The Regret of Motherhood
Most mom’s will admit that there is something they regret about the way they raised their children or a decision they made. Some moms regret the way they disciplined their kids, while others might regret the way they chose to feed them (bottle or breast). Many mothers wish they would have changed the way they got their children to sleep when they were babies. Maybe you can relate to some of these, or perhaps you regret something completely different. I am only six months in to motherhood, but I too have regrets. Specifically, I have one really big one.
Last week I wrote this article about my encounter with postpartum depression. I, of course, regret having ppd, but that isn’t my big regret. At the end of that article, I did hint at my big regret though. I regret not enjoying the first several months of my son’s life. I regret missing out on so much joy because I will clouded with so much anxiety. I have to really work hard to remember good things about him as a newborn. Often times, in order to remember those good times, I have to look back at photographs and videos. That’s one of the reasons why photographs are so important to me and why I decided to become a photographer. This experience has just shown me once again why they are so necessary.
Yes, that was a shameless plug for photography.
Even now, when I have an episode of depression, my husband has to help me remember all the joy my son has brought into our lives. When the darkness comes, I just can’t see any light. Due to my depression, I missed out on enjoying my son as a newborn. I didn’t really want to take care of him or snuggle him while he slept. So, regretfully, I only held my sleeping boy a few times. I can never get that stage of his life back. While I was there in body during all of those sweet little newborn moments, I wasn’t mentally there. I can look back at pictures or watch a video to remind me of that time, but I can’t actually go back and experience those moments with joy like I wish I had the first time around.
I know this all sounds quite sad, but there is hope. I am learning to be present for each and every moment. When my son is awake and when my husband is home, I put everything else aside and spend time with them. You see, other things will always be there but my son won’t always be in this stage. One day, he will be all grown up and I don’t want to look back any more and regret missing time with him. I want to be present not just physically, but also mentally.
I am still a work in progress, but I hope to encourage another mother of young children or a momma-to-be, to actively be a part of your child’s life as much as possible. If you aren’t mentally present due to an illness like depression, like I was, please do whatever it takes to fix that. You don’t want to look back a realize how much you missed.