The Oxygen Mask

Like many of you out there, I don’t like to ask for help. I hate it, in fact. It’s funny, because I’m over the moon to help other people. Helping other people makes me feel good, needed and like I’m making a difference. Asking for help, on the other hand, makes me feel weak and like I can’t cope.

Well… I’ve accepted that I’ve reached that point. After a series of mini-meltdowns, today I properly accepted that I need help and I asked for it.

postpartum depression

Motherhood is no joke. I mean, it’s not like I expected it to be a Hallmark movie day-in-day-out, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be this hard. Colic doesn’t help. A baby screaming from pain that you can’t ease… that doesn’t help. Through it all, I tried really hard to not ask for help. I could come up with a million reasons not to do so. So and so is busy, they have enough on their plate, or whatever the excuse was.

My incredibly wise brother talked to me yesterday about how being a parent means you need to employ the oxygen mask. You need to look after yourself in order to be of any use to those around you, especially your child. Postpartum depression, like motherhood, is no joke. Leaving it to fester like an open wound is no good for me, for my child or for my husband. And so… I am taking an all around break. I’ve got a great support system of friends and family, have asked for help, and am on the road to righting myself.

I will be taking a short break from the blog. I think a month sounds like a good starting point. Girl Tries Life brings me so much joy, but trying to meet my self-imposed blogging schedule has brought some unnecessary extra stress into the mix. The one post I’m committed to keeping is Baby J’s three month update (due next week!), but otherwise it might be a few weeks until you hear from me. My hope is that when you do, I’ll be back in fighting shape, passionate about blogging as ever.

Whether you are (or have) suffering from postpartum depression, mental illness, anxiety or stress, do as I say and not as I have done. Ask for help. People are more than willing to give you the help that you need, but sometimes you have to say the words. And please, know that you are normal. Struggling, being stressed, feeling like you can’t cope – it’s an incredibly normal feeling, so don’t beat yourself up over it.

To those who have supported me to date, I thank you. More than you’ll ever know.

See you in a month.

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7 Responses to The Oxygen Mask

  1. Dee March 11, 2016 at 4:11 am #

    Well done Victoria, so pleased you are taking a well earned break just to be a “new family”, take care and look forward to hearing from you again when “you” feel ready. Love Deexxx PS you don’t need to answer this comment!

    • Victoria Smith March 11, 2016 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks, Dee. It’s definitely been a bit rough, but I hope that things start to turn around soon.

  2. Lisa March 12, 2016 at 7:59 am #

    Wise advice! Be kind and patient with yourself. Motherhood changes the game in so many wonderful and challenging ways but time, support, rest and love will help to smooth the road. I think I hit the wall at about 6 weeks when all reserves run out.

    Glad you’re taking time to fuel, try to slow it all down. A day when you get sleep and a shower is a good day.

    Thanks for sharing, and opening a dialogue for others that feel the same. Although it’s been a long time, I keenly remember that time with new babies.

    Best to you, Lisa

    • Victoria Smith March 12, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks, Lisa. Expectations seem to be the mother of all evil, and they seem to be self-imposed expectations! Day 2 of slowing down and being kinder to myself is going okay so far. Definitely a lot of recovery to go, but I’m confident my support system will help me get there.

  3. Lindsay Leef March 15, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Geez! I was wondering how in the heck you do it all! Taylor was born only 3 days (I think) before Jack and I have only been able to write 4 emails in that time, and each email I must write in word and add a little each day until it’s done. And here you are mothering and blogging like a Rockstar! Way to go on taking a time-out. We’ll deserved! I also love the brutal honesty and ability to bare yourself on such a subject. Hang in there, Victoria. You’re doing so great -even if you can’t see it or feel it. ♡

    • Lindsay Leef March 15, 2016 at 10:12 am #

      *Well ….autocorrect (mine especially) is a real big jerk.

    • Victoria Smith March 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

      It’s funny, we all have different definitions of ‘doing it all’. For me, blogging was keeping me happy and feeling like myself, even though it added a bit of extra pressure. I know first time moms that are doing their masters, keeping their houses perfectly clean or look like they’re almost back in shape. Compared to them (and I’m aware the comparison game is a recipe for emotional disaster!), I felt like I was barely keeping it together (bar the couple of hours a week alone with my computer!). Hope you, the man and the kid are doing well!

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