“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
This quote by Teddy Roosevelt was something that I’ve always heard growing up, so I knew it as a theory, but I never truly experienced it until recently.
A few weeks ago, I was with a friend who was describing how pleasant her experience has been with her newborn. Her baby was a great eater and sleeper, and she was having an easy time as a new mother.
At first, I was happy for her, but I realized that the more she talked, the more annoyed I became. This feeling of annoyance, however, was not the same feeling I used to have before having kids.
I realized I was jealous.
– I was jealous that she was able to enjoy the newborn stage.
– I was jealous that her baby was already sleeping through the night.
– I was jealous that motherhood didn’t seem to phase her at all.
– I was jealous that I didn’t have the same experiences.
Then all the “I should haves” began.
– I should have stopped feeding them in the middle of the night in those early months.
– I should have tried breastfeeding one of them if I couldn’t do both of them.
– I should have had more patience.
– I should have sought professional help sooner.
This experience hit me with a new low. It was the first time in 15 years that I truly felt depressed to the point that I didn’t want to get out of bed and face life.
So for several days, I just wallowed in my feelings, not talking to anyone, and when I finally opened up to a close friend, she pulled me out of the deep hole I was digging and brought me out of my pity party by helping me see things from a different point of view.
She explained that everyone is fighting a different battle. (Again, I’ve heard and read this many times over the years, but only knew it as a theory.)
Some people battle health issues, while others battle family drama.
Some people battle financial issues, while others battle addiction.
Still others battle marital issues, while I battle motherhood.
Everyone is going through something behind the scenes, no matter what they tell you and no matter what their social media portrays. I needed this reminder that day to crawl out of my dark hole.
In just about every single therapy session, my therapist tells me I’m too hard on myself. I’ve been this way my whole life and I don’t even really recognize it. (I’m sure being a perfectionist also does not work in my favor.)
So I’m learning, albeit very slowly, to be easier on myself. I’m learning to be okay with not being the perfect mom/wife/sister/daughter/etc. I’m learning to not compare myself to others and put myself down for being different or for having a different experience.
Most of all, I’m learning to be okay with any and all decisions I make for my twins, no matter how unsure I feel about it and how often I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Motherhood may be my battle, but I’m not going to let it defeat me.
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