past it for a few weeks it seems absurd, insane, ridiculous.

At the time though, it was excruciating, intense and aching. Sleep deprivation, a lack of time and connection, and whatever hormone surge (or drop) may have been happening along with my ongoing quest to accept my new role, my new body, my new schedule of diapers and laundry - all played a part. On top of it, teething, mobility, boredom and and screeching were all creating more work and less opportunity for me to close the distance between myself and the Mountain Man. These things all happened to converge at this one time, leading to my panic that I would be left alone.

And now, somehow, the cloud has lifted. Maybe I'm again making another step in my adjustment to motherhood. Maybe the Pie is sleeping better at night, allowing me to sleep better. I'm enjoying her more, enjoying motherhood more. The Mountain Man and I still don't have enough time with each other, but it feels more solid. It was a blip - an intense blip that felt so long while I was in it - but a blip.

Did anyone else have a plummet in their self-confidence around 6 months? Am I the only one who felt suddenly insecure about the state of my relationship?

4 comments:

  1. Not at 6 months (obviously, since Tobi is only 5 months old), but I'd say around 3 months or so I was feeling much like you were. Pete was working a lot, so he wasn't home much, and I was home all day with Tobias. And that was around the time he started teething, so it threw me for a loop. I had a once easygoing baby flipping out because he was in so much pain, and what I felt as no one to help me out at home. I was questioning my mothering skills, and at the same time really missing my time with my husband. I felt us growing distant because the evenings had become daddy-son time, with maybe 5-10 minutes left for us to connect before bedtime. And I felt too that this wasn't what Pete had signed up for (since I was the one who REALLY wanted a baby for the longest time), and he could leave whenever he got tired of us; but those feelings may have been due to my parents' divorce. Since then, the teething pain has eased, Tobi is sleeping well again, and since he's down now at a consistent time at night Pete and I get to enjoy about an hour of baby-free time before we go to bed. It does pass, but boy was it tough at the time.

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  2. so glad I'm not the only one - and at the same time, so sorry it's something that happens to other moms!

    i think it really does have a lot to do with the dads (or whoever is the parent working outside of the home) being gone. they leave, have experiences and relationships, accomplishments and interests they are able to fulfill outside of the home. and we're at home, wiping someone else's butt, feeling like we have less to offer. there was a lot of confusion when i was fearfully, tearfully asking if i was going to end up left behind.

    my parents are still together so i don't have that fear because of them, but with such high divorce rates in general, i feel like it's hard to NOT become a statistic. i want our relationship to succeed, and to (unfortunately) be a statistical anomaly.

    we had a few weeks when it also seemed like all our interactions were slightly bicker-y, like we just couldn't be happy the way we used to. and i missed that. bickering doesn't help me feel secure. i sometimes wanted the baby to sleep for a whole day so we could enjoy some semblance of what our lives used to be.

    and thankfully it has gotten better, we maybe are just getting used to our new relationship - that we just don't have time for each other. we still talk about "the old days" but we can talk about it now with a smile of happy memories as opposed to anguished longing. and aside from last night, sleep has improved as well! (that's a big part of it, i'm sure)

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  3. I think not all men are equipped to deal with what it means to have a baby and what it means to be married to a mother. My exhusband used to tell me all the time that I changed when I had our daughter - well DUH! Hence - he is the exhusband (we stayed together until she was 6). It is a life changing experience, which is why I love reading your blog. Its an adjustment for men too - and they SHOULD adjust - the same way the moms are adjusting. Its a time of great change in a family - and its takes time to figure it all out. I learned a lot during that time of my life - and I picked a much better man when I married for the second time!

    Im glad that you all are figuring it out - working together - cause that is what it takes. Doing it together - growing together - adjusting together. It doesnt work if only one person makes the transition to parenthood and the other one is still lagging behind refusing to grown up.

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  4. hi jennie! yes, adjust adjust adjust. and the mountain man has had to do it as well. i roll my eyes occasionally as he realizes he no longer has the boundless free time he used to, but i shouldn't. he's accepting his new role and trying to learn to live with it. he gets sad occasionally when his new, increased time commitments to family takes away time he would have otherwise spent camping or hiking or mountain biking or motorcycling, but as he mourns his loss of time - he is really making the same adjustment I am, and mourning the losses while he takes up things (family time) he won't let go of. thanks for reading!

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