Confessions of an Overwhelmed Mom

Here one mum talks honestly about about how difficult things have really become…

I have a written a few times over the past 4 months that I have felt overwhelmed. It started with my parental leave finishing in July and my return to work full time. It continued with having my program cut, with my work load doubling and getting a new manager. And, it multiplied by a gizillion when Jonathan was struggling on day 2 of kindergarten, on day 4 when he got an aide, on day 6 when I came to the conclusion that she was terrible and day 10(ish) when he got ‘kicked out’ for half a morning and could only attend one hour and fifteen minutes a day (because that’s how much this terrible aide could cope with him for).

So here’s my confession; I couldn’t cope.
I wasn’t just feeling overwhelmed, I was overwhelmed. I was crying randomly over silly things, having anxiety attacks, feeling very inadequate and incompetent and I finally admitted that I needed help.

I didn’t even intend on asking for the help, it was a bit of an accident. But I think my mouth took over for my stubborn brain because it knew what was best.

I was at my doctor (who is wonderful) for something unrelated and she asked, as she always does, how I was doing – meaning with Jonathan and the adoption etc. And I slowly answered “It’s good….? It’s a little hard. Well, it’s pretty hard. I’m…struggling”

THERE! I did it! I said it out loud and the world did not implode! Whoohoo!

And there was a tiny (ok slightly large) feeling of relief in just saying the words out loud.

helpAnd this story could go on and on as, ahem, sometimes I tend to do, but, my point is, that since that time that I admitted I was struggling, about 3months now, I have been on anti-anxiety medication to help me cope with all the challenges, all the change and all the overwhelmingness that comes with adoption, trauma, therapeutic parenting and the general craziness that has become my new normal.

I wanted to write about this because I have been inspired by some of the other bloggers, through The Adoption Social, that have openly talked about struggling with depression and anxiety and I too wanted to openly write about my own mental health.

I want to join in with their voices in bringing mental health to light and take away the shame of asking for help and talking about it. The more it is talked about, the less stigma there is. The more we talk about it, the more we can support each other.

Parenting is hard. Adoption is hard. Asking for help is hard.

So what I want you to know is this: there is no shame in being vulnerable. There is nothing defeating or weak in admitting that you need help. If you feel overwhelmed and you are struggling, please ask for help. Tell a friend, tell a professional. And ask for help. You won’t regret that you did.

Big thank you to Lindsay who writes at Grey Street for sharing her experiences and being so honest. If you’d like to share your own stories, or perhaps write us your own confession, then please drop us a line at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Confessions of an Overwhelmed Mom

  1. Mrs Family of 5

    Oh Lindsay, I just want to hug you, hug you and congratulate you for being brave and asking for help. That, in my opinion is the hardest thing of all.

    I’m glad you got some help and things are a little easier for you to cope with now.

    I really hope things with Jonathan settle down and you all find yourselves on a smoother journey.

    Hugs my friend xx

    Reply
    1. lindsay

      It IS hard to ask for help but it’s so important and I hope the more we all start admitting how hard it is the more we can support each other and know we aren’t alone:)

      Hugging you right back!

      Reply
  2. Al Coates

    Thank you for your brave and honest post.
    Your post acknowledges a much hidden problem for parents of adopted children. Both my partner and I struggled through the early months of our placement, like you say not ‘feeling’ overwhelmed but being overwhelmed. We did not know where to turn and felt isolated, comments from family like ‘you got what you asked for’ did not help. Additionally, we were scared to discuss the issue with our social worker as we did not know what their response would be.
    I wish you well and hope that you continue to receive support.

    Reply
    1. lindsay

      Ooooh, people said that to you?!
      I felt really guilty the first while and was under that mind set of “this is what we wanted so suck it up” but I quickly realized that just because you wanted something does not negate the fact that it’s hard or the fact that we all need help. One has nothing to do with the other and as parents we guilt ourselves enough so this one I’m choosing not guilt! Same goes for when you just want 5 minutes to yourself, or even a couple days! There is no guilt in needing a break from parenting – and definitely not from parenting really challenging kids.
      Thank you for your comments and support:)

      Reply
  3. Suddenly Mummy

    Thanks so much for sharing this – so glad your mouth over-rode your brain and blurted out your need! I wonder if other people feel as I do, that it’s harder for adoptive parents to admit a need for help because, as Al says, people tend to think we got what we asked for? Not many people would choose to be a single parent, but I went into it voluntarily and with virtually no family support as they all live abroad, and now I feel as though if I am anything less than utterly joyful about dealing with sleepless nights all alone, or dealing with behaviour all alone, or dealing with illness (mine or his) all alone, or never ever going out to do anything for myself, people will say, well, what did you think it would be like? This is why it’s so good to be able to connect with other adopters 🙂

    Reply
    1. lindsay

      Thank you. As in my comment back to Al, we guilt ourselves enough, why should be guilty for need help simply by the fact that we asked to be a parent? It’s hard, that’s the bottom line. Whether you choose to do something doesn’t mean you don’t need help or that it’s sunshine and lollipops all day long.

      I really struggled with trying to reach out earlier (months into our adoption) and kept getting “oh but if anybody can do it you can!” response. What people didn’t get was that I was telling them I couldn’t do it! The thing is none of us should be doing it alone, even if you choose to be a single adopter, you still need to access support.

      Reply
  4. AdoptiveBlackMom

    Congrats on asking for help. My daughter was home for about a week and a half when I called my doc and begged for help. I hadn’t hit rock bottom, far from it, but I could see where could good as a new single mom with good support, but support that sometimes sought to over-normalize what I’m going through. People on the outside don’t see what we see, which makes the struggle and the potential for isolation and shame so much greater. Thanks for your courage in writing about this issue!

    Reply
    1. lindsay

      Thank you so much. I can totally relate; people just saw a really active cute boy and capable parents but it was utterly exhausting and draining and overwhelming. Good on you for being proactive in seeking help:)

      Reply
  5. Three Pink Diamonds

    Sorry to hear that you have been having a difficult time, but thank you so much for sharing your story.
    I too have been struggling, I didn’t know parenting could be this challenging and it has really hit me hard! I think it’s great that we have The Adoption Social to share our thoughts and to support one another. You are not on your own.

    Reply
    1. lindsay

      Thank you!
      It is a struggle! And I don’t mean to take away all the awesome parts of parenting too, there are plenty of those and I like to share them too, but those are easy to talk about…the hard stuff not so much. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through the last year without support from people through TAS. Such a great forum for sharing and not feeling alone:)

      Reply
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