Guilt. Parenting seems to come with an inbuilt guilt emotion and whatever we do we just cannot get rid of it. If we stay at home with our kids we feel guilty about not supporting our family financially. If we work we feel guilty about not being at home with the kids more. If we do a bit of both we feel guilty that we don’t give our all in either role. The kids aren’t eating vegetables – guilty. We shouted at the kids – guilty. We can’t afford the trainers they want – guilty. They’re on a screen – guilty. We didn’t get outside today – guilty. The list goes on and on.
I don’t set new years resolutions; I don’t believe in them but I do like the feeling of a new year. We start again for another year; another round of the seasons, school terms, birthdays, holidays. I do try to make little changes as I do all through the year but this new year has felt a little bit different. 2012 was the year I became a parent but not only that it was the year I became anxious. 2013 was a fog of anxiety. 2014 and 2015 were the years I pulled it back a little. 2016 was the year I lost my baby and spent a lot of time in hospital with my other baby. 2017 was a year of pretending none of that had happened and pushing through. 2018 was the year that everything crumbled around me; I lost control.
Now, don’t get me wrong the last 6 years haven’t been miserable. I have had plenty of highs and have absolutely loved my new role as Mum but anxiety has been a huge part of those 6 years too and towards the end of 2018 I made a huge decision to start therapy, or at least to go on a waiting list after being diagnosed with not only anxiety but PTSD too.
The truth is I don’t really remember who Rachel is. I don’t remember who I was before the anxiety fog took hold and I think I’d like to find her again. I’d really like my kids to meet her!
So 2019 is the year for finding me again. I am going to throw myself into CBT and therapy (I have been a bit sceptical and wary of it until recently) and I’m going to start looking after myself again. When I’m sad I comfort eat and I’m not happy in my own skin so I’m going to try and walk more and stop reaching for the chocolate every time I feel sad. They sound like your typical new years resolutions don’t they? But they’re not for me because this is more than wanting to look good in a swimsuit, this is about feeling more like me again.
I am also going to throw myself into retraining so that when Little Lady goes to school I have something that I can pursue and make a go of while they are having fun at school. Spending my days at home alone for 6 hours a day will do nothing for my mental health and between then and now I will have something to focus on when I’m not with the kids.
I have been thinking about this a lot recently and how I want to get better and face my demons. I did struggle with the guilt of it being about me and not the kids but I actually came to the conclusion that it is as much for them as it is for me. Feeling happy again, enjoying being me again will make me a better parent to them, I know it will. My little family will, of course always come first and my so will my closest friends but I will come a close second and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. After all, they look to me on how to navigate life and I want to make sure I teach them the very best ways and I think I need a bit of help with that.
So, no resolutions for me, no new me because the old me has got me through this far just plans and plans to help me feel better. I have been too scared to plan anything for the past few years, at one point I didn’t think I wanted to see the next few years. I’m not saying by December 31st 2019 I will be fixed but I am going to try my hardest to be further along than I am now. I am going to learn the proper way to cope with anxiety, I am going to face my fears to stop the NICU flashbacks and I am going to properly grieve for my daughter.
I am going to put me towards the top of the list and I know the kids will be happier for it too so I refuse to feel guilty.