I quit my job
It was my conscious decision to quit my job as a Flight Attendant when I conceived my son. I wanted to be the best mom and give complete attention, love and care to my son as we moved to United Kingdom due to my husband’s work. As soon as my son was ready for playschool we had to relocate to another country, Netherlands. It’s a beautiful country. A new country , new people, new language made me experience a sense of loss due to this transition, I missed my family , old routines and familiarity. My Son started his Playgroup and I started to look for a job relevant to my previous work profile but unfortunately it required me to work in shifts. I also made up my mind to switch my career and started looking for options but every profile required me to speak Dutch. I did some basic language course but that didn’t add any value. I started feeling purposeless as my career was not progressing and all of that started to take a toll on my health. I started comparing my life with other working expat mom’s and felt myself to be less competent and efficient. This comparison became one of the main reason of my unhappy state of mind.
My latent anger
While we settled down in the new country, I had changed immensely. It was not the same me anymore, cheerful and always motivated. I was more withdrawn and silent with occasional bouts of frustration. The most minor things disturbed me, a wrongly placed mat, or a missing spoon, a misplaced pen, brought out the worst in me. My energy was depleting. I needed help with the homely chores and helping my son with his stuff, but I couldn’t rely on my husband totally. Everything he did seemed irrational to me. Looking back I know there was this motherly instinct of things going wrong that settled firmly within me and that made me refuse help from him. Whenever we talked, it was more of an argument. It was not an explicit one but more of a cold war. While on the other side, I saw him concerned for me whenever I had bouts of frustration over doing things, he silently understood and was immensely co-operative. I was tied and tugged between an anger for him and love for him. While I silently waited for him to come back from work every evening I never expressed my happiness on seeing him. I was stuck in the web of negative feelings, I continued to Live.
Why I didn’t tell anyone about my depression, there were multiple reasons like shame, guilt, pain but mostly I think it was because I couldn’t understand it so how could I expect them to?
My Health deteriorated
My body was in immense pain. I was already under medication for hypothyroidism and irritable Bowel Syndrome. I gained weight. I had breakouts on my face, under eye dark circles, I couldn’t bear to see myself in the mirror. Due to hormonal imbalance I developed an internal swelling in my uterine lining which caused prolonged menstruation with heavy bleeding. I was filled with guilt, shame, feeling of hopelessness and started crying for hours. I could cry in the morning, afternoon, night, while driving, in the supermarket. Every morning I would drag myself out of the bed and going to the bathroom took every ounce of my strength. Yet, there I was at home waking up to my wonderful son, to make him ready for his school, making and packing lunch for him and my husband. I loved my son immensely and did what I needed to do to love him and care for him. I just wasn’t happy. As soon they were gone I would climb back into bed and cry for hours until it was time to pick my son from school. My condition was like ‘I don’t want to live but I don’t want to die.’
I am NOT less of a Mom for having one child.
I had no life of my own beyond a mother and wife. The only social life I had was the company of few other moms from the children’s birthday parties, moms at the park, and moms at the school. And it always went something like this, we start chatting about our kids and then —bam! They pop the question. When are you planning another baby? My reply used to be, no plans as of now. If I didn’t justified my answer, though there was the implied indictment against my son or against me as a mother, I must not love my kid enough to give him a sibling , can’t bear a child for my husband, I am lazy and want to enjoy my freedom or motherhood and womanhood isn’t my thing if I don’t have more than one child. After a while a gush of guilt and shame filled me up. It added more to my depression.
If I had the confidence back then, I would question them back.
Is a woman’s worth measured by the number of children she can bear? When you are not married then, they say get married, you get married, then they say have a baby. You have your first baby then, they say have another. Our wombs are open for public critique and everyone has an opinion about what we should or shouldn’t be doing with our ovaries. On the flip side, my husband has never been “baby-shamed” by his family, friends or in public for not having a second child. And even if we have plans or have conceived already, why do I have to tell you? It is our personal life.
I acknowledged my depression and sought help
One evening when I had my usual bout of sadness but refrained from crying as my son was playing nearby, I got a call from my mom. I didn’t answer, but she kept calling me several times, so I picked up and hurriedly replied that I was driving, will call her later and hung up, since she could have easily caught my sadness and I didn’t want to bother her as she was battling her own health issues. In the evening when my husband came back from work, my son ran towards him and said, Mamma is wrong. She lied to Aaji (Granny in Marathi). That night I was spell bound and my incessant crying has stopped suddenly. I realized that I am projecting my negative thoughts on to my child and I need to stop this. I did not want to be that person and wanted to go back to being me. On the positive side, my husband tried to be consistent in his tenderness towards me. He never stopped trying to help me or show his love for me, which made me feel that maybe I can help overcome these emotions. My coldness towards him gradually subsided. While I was also considering seeing a psychologist myself, I tried to find out ways to switch over my negative thinking and to be happy on my own first.
The most important step I took to combat my situation was to acknowledge that I was depressed and needed help. Half of the battle was won.
The next step for me was to seek help. I talked to my husband openly. He started working from home half day every Friday to spend time with me. We used to go out for a movie and lunch until our son was in the school. He was the only person I could feel comfortable talking to, which also cleared out a lot of toxic air that had accumulated between us. He was immensely patient with me, understanding my needs and tried to offer help.
If our mind isn’t occupied, then it becomes filled with negative thinking. A reduction in our actions allows the negative thoughts to rule our mind but even a small increase in our actions can help keep us challenge our depression.
In order to keep myself occupied I started to read books, watched YouTube videos on how to stop thinking negative. I started looking and several books came my way that led me to a shift in my consciousness. I saw that the videos I watch and the books I read as recognition of something I already knew. Few books that made a big impact on my mental health were
- The power of your subconscious mind by Joseph Murphy
- The Untethered soul : The journey beyond yourself by Michael Alan Singer
- Ask and it is given by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks (Also look for their video’s on youtube)
- All the Rhonda Byrne series (from The Secret to The Magic)
I also started yoga and followed the methods which any therapist would have recommended.
Gradually I could feel myself happier and less angry. But the physical pains were still flagging my energy. I came across reading about how Reiki helps in healing physical and mental pains. I tried few sessions and it helped me immensely in my quick recovery. Since the sessions were expensive, I planned to learn this technique. I did and started to heal my family and friends. I went off all social media to avoid distraction and totally immersed myself in the Healing Practice. I attended many workshops, completed a diploma in Angel Mediumship and got certified as an Angelic Reiki Master. In a span of one and half year I developed and brushed my healing skills with dedication. This transformation brought me in contact with the people who were suffering and by then I knew, that Angelic Reiki could help them. It did. Today I strive to be that person, others can come to for guidance.
I am so happy to say that I broke through that tough phase! I learned to love myself enough to realize I only needed myself to make the changes necessary to feel the Self-respect.
I am grateful and honored to share with you that my biggest support on this journey has been my husband.
Though I personally believe there is no need to categorize stay at home moms and working moms. All moms know what is best for their family and they always put their best efforts to nurture them with great care and love. According to a recent scientific research it shows that stay at home moms are way more stressed. They are facing depression, anxiety, sadness and other mental issues. There are various factors such as lack of personal achievement, never get enough time for yourself, monotonous way of repeated tasks every day that seems never ending and often put a toll on mental , physical and emotional health of stay at home moms. Being a stay at home mom I could understand all the above issues very well.
There are many women battling with Stay At Home Mom depression (SAHMD) or postpartum depression with having less or no support from their husband/partner/Family. I hope that if you are reading this and are struggling with your mental health, you’ll know that you are not alone. You will know that there are other women who have struggled and overcome their depression. I am not ashamed to say that I dealt with Stay At Home Mom Depression.
I do recommend you seek therapy or counseling if you are depressed. Reach out and don’t be afraid or shy to ask for help from your partner/ friend or a Psychiatrist. I was battling with depression for nearly one and half year and it took another one and half year to make that positive transformation happen. In my case, I am blessed to have a supportive husband and to take the first step to open up went easy. But if it isn’t a case with you and you think it’s going beyond, reach out for help from a friend or someone close to you. If it’s something I can help, or need just a friend for a pep talk, I am right here. Get in touch with me on email@example.com
Thank You for reading my story. – Jyoti Bhawsar