Let’s be honest, the impending life change after having a baby rakes the minds of parents once the day gets closer. They wonder whether they will still be able to be themselves. This wondering question stays in the back of their mind from the moment they find out they’re expecting until they have the baby.
Some of the questions explored along with this area include: Will I still enjoy the same sports with my friends? Will my friends abandon me when I start a family? Will my ability to maintain friendships change over the years? Will I still enjoy working? Can I complete school or achieve any other goals that bring me joy?
But that’s not all that you wonder about. Out of all the questions that bother new parents or parents-to-be, one that bothers the most is about whether you’ll be able to live your highest potential while still maintaining other responsibilities.
Even though it’s completely normal to question yourself, discussion on this is considered taboo and often sparks feelings of guilt and shame. But it’s up to you and the next generation to normalize this and have healthy discussions about what you’re feeling. This will make it easy for parents to come to terms with their feeling and raise their children in a healthier environment.
If you’re still questioning yourself, ask yourself the following questions to determine if you’ve lost yourself in parenthood.
- Do you notice that you devote significantly lesser time to have face-to-face interactions with friends? Is the increasing time lapse between interactions is due to maintaining your home, work, and scheduling needs? This is usually a sign that other changes are to come.
- Do you notice friends and family inviting you to join gatherings and other events not as frequently as before? Have they been conditioned not to invite you due to you often responding with “No, not this time” or “Sorry I need more notice”?
- Are you are highly preoccupied with thoughts of abandonment when you attempt to separate from your child for longer than 30 minutes?
- Is your employment satisfaction reducing for no apparent reasons? Is even the simple task of attending work creating physical and emotional signs of distress?
- Are all your daily thoughts surrounding the idea of staying at home?
- Do you struggle with finding things to do in your free time, however short may it be?
- Are you depressed or stressed about the demands of parenthood?
So, how did you do?
If the answer to two or more questions is yes, there may be a chance that you might be struggling with parenting and being yourself at the same time. Besides these questions, there are other indicators too. We’ve pointed out the first three signs as isolation, preoccupation, and contentment.
- Isolation is the first step in losing your way or your identity while playing the role of parent. You find yourself not having enough time to live beyond home, marriage, job, and kids. Fear of separation and depression limit the access to the outside world and you’ll end up being a hermit and isolating yourself in your bubble.
- Preoccupation along with expectation from others is the second step in becoming someone that is unrecognizable in the mirror. You get so preoccupied with being a parent that hopes and dreams get forgotten or replaced without your consent or knowledge. Slowly, things that made you who you are, fade into the night.
- Contentment is the last step in losing your identity and experiencing depression. The depression gets triggered due to a false sense of contentment. Thoughts like – what you do is not enough; that you don’t deserve to be fully happy; that one day, true happiness will be offered without any effort; and that parenthood should be a life of contentment physically and emotionally – all plague your mind.
As human beings, we were designed to connect with others and learn from their experiences, assisting each other in developing a strong identity. It is not possible to truly be who you are without these connections. Yes, your family is a great way to accomplish this task. However, being humans and social animals, we seek more. Connections and relationships with peers, co-workers, strangers, and others are all a part of our sanity.
If you would like more information on how you can rediscover yourself or get help in dealing with your struggle with depression, please contact me at 901-609-5574 or email me at email@example.com. I’ll make sure that you get the help you need to become the best version of yourself as an individual and as a parent.
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