I've Been Beating Myself Up

 Mom guilt: I've been beating myself up. By Sarah Hartley, Editor in Chief of Holl & Lane Magazine. www.hollandlanemag.com

Words by Sarah Hartley, Editor in Chief

Editor's Note: This essay first appeared in the Holl & Lane newsletter, as part of our weekly Soul-Filled Tuesdays... To sign up for more soul-filled newsletters and get our FREE mini issue, click here.

There was a time, not long ago, where I felt in control of my life. Every day I got up and I knew what would happen, I could guess how I would feel, and I counted on that. I can pinpoint when that changed.

It was January 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm.  

That is the exact moment that a beautiful little boy (who I was so convinced was a girl) came screaming into my life. We named him Harrison. And since then, over these last six months, I've felt anything but in control.

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I am not a first-time mom. I know what the shakeup of a new tiny human does to your life. Or, at least I thought I knew. But these past six months have been some of the hardest I've ever trudged through. There were days I wasn't sure I could do it anymore. There were days I questioned if my marriage would survive. There were days I wondered what in the world I did, why I rocked our very calm boat.

Though I was never officially diagnosed, I have no doubt over the last six months I have suffered from postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression. I became someone I didn't recognize, someone I didn't particularly like. I had emotional breakdowns where I would just sit and cry. Worse, I had many (many) days where I felt numb to everything.  Where I would just sit and stare at my two boys (my oldest son, Henry, is 4) and not want to move, to help them, to be around them.

It was awful.

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Through it all, I was beating myself up over this change in our lives. The magazine suffered and I wondered why I couldn't get it together. Our sales dropped and I blamed myself for not being able to keep it afloat. I told myself that I wasn't good enough for this and that I should quit.

I left my corporate job to stay home with my sons and to run the magazine. But then day after day, I found it hard to function, to be a normal human being who could clean a house, or change out of her spit-up covered clothes. And I thought, "I'm not cut out for this. I'm a terrible mom/wife/partner."  

I have been beating myself up for months, you guys. Months where it felt every single thing I was doing was wrong.

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And then suddenly, things shifted. This beautiful boy who had upended our peaceful lives suddenly began sleeping for longer stretches. He stopped waking up every half hour all night long and instead slept for three hours at a time, and then four, and then if we were really lucky, five! The fog in my mind began to clear. I began to see that this wasn't my fault. That this transition in my life was just that - a transition. A new beginning. And it wasn't anyone's fault. It wasn't mine, it wasn't Harrison's.  It's just life.

And now I'm trying to give myself grace. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of the last six months and get everything back on track. I'm trying to rebuild the magazine, and regain control of our house, and find it in me to get dressed and feel human. It's a work in progress, but isn't that what all transformations are? And in the end, you always learn something new. That's what makes change so very powerful. Even the kind you didn't see coming.