Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I'm Drowning

Here's the awful truth: I am really struggling.  I feel like I've been drowning in my loneliness.
As infertiles, we are made to feel like we can't complain about the woes of parenthood.  We are supposed to love every single second of pregnancy, and then every moment of being a mommy.  People get really mad if you voice anything negative, especially in the infertile social media world.  You get accused of forgetting what it's like to be infertile, of forgetting everything that we had to go through to get to this point, and for not appreciating the precious little babies that we have.

I love my babies.  I love Ayden and Rylee with my whole being.  I'm sitting here crying as I write that because I feel like such an awful person that they are not enough, that it's not enough to just be their mommy.  Does that make me a failure?  Does that mean I don't deserve them?  Some people would say yes.

The truth is that I won't ever forget all those years of struggling to start our family.  I won't ever forget all those shots that I had to give myself.  I won't ever forget going through two miscarriages.  I won't forget that my sister gave us the most precious gift of herself in order for Ayden and Rylee to come into this world.

However, that doesn't stop me from feeling the way I do now.  I don't know who I am anymore.  All my girlfriends that I confided in and had heart to hearts with aren't around anymore.  I feel left behind.  They have continued on with their lives while mine has made a drastic turn.  Of course it's a turn in a good direction.  I just never imagined it meaning I would lose who I was.  I no longer have softball in my life.  I'm not working, so I don't get that interaction with adults.  Before we moved, we had several weekly visitors coming over to see the babies.  Now we get visitors maybe once every month and a half.  If I want to see anyone, I am typically driving at least an hour (one way) to do so.

I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to stay home with Ayden and Rylee, but I never knew how hard that would be.  Even at night, I am the one that is responsible for getting up with Ayden and Rylee if it's needed.  I don't get time off.  The only free time I ever get is when I go grocery shopping on the weekends.  Tony always tells me to "have fun," but really, how fun is grocery shopping?  There's been a few times that Tony has told me to take a day for myself to go see a movie or something.  I've appreciated those days, but it makes me feel even more lonely when I have nobody to ask to go see a movie with.  I see other moms post on Facebook about their girls night out and I am envious.  I envy their friendships.

Since Ayden and Rylee have been born, Tony has had two trips to Seattle with friends.  This last Sunday he was with friends doing a fantasy football draft, and he has another football draft this coming weekend.  His group of friends make it a really big all day thing, getting together to golf, bbq, and do their draft.  I am jealous that he has such close friends to do these things with.  It makes me feel like such a loser that I don't.

I know I can always ask my sister if she wants to do something, but she is rarely able to.  She has four kids.  I get that.  She also runs her own daycare.  I'd love to be able to talk to her more, but that's typically not an option either because she's so busy between her family and her daycare kids.

When I wrote my last post about finally making a little bit of time for myself to go for walks twice a week, within 20 minutes of me posting it, I lost two followers.  I'm not going to lie, it hurt my feelings.  I know blog followers come and go, but it was depressing that immediately following my post, two people decided I wasn't worthy enough.  In the midst of everything I've been feeling lately, it sent me into a short tailspin.  I have to say thank you for those of you that wrote such nice, supportive comments, because it really helped me let it go.  I have made so many "friends" since starting this blog.  I can't tell you how much that has meant to me.

I am usually a cup half full type of person.  I really hate dwelling in negative.  Writing all this makes me feel like a complete whiner, and I apologize.  I just really needed an outlet for all this pent up loneliness I've been feeling lately.


29 comments:

  1. This seriously breaks my heart to read. Don't ever feel guilty for these feelings. You did go through infertility for many many years and you do remember what it was like. Now you are doing a tough job and especially being a SAHM with twins! If someone is going to judge you for expressing honest feelings then shame on them, seriously.

    I do recommend that you find something that you like to do and spend some alone time. You need to get out of the house and away from the babies Amber and regain some of yourself back. You are a mom and a mother, but you are still a person and it is not selfish to need some adult time, some your time.

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    1. Thanks T. Thank you for giving me some validation in my feelings. It definitely helps that I've started walking twice/week by myself, without pushing a stroller. It literally is a breath of fresh air to be alone with my thoughts. I just wish I had a girlfriend close by to do things with every once in awhile.

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  2. I meant to put you are a mom and a wife :)

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  3. Awww if you weren't all the way across the country... But seriously. I'm so glad you wrote this. I'm glad you are putting those feelings out there because you could be reaching those who feel the same way but feel they can't say anything. Yes, I can imagine the loneliness that comes after you quit work to stay home and move to a new place. It has to be hard. Just T is right. You are a wonderful mommy but you are more than that. I hope you find something that brings you joy without the babies. <3

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  4. You are not alone!! I think most new moms (whether they are parenting after infertility or Fertile Myrtles) are lonely most of the time. Kids and home are both full time jobs and it can be tough to hold onto our "grown up" connections under the best of circumstances. Especially when the kids are as young. Have you looked to find out if there is a Mothers of Multiples Club in your area? If there is I would really recommend signing up and going. Making new friends with similar family dynamics can be a ton of fun. If you like to read see if your local library has a book club you could join. Or maybe join a group exercise class a couple of times a week? I loved our local YMCA when my son was little, he would go play with other kiddos while I got to take a class with other grown ups.

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  5. Sending you a virtual hug! I feel like it's so difficult, yet so important, to be gentle with yourself and to allow yourself to have your feelings without judging yourself or feeling guilty. Just because you want some time to take care of yourself and nurture yourself as a person (while not taking care of little loud people) does not make you ungrateful. It makes you normal!

    I wholeheartedly agree that it's worthwhile to try to find local resources that you can explore to join groups, make friends, and connect with people. I've even heard of babysitting coops where people trade off watching each other's kids. This way, you don't have to pay for babysitting, but you still get some time to take care of yourself.

    Or maybe...if Tony wins in Fantasy Football, you can use his winnings to bring in a babysitter a couple of times to give you some more time for yourself!!!

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  6. Being a SAHM can be a lonely profession. Sadly, most people can't understand that. I know how you feel. The one friend I had that actually made time for play dates moved away a couple months before Poppy was born, taking what little (albeit pathetic) social life I had with her. I just try to tell myself that when my babies are grown and moved, I won't regret the sacrifices I made to stay home with them.

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  7. I've been bad at commenting lately but had to jump in here with a virtual hug. I hated reading that you are feeling this way, especially as you are the sort of person who gives so much to others; first your softball girls and now your twins. I can only imagine how tough it is with two babies and no support system. I live far from my family and most of my close friends, and it's hard enough some days with just one! I know when I was in the trenches, I never begrudged anyone who talked honestly about their tough times as a mom, as long as they didn't make it seem like they wished they hadn't had their babies. Which of course isn't something you did. Please know that whoever unfollowed you did so because of whatever is going on with them personally, not anything you wrote. You were very respectful but honest. Anyway, I wish I had some better suggestions to help get you out of your funk and feeling like yourself. Could you maybe get in touch with your friends and try to set up a regular girls night, like a once a month supper club or something where you get dressed up and go out and have a nice dinner at a new restaurant and chat about non-mom stuff? What about some kind of sports team or fitness class or something where you could go once a week, and possibly meet some new mom friends who are in the same boat? Whatever you do, know that your blight friends love you and want you to feel better.

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    1. Blight = bloggy. Stupid autocorrect.

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  8. Amber, I could have written this!! I relate to absolutely everything besides the stay at home mom part. And I can only imagine that if I was a stay at home mom, the feelings would be even stronger.

    I didn't even move and things have changed so much since I had Molly. My old friends and I aren't close anymore, and I have no time for playdates or anything, so I never meet new moms with kids Molly's age (and even if I did, I'd probably be shy and awkward around them anyway). My sister is really my only friend but she has three kids and is always too busy to hang out. Plus, Eric just got involved in a bunch of things with his friends (including Fantasy Football - ha!) so I'm stuck at home by myself with Molly a lot of nights and weekends. It's so lonely!!

    I love being her mommy, but I need friends too! A little adult interaction besides just my husband. And yeah I talk to people at work but that's not the same. I really wish I had people to hang out with, connect with in downtime. I mean, seriously, everything you said resonated with me! I sometimes want to post about it, but it's a little embarrassing - at least, I feel that way. Whenever I mention it to people they're like, "Oh, you have plenty of friends!" but then why was I sitting around bored out of my mind last Saturday with absolutely no one to call? It just stinks!!!

    Sorry I'm not offering advice, just wanted to comment and say you are not alone. I think in your case, you know what you love to do and where to find friends - is there any way you could get involved with softball again, in any capacity? The other thing I would suggest is look into MOMS Club, if you haven't already. They have chapters nationwide and offer support and activities for SAHMs. My sister-in-law who works part time has like a million friends and is always going to events and stuff and she said that's where she made a lot of her friends. The kicker is that I can't join because I work full time - it's in the rules! Talk about discrimination. But most of the playdates and meetups are during the week so I'd miss them anyway. Guess I'm just screwed.

    I don't comment on your blog often but I'm always reading (usually on the go, on my phone, which is why I can't comment). I totally know what you mean about losing followers - when I go back through my old posts I can't believe how many people used to interact and support me. Now I'm lucky if I get a handful of comments and sometimes it does make me sad. But I think part of it is that so many of our "mommy" posts are happy, which makes it harder to comment.

    Sorry for how long this is, your post just really spoke to me. Big hugs!!

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  9. Have you been reading my blog? I am RIGHT there with you. I feel like I've lost a lot of myself in the last couple of years. Parenting two toddlers is so freaking hard. And having a husband who travels for days at a time makes it that much harder. I'm an introvert by nature so I recharge by being completely alone. It's very hard to do when parenting 24/7. And it's not great on my marriage either when my husband is home. I struggle with this balance every single day. I am hopeful that over time my kids will need less of me and I can get back parts of myself.
    I can tell you that I found workout classes are going a long way in helping me keep my sanity. I found them through community education and they are $3/class and include babysitting. It's an hour that I get to myself every day and it feels great. Maybe there is something like that in your area? Maybe you could teach a class like that since you are a personal trainer? It is so hard to find time for myself so this has been a blessing. The kids need time away from me and they love going,

    I also started a resale business that is completely my own. How much I earn from it is directly related to how much I put into it. Which means when I'm busier it goes on the back burner for a bit and there is no pressure from it. I love having my own thing and I'm netting about $750-$1000 a month with makes me feel like I'm contributing more and can spend a little money on myself every now and then without feeling guilty.

    Just know that you aren't the only person who is going through this.

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  10. Please know I ask this with the best of intentions--have you considered that you may have PPD? I know you're past the initial post-partum period, but it could still be playing a role. You may want to speak with your ob or primary doc. I went thru it with two singletons, that's why I ask.

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  11. I'm a complete stranger who stumbled across your blog. Being a new parent is difficult no matter what it took to get your children here! And you're the parent of twins!!! I feel bad for even feeling overwhelmed with just my one (she's 7 months). It is obvious you love your children; it's okay that you're feeling lonely for some adult connection. That is the one thing I was never told that would happen when I had a child: feeling so isolated and disconnected. I was isolated during pregnancy then my baby was born in the winter. My partner and I live in a town where we have few friends, no family. It's hard! I do work so at least I am able to leave my home but my life is a hamster wheel of waking, feeding, driving, working, lather, rinse, repeat. All I can offer is the cliche of, "you are not alone". Thank you for telling your story. And I love the virtual hug concept. Virtual hug!

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  12. Oh, Amber, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! You are and have always been so special and right now you are still adjusting to this new chapter in life and you will find yourself again!!! You may find yourself more isolated right now but when those kids get in school (and it's going to happen before you know it) you will find yourself getting out there and meeting people that live close to you that you can share life with!!!! Maybe you need to hit up the family and see if they are doing a scrapbook week-end soon and get your self included! It will give you something to look forward too! Maybe Tony will watch the kids when I come up and we can go to the movie together!! Or just a quiet dinner out if you want. I'm a phone call away, online world away if you ever need to chat!! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! Be kind to yourself!! You are doing a great job!!! And you are not the only person to ever have feelings like this at any age, the stories I could share!!! Love and oodles of hugs, Auntie

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  13. Nobody was ever meant to be an isolated home-alone-all-day-with-toddlers Mother. Our culture is crazy that we have set up life this way. In most cultures, you would be trading off your kids with siblings, cousins, aunts, grandparents, etc.

    I think you should show this post to your DH and make a serious plan for how you can get your needs met. Meeting your own needs makes you a BETTER parent, not a worse or failed parent. You need to be a positive, healthy role model. Here are some more ideas -- I don't know which might be feasible --

    1. Join a Church that has a good young family program and start going regularly to build community. (and if you're not religious, try a Unitarian church).
    2. Hire a young kid at $3 - $5/hr who can be a mother's helper and give you some "down time" even when you're at home.
    3. Have Tony commit to taking the twins one of the weekend mornings, so you can sleep in and have time to yourself. There are always a ton of Dads at the playground on Saturday or Sunday morning.
    4. Join a softball team.
    5. Join a gym and go regularly at the same time, so you start to meet people there.
    6. Find some part-time work (can you be a private softball coach?)

    I found the young toddler age (15 months - 3 years) the most difficult as a parent (and my kids are now 11 and 15 years old). Toddlers are really demanding and you need to get a break -- especially from two. Taking breaks makes you a better parent.

    Your wellbeing (physical and mental) is the linchpin of your whole family. You and Tony need to make it a priority. You can't give and give and give until the well is dry.

    Good luck!!!

    Davidah


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  14. I'm also a fan of joining a moms' group. I have met some of my dearest friends through my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. Though we have all "graduated", many of our kids go to the same school.

    I've been slacking on commenting, too. Sorry about that!

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  15. I haven't commented lately, and I'm sorry. What you feel right now is hard too, and you have every right to feel that way.

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  16. Dear Amber, please don't think you are whining, being unreasonable or not entitled to complain. Dealing with toddlers one at a time is exhausting, let alone two! I love some of the suggestions here about tackling the loneliness and I hope some of them suit you. Perhaps the sleep deprivation might also be addressed - could you possibly go and stay somewhere for a night so you get some rest? I've been reading your blog for ages and keep reading because you are a wonderful writer and an incredible mother. These are the toughest times.

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  17. So much to say about this post!!

    Just because you want some adult interaction and friends doesn't mean that you are a bad mother or don't love your kids. It means that you are a NORMAL human being. Our kids, whether it took years to have them or not, shouldn't be the complete center of our lives (which admittedly is hard if you are SAHM). In fact you will be a BETTER mother if you are able to take some time to yourself- either with friends or just by yourself.

    Do you love your husband 24/7? I would guess that you get annoyed with him at times. It's the same thing with your kids and especially because they don't follow adult rules and it's so exhausting to parent toddlers. Again, this is totally NORMAL.

    Suggestions on how to find friends/play dates so that you can get some adult interaction:
    -when you are at the park with the kids are there other kids playing? Talk to the adult that is with them.
    -try online groups such as meetup.org or maybe even craigslist.org to see if there are mom groups.
    -enroll the kids in a music class or a gym class where you can meet other parents/kids
    -find a gym where they can watch your kids while you work out or take a class
    -are you friendly with any of your neighbors? make an effort to talk to them- especially if they are SAHM.
    -figure out if hiring a babysitter for a few hours/week would work with your budget. Maybe if you had 2-3 hours one day a week to yourself you could relax a bit.
    -find a local running group that meets at night so that Tony could watch the kids and you could run and meet people.

    I was lonely when we first moved to our new town. Three years in I am finally feeling as if I have friends that I can turn to and the monthly Bunco get-together with other moms in the neighbor has done wonders for my sanity.

    YOU ARE AN AWESOME MOTHER!!

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  18. Although I am not at this point yet I have a feeling I might get to the same place. However, I will be returning to work so I know interacting with other adults will help. You are in no way whining, this is legitimate. You need some time for you, and I agree with one of the comments above in maybe joining a church that has a family type program would be good. I say that because there are always things going on where you could possibly meet other moms that feel the same way. Who knows that could lead so some long lasting friendships :) Big hugs to you!!

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  19. Oh my - you should never feel guilty about writing these feelings down. This is your blog and your infertility story. I get that people still trying to conceive will not understand this but it is a reality of having children - it is not all Rainbows and Lollypops. It is tough work and such a beautiful payout when you see your children thrive.

    I am sorry you lost followers but it is there loss if they cannot see reality. I love your writing and I love how you tell it like it is. Please keep doing so.

    I am going to tell you a little about my backstory so you can get some perspective on how I came to follow you and other infertile bloggers. I have a 20 year old son who was conceived after 3 rounds of fertility injections - thankfully I did not have to have IVF and we were able to conceive naturally without IUI etc. We only ever had the one child, he is a beautiful person today but was quite the handful as a child and well our relationship would have been strained to the breaking point if I had to go through the infertilty process again and if we had had a second child just like the first!

    During my maternity leave with our son there were many times where I was ready to go back to work and deal with just adults. Were those feelings wrong? I was a career woman in my 30's when I had our son - most of my adult life was working. It was what I knew. Should I have felt ungrateful for being a mom? I don't think so it is natural to miss what you had all the while adoring your children.

    Part of why I started seeking out blogs like yours was that I had a different perspective - having lived through infertility and come out the other side and well for the most part I have raised my son to adulthood. I hopefully can offer advice to those still seeking help or those like you feeling the guilt of having that beautiful gift you have longed for but feeling ungrateful when the reality of parenting hits. I have been through all of those feelings over the years.

    Let me tell you - connecting with other SAHM will get easier when your kids reach school age because you will see those moms dropping off their children at school and maybe playing with their children in the school yard after school. I met a lot of moms that way. I also met other moms when my child was in activities. What should you do right now though - well there must be playgroups in your area for other SAHM's or co-operative preschools that you could maybe bring the children to. Look for events in your area that bring people with children together. Is there any way for you to get out once a week and volunteer with a baseball team. Are there community centres with pre-school programs available during the day. You can't be the only one out there in this position.

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  20. I love reading your blog, even though we lead entirely different lives on the surface, a lot of what you write resonates with me. The older I get the more I realize that inside people often have the same dreams, fears, hopes and anxieties. Your motivation (or lack of it) post especially talked to me. So, we don't know each other but we have a mutual friend, Teresa in Bend, and I would love to hang out with you sometime! I live near Newport on the coast and my husband is our high school (Toledo) softball and travel ball coach. I get to the valley now and then, let me know!

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  21. Although your feelings are totally normal, the fact that you feel guilty about them proves that you are a great mom. I'm finding out too how hard being a mom is. I love my daughter and I will never forget the struggles to have her but there are days where I'm drowning in fatigue, loneliness and yes even anger. I'm also finding out how much of an effort it takes to find some balance so that my whole life doesn't revolve around just being a mom. There were some great suggestions in the comments and I really encourage you to find a way to find some time for yourself. Trust me, it will only make you a better mom. Hang in there and know that you are doing an awesome job. Your kids look happy, healthy and thriving!

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  22. While I only know you through your writing, but I'm sending huge hugs! I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. Moms have it rough - and I'm so glad to read earlier comments that are so supportive. I hope things get better. Don't stop sharing how you feel - you have readers (even if we're lurkers)!

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  23. I totally understand where you're coming from. Being a SAHM to twins is the toughest and one of the loneliest jobs I've ever had. Joining the local moms of multiples club has been a great way to meet friends (who "get it") and it's a chance to get out once a month for me too.

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  24. I feel the same way except I'm the worker and the husband is in charge of our 6yo's. He has such a social life with school drop offs etc, where my free time is sitting on public transport on the way to/from work each day. I choose this as I miss out so much by being the worker, but it doesn't mean it's not isolated and lonely. So agree with the other comments re getting out and joining activities (with or without kiddos). You can do it!!!!

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  25. Oh Amber, I'm so sorry that you feel judged for sharing your needs. I can relate so much to your experience. Especially the "I don't know who I am anymore" part. I used to pour myself into work - partly because I love it, partly because it was a great distraction from being miserable about infertility. Now I'm home with this baby I love to pieces, but who is also very demanding and sleeps rather little, and I feel like I really need a break. Lately when she naps I've been reading blogs or facebook instead of doing housework or other things I "should" be doing... When H comes home he wants to play with SB, but essentially expects me to make dinner, and often there's other housework leftover that didn't get done during the day. It is exhausting to take care of a baby, and it must be even more work with twins (who as you know have a special place in my heart). And yet - she's starting kindergarten on Monday and I think she is more ready than I am. There are so many strange and conflicting feelings I don't even know where to start. Hang in there. I hope you can find ways to make some time for yourself and for some adult interactions. I think the transition from working non-parent to full-time parent is huge and intense, and the demands of the "new job" are ever-changing - it's probably almost impossible to grasp this beforehand. Hugs.

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  26. You didn't stop being a person with social needs just because you became a mother. You have to have time being you; you can't ALWAYS be someone's wife, someone's mom....sometimes you have to concentrate on just being you....doing something you enjoy.

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  27. Amber, I haven't commented or written much lately, and I feel awful about that. I'd love to say it's because I'm doing amazing at being a wife and SAHM and going on awesome day trips with my mom friends and spending evenings on girls nights out. But it's not. It's because I am so freaking lonely. I spend half of Jack's feedings job searching on my phone. Every night during one of Jack's 6-8 wake ups (this is a new, fun development), I wonder how much more of this I can take. I'm so tired. I'm so alone. And most of the time I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I am coaching volleyball, which has come with it's own mountain of stress, but I am grateful for it. It's literally my only "me time" and as you know, coaching is not exactly "me" oriented. I wish all of us blogger friends lived closer together - we would have such fun hangouts! I have no advice, just know that I'm thinking about you, and I'm right here with you - just across the country.

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