mommy guiltYou’re never gonna know what the exact right thing is to do. You just aren’t, whether you are a mom who’s had postpartum depression or not.

How much does that suck?

Being a parent is tough business, and for those of us with postpartum depression or anxiety I’d venture to say it’s even tougher. We start off on the wrong foot from the very start. This leads to even more self-doubt, even more guilt, and even more second-guessing.

I still do this all the time.

I’m picking up all my kids’ toys off the floor. They take no responsiblity for their own things and it’s my fault because I don’t make them do it. They’ll probably end up destitute.

I refused to play with my daughter yesterday because I was trying to get some things done. I told her to go amuse herself. Maybe I’m not giving her enough attention. She could end up an angry, broken woman. And destitute.

I made a big deal out of my son being referred recently for gifted testing. I told him I was proud of him. Maybe I should have handled it differently. Now, if he doesn’t make it, even though we told him we know he’s smart no matter what happens, he’ll probably be crushed. He’ll probably end up with low self-esteem. And destitute.

I made leftovers for dinner last night. It wasn’t really that nutritious. If I don’t get my act together, this will almost certainly lead to a lifetime of poor health. And destitution.

The difference, of course, between now and THEN (the dark and stormy days of horrendous postpartum depression) is that even though I have mommy guilt and mommy worries, even though I still wonder what if any lasting effects my postpartum OCD may have had, I can laugh at myself. I can brush it off. I can refuse to accept it. I can see that my children love me and are, for the most part, happy and fulfilled.

THEN I couldn’t. THEN I knew I couldn’t hack it. THEN I knew my son would never love me. THEN I couldn’t see that my brain was offering up beliefs that were, in a word, bullshit.

The postpartum depression THEN is no longer. I got better. Now is here, and now, even in the moments of self-doubt, is better.

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