I’ve always been independent. It’s one of my favorite things about myself, to be honest. I enjoy going places and doing things by myself. Maybe it’s the introvert in me, but it’s just how I’ve always been.
With that being said, I realize there’s a certain type of privilege that allows me to be independent. Professionally, I’ve been granted opportunities where I was able to work hard and achieve things on my own, with limited help from my network. Others aren’t so lucky.
Personally, however, being independent has really shaped the person that I am today. I’m blessed to be in a committed relationship with my husband and we are codependent on each other in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, I pride myself on being my own person with my own values and my own abilities. I am very proud of the fact that I can do anything on my own, if needed.
That’s why, if we’re being completely honest, having a baby has been HARD. I won’t even go into the process of actually creating a baby and dealing with fertility issues — asking for medical help in that area left me feeling like I was coming up short in so many ways — but physically giving birth and being a new mom has shown me that I can’t do everything on my own.
In the past two months, I’ve asked for help more than I ever have in my entire life. That pride I mentioned earlier has been forced to move aside in order to make room for a new priority: my wellbeing.
Feeding and caring for this new human 24/7 is more challenging and exhausting than I ever knew possible. Of course it’s rewarding and fun in so many ways, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I am physically, mentally, and emotionally tired a majority of the time.
And, as luck would have it, the independent woman who likes her alone time was blessed with an amazing maternity/family leave package — which means I’m going to be home doing this stay-at-home mom thing for a few months. Months.
In theory, this is an awesome opportunity to bond with my child. In practice, it’s hard as hell. Professionally, I’ve had to ask for help with my job, which gave me tons of anxiety and still does, when I have a moment to think about it. And then personally, spending 12 hours a day alone with my son while my husband goes to work is draining. I’m still learning how to be a mother and our child is learning everything and I rarely get time to rest or eat or breathe. I’m so beyond thankful for this opportunity, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I am tired, y’all.
What I’ve learned from this experience is that asking for help doesn’t make you weak — especially if it helps to keep you happy. I had a lot of anxiety during this pregnancy because of our losses, and my doctor suggested I speak with a social worker because of it. The stigma that still surrounds mental health made me nervous and weary, but speaking with someone and learning how to cope with my thoughts allowed me to be happier. And now, when I’ve spent hours trying to get my baby down for a nap only to have him upset and overtired, I feel confident that when my husband comes home I am able to tell him that I need some me time.
I wanted to be the mom that does it all, but I can’t be. I won’t be. I don’t need to be. And that makes me happy.