Learning to ask for help when you are a mother...
I woke up the other day after a pretty rubbish nights sleep, and felt rough. It was more than just being 7 months pregnant with a toddler rough. I was even having Braxton Hix contractions. Greg was busy getting ready for a 12 hour shift after 4 days holiday. Elijah was running around like a loon, asking for a wee every 15 minutes. I just wanted to sleep and rest, I knew by the mood Elijah was in and the fact I was flying solo until 9 pm this was never going to happen. I was feeling sick, tired, and weak. I needed to be serious, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help.
I am not sure where it came from but it seems that once you have become a mother, you cannot possibly ask for help even when you need it. You have to be a martyr and bulldoze on, no matter what the consequence. That it is a sign of failure to ask for help. You're a rubbish mum asking for help. When I had Elijah, at around the 4 month mark I got very ill with PTSD. I was clearly not coping and was in dire need of help. But, when I was then offered the help I point blank refused it. I didn't want to admit the fact I had failed as a mother. When I hadn't, not at all, so why can we just not ask for help when we need it? Why do we feel so bad about doing so?
I had friends queuing up to take Elijah out, to have him for the night or just to come and spend time with us. But, something in me couldn't let them, I had to do it on my own. If not I was a failure. When actually, looking back all I needed was to let go and accept the help. I was my own worst enemy, I made everything 10x worse for myself. I learnt a very important lesson not asking for help, and it is a decision today I still regret. Maybe, if I had let someone take Elijah now and again and take a break I would have got better, quicker. I wouldn't have tainted the first year of Elijah's life like I did.
Now, it isn't just Elijah I have to think of, I also need to think of what is best for my unborn child and essentially at the minute that is what is best for me. I had to put myself first and get some rest. So, although the feelings of shame, and guilt flooded me Elijah went off to my Nan's for the night. He would be able to run around and get the attention he needs, and she loves looking after him and spoils him rotten. I could then just retire to the sofa in hope rest will help. And do you know what it did. Yes, I felt rubbish for fobbing him off, yes, I felt guilty for not spending time with him, but ultimately it was the right choice.
When we are sick we are supposed to get on with it and chug on, when we feel overwhelmed to just deal with it and carry on. We shouldn't, as after all isn't in the child's best interest, and welfare if Mum is happy and healthy? I would never have asked for help a year ago, and now I know the importance of self care and asking for it if I need it.
Being a mum is all about juggling the balance of kids, work, home, and everything in between. Now and again, every mum needs rest, a break and just some time on her own. Do not be ashamed, or feel guilty accept the help when it is offered or ask when you need it there is no shame in that, it makes you human.
It makes you a mother.