Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Know For Sure by Sophie Patten

I have three daughters. My oldest Evelyn Rose is 5, my middle daughter Annabelle Heather is 2 ½ and my youngest Penelope Violet is 6 months old.  I am 28 and have been married for six years and my husband and I run a publishing company owned by my father.

Since having my youngest baby girl in February of this year I have felt overwhelmed with postpartum depression.  I feel like there is a lot of stigma on this subject because people seem to go to the worse case scenario, which for me would be that I want to harm my baby or older kids.  Lucky for me this isn’t the case.  I just feel very low and have been very hard on myself since she was born.  I have been unable to pull myself from the depths of sorrow that depression has taken me.  Some days I have felt completely hopeless. I have felt unworthy to be the mother to my wonderful children or the wife to my incredible husband.

On those dark days, I compare myself to other women around me. To the moms and wives who in my hazy-headed opinion are managing to keep on top of their lives in more effective ways than me.  I feel like everyone’s house is cleaner than mine, no one else seems to struggle with cleaning and tidying the way I do.  Everyone else is thinner and happier than me.  Everyone else is more at peace than me, more satisfied.

Having these kinds of feelings is very alien to me because I am actually a very confident person and don’t usually compare my happiness to other peoples.  I might have fallen prey to comparing the state of my house to others before, but not really myself.

I have been to my friend’s houses when they have been messy but I don’t see it the way I see my own mess.  I see it as a stain on my record, a sign that I haven’t evolved past teenage immaturity.  But the truth is there are five people living in my home and I am the main person who tidies and cleans so of course I am always behind.  I finish cleaning the kitchen and the toys are a mess – I finish organizing the toys and the coats, shoes and sweaters are everywhere.  Being mom is never ending chores and even if you manage to get to the end, everything will be a mess again within days/hours/minutes.
It’s a series of thankless tasks and to-do lists so long that after a while it’s just insulting.  After all cleaning the outer windows is definitely a good thing to do… but er if you have two hours and your list also includes laundry, making dinner and giving the kids a bath, chances are cleaning the windows isn’t the daily priority. I’m sorry but if I have a jam-packed day chances are giving the kids a bath isn’t high on the list either. 

And that makes me a terrible mom right?  In my head it does.  I think, aah they don’t have developed sweat glands yet so they don’t REALLY smell bad and I’ll just brush out Annie’s hair so you can’t notice the ranch/yogurt that she put in there yesterday.

I know that there are terrible people in the world and we hear about them on the news every day. They are represented on television shows like CSI and Law & Order and a thousand other shows and movies. The villains. The terrorists. The kidnappers, abusers and molesters.  But I have come to believe something which has become very important to me lately, as I have felt the delicate nature of my mind feel ever-more flimsy in the tapestry of my life; I have come to believe that people, by their nature, are good. 
There are bad people; evil people, no doubt.  But there are literally billions of people in the world. The current worldwide estimated population is 6,852,472,823.  Think about everyone you know… sure you might know a couple of real assholes, people who genuinely don’t seem to give a shit and just hurt people.  But chances are you know a hell of a lot more people who are decent, kind, loving and good. 

We are all connected by some special and fundamental truths. We want to be loved and give love, we want to be heard and seen for who we are and we want to create something that is lasting. This creation could be anything, art, music, writing, poetry, arcetecture, and of course it can also be having children.

For many people their children are their only legacy.  


Jenn Bateman said...

Great post, just read it now. Truth for me is the main reason I didn't have my kids close together is because I knew I couldn't handle it. I need my others to be older so they can help, do for themselves, entertain themselves etc. I need that 3.5 year break just to muster the energy to start again. I always feel like people ambitious enough to have kids close together are brave, true parents because they can manage the chaos or they're more loving somehow. Having 3 kids under 5 is extraordinarily brave and you deserve kudos for even facing that challenge.
Postpartum is tough. I think your feelings are totally valid.

Also, when our house gets really messy I sometimes get overwhelmed and think I'd rather just move out of the house (leaving everything there) and just start over rather than clean it.

Recovering Church Lady said...

Kids may be someone's ONLY legacy but wow, what an incredible legacy that is! Since we are all connected, your kids will have an impact on my grandkids (since I am a generation ahead of you) and they will all create a different culture than what we all grew up in. Kind of mind-boggeling and it's too late in the day for such boggling I think! LOL! Great post!