I am a mother of a 19 month old girl. I broke it off with her father about a year ago, and have been dating a new guy for almost 4 months.

I realized a while ago I am in love with him, but I can’t bring myself to tell him for fear of rejection. I actually think he is probably going to break up with me.

I get 2 or 3 days off per week when my ex takes my daughter, and usually take that time to see him. Practically every parent I know (including my mother) judges me harshly for having that much time away from my daughter. I feel like I can’t be a good parent when I do have her as I am swimming in debt and always living paycheck to paycheck.

I don’t do anything anymore; I mostly just lay in bed and let my daughter do whatever. When I don’t have her I clean the house and get drunk. I have been trying to drink less, actually succeeding for the most part, but I still find I want more time off.

I am shutting everybody out, and having a hard time expressing any sort of love to anyone around me. Sometimes I think I don’t have it in me to love.

I wish I didn’t bring a child into a world where I knew I wouldn’t stay with the father, and knew I don’t have the skills and experience to provide more than basic necessities.

I have been crying for two days straight and my boyfriend is ignoring me. I don’t want to go to counselling since I know exactly what they will say. I have been in counselling for years in the past and already have the skills to help myself, but I just can’t. I want to run away from everything and start fresh in another city, far away.

I feel like I am only hurting my daughter by continuing to be the person I am. I am not fit to be a mother. I know I am selfish, but I feel like I am bringing myself furthur into depression if I continue trying to sacrifice my own happiness for my daughters.

I have attempted suicide in the past, and can feel myself headed in that direction. I don’t know what to do. I am posting this here because I know if I told anyone I know how I feel, they would judge me even more or send me to the psych ward to be fed anti-depressants and chemicals that I know don’t work for me.

I just need someone to give me feedback. Any feedback. I know a lot will be negative, but at least it will be from people who don’t know me personally.

I just need something.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

17 Comments

  1. Depression is real and you should consult with a family physician for a consult. Finding the strength to help yourself to help your baby will take time and a willingness to forgive yourself and move forward every day. Each day is a new day to create a new start. If there is a mother figure willing to help mentor you, this will help. Xo

  2. Talk, talk and more talking! Find someone that you are comfortable with. Someone that will actually sit and listen to you. The more you get it out the more it will help you. Keeping your feelings inside is only harming you more hon. As someone who has suffered from depression in the past it can honestly say that talking to people did more for me than meds ever did. Even if is someone online. There are tons of support groups that will be fantastic as well. I know I don’t know you but I am more than willing to listen as well. Big hugs hon…you can make this better for you and your baby.

  3. Don’t give up. Find people you can talk to even if they are on the internet. Think back to what makes you happy and find it again. Get out of the house. Any way you can. Just walk down the street and back. It will help. We ALL have times where we don’t think we are good mothers or when we want to give up. Don’t do it. You are the only mother your daughter has. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU MATTER. Treat yourself better and you will feel better. Alcohol is a depressant so its making you feel worse. Try to stop drinking. Get help if you need it. You can do this! I beleive in you!

  4. You need to work on yourself and your happiness for the sake of your daughter. There is nothing selfish about thinking that. There is nothing selfish in wanting to make your happiness a priority. Many mothers (mine included and myself included) have gone through stages where we feel guilty for wanting things outside of motherhood. Being a mother is wonderful and can be very rewarding, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to find fulfillment elsewhere in your life as well. I know talking to someone feels hopeless, but give it another shot. Be as open and honest with them and yourself as possible and really take in the feedback you receive. Try to get connected in things around you with and without your daughter. Find something you enjoy that is just for you and look into something that you can do with your daughter when you have her, that will get you out of the house and enjoying time together. There are often a lot of good resources that can help with free activities that you can do together and various venues you can go to just on your own. When I felt myself losing my lifelong battle with depression a few years ago, I spoke to someone. They encouraged me to look into community events & planting roots around me. Building a support structure. I started going to the local cafe for open mic nights and free concerts. I would get a cup of coffee and just listen to live music for a few hours. I continued to do it after my daughter was born. I have battled depression since I was a young girl. I worried about how that would impact my life as a mother. I have found that as long as I make time for ME and also time to do separate things with her, it helps a great deal. Keep your head up and know that not one single mother is perfect. Not one single mother thinks she is doing a great job all of the time. Work on being the best person you can be and developing your own happiness and the rest will fall into place. Remind yourself that you are stronger than any vice you might have. You can do this.

  5. More than once I have thought of just walking away, disappearing, for the good of my daughter, because she deserves better than me. I have been on anti-depressants off and on since I was a teenager and the difference they make is HUGE, once I found the right one. I can tell now when I am going through a down period, I know my symptoms.

    The Bloggess put it best: Depression lies.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a rough time. Being a single parent is really tough work. It sounds like you are dealing with some serious depression issues – so of course you’re having a hard time dealing with your daughter.

    My suggestion would be this:

    1) I also think you need to talk to a Dr and figure out a way to best deal with your depression. I know you’re anti drugs, but maybe there is something else you could try? Another form of therapy?

    2) Quit drinking altogether and replace those activities with ones that will help you “heal”. Alcohol is a depressant and is only adding to your issues. Maybe on the days you don’t see your daughter, call those “ME DAYS” where you focus on yourself and getting well. What does that mean to you? Does it mean writing? Listening to good music? Cooking healthy meals? Reading more books? Doing yoga? Hanging out with a girlfriend? Whatever it is you need to do to get yourself into a better place.

    3) I know you say you’re in love – but maybe focusing energy into a relationship right now isn’t the best use of your time / energy. It doesn’t sound like this guy is very supportive either so perhaps you’re better off on your own right now?

    I hope this helps – and please don’t feel like a failure and know that you will find the strength to get out of this dark place. Please get the help you need and I hope you start feeling better soon!

    xx

  7. Ups and downs is what life is like for everyone, you are at the bottom but at least you’re reaching out. You should seek help from a therapist when you’re ready, you just need to find the right one. They are not there to judge you but as you said it helps to get feeedback someone who doesn’t know you, and none of it should be negative. Hang in there and before you know it you will be back on the upswing.

  8. Please, please, please go and talk to a professional. What you are feeling is not uncommon and sounds an awful lot like postpartum depression. You are not alone, I know you feel like you are, but I promise you are not. Seeking medical/psychiatric attention can change your life. Don’t wait.

  9. Many moms have been where you are. I’m so glad you had the strength to talk about how you feel here, and share it in a safe place. Please get to a doctor and let them know how you feel. You are sick, not weak, and deserve help. For the sake of your daughter, get to a doctor asap. These feelings are not uncommon, but they are not OK. Your health is what matters now. Pick up the phone. And stay strong. You will be ok, everything will be OK.

  10. I have been you. There are days I am you. My daughter is now 5. She doesn’t have a father so it’s all me, 24/7. A million times I’ve thought she deserved better and I should just off myself and let her go to a “good” family.

    I could tell you to talk to your doc, call a helpline, reach out but frankly, you know all that shit and it won’t help you. (Won’t help to hear it again that is).

    Stop looking at the big picture. Take each minute as it’s own lifetime. You made dinner – accomplishment. You got out of bed – accomplishment. You couldn’t make lunch, so you went for Happy Meals – accomplishment. You normally have 6 beers and only had 5 – accomplishment. You survived the last 1, 2, 5, 10 minutes – HUGE FUCKING ACCOMPLISHMENT!

    I live so far under the poverty line that there are days I don’t eat so my daughter can.

    I have severe anxiety, depression and bi polar disorder. Somedays the only thing I accomplish is breathing.

    My daughter wants for nothing because she has me. Sometimes it’s movies-in-bed me. Sometimes it’s crying me. Sometimes it’s awesome-day me. But it’s all me.

    Money and mental illness do not have to be the end of parenting. It’s important to focus on your well being in order to parent. Personally I self soothe by colouring. Gives me time to not think at all. It’s a reset for me.

    Everything aside, there is nothing wrong with you. Having problems and doubts does not make you any less valuable as a person. You breathe, you bleed, you feel… YOU ARE IMPORTANT.

    Baby steps Lady. You can make it.

  11. The number one thing that will make you a fit mother is to give your child over to your parents and her father. Doesn’t have to be forever, but it has to be now.

    This is the most important first step in becoming the person you want to be, and taking steps to be responsible, mature. Your child needs to be protected at this point, and you need help to get you to a better place in your life.

    Its the very first step, but it is the most important.

    • I could not disagree more. Ask for extra help, maybe an extra day at dads but if you want to work on yourself as a mother AND a person, giving up your child is not the first step towards anything but giving up.

      If, and only if, you are 100% sure that you are unable to be a parent should you give up your custodial rights. A weekend with her grandparents or extra time with dad, sure. Unless that little girl is being harmed, please don’t give your child to anyone else.

      Again, mental illness does not dictate if you are a capable parent. Make small changes. Move forward. Do better day by day. Don’t make important decisions when you’re in this state of mind.

  12. I will wager those that judge you crave the same time away from their kids, but think it’s not what a “mother” should want. Aside from being a mother, you are a woman, a person, an individual with needs. Those don’t stop when you have a child. And you make the best of the situation you’re in. If you have spare time (lots of moms say they would kill for that), then use it however you want (safely, of course). The drinking and depression you need help to deal with. Get it. The fact that you are sharing this is actually a huge first step. Having recently had anti depressants suggested by a doctor, I was surprised by how much good and supportive information is out there about natural ways to deal with depression. And if your boyfriend is ignoring you, return the favor, and let your friends back in. You would be surprised how supportive and non judgmental true friends will be. Those who aren’t are just dead weight. If one of your friends said to you what you have written here, how would you react? With disgust, or with compassion? I’m sure you would say with compassion. I’m also sure that your friends with kids can relate (even in some small way) to feeling like a failure, and would want to help you through this. If you’ve never told them about the issues you’re having, perhaps they don’t realize that their words are contributing to your problem. If all else fails, a counselor is a good option. You mentioned money issues, so perhaps your doctor can recommend someone at a free service. There are also chat forums online with great tight knit communities.

    Any woman that has kids and says she has never felt like a failure as a mother is lying. We’ve all been there. There is no manual. If your child is safe and happy, and you are doing your best, you are not a failure. Relationships sometimes fail, and sometimes there are children involved. It’s not about having the perfect life, it’s about having a happy life.

    I can’t even begin to express how much I can relate to your situation (except for the drinking,), I could have written this over a decade ago – and I’m sure a lot of other women can also say that. – and my teenager is well adjusted and happy.

    I wish you the best, and hope that you are able to gather the support you need. As you can tell from all the comments here (not one of them negative, hope you noticed), most people are compassionate.

    P.S. My shrink says to only give yourself shit about things you can control right now, and if you failed, just try to do better next time. That advice has helped me a lot.

  13. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking time for yourself…it is good that your child has time with her father and you can take time for yourself. I think every parent has times of doubt..me included.

    What about connecting with some groups… either online or in person. There is nothing better than connecting with people who have similar experiences and I can’t image there is a Mother out there that has not felt some of what you are feeling.

    And as far as professional help, I think it is really important to ask for help when you need it. Sometimes it just helps to have someone there to listen to you! It is so important to share your feelings and thoughts and know there is someone who is listening. I think it is great that you decided to share here! I have found so much support online…with people who are there to help, listen and offer support, advice and a sympathetic ear!

    You are NOT ALONE! There is a community here … community that will not judge you because we have all struggled. I am not perfect. I don’t think any Mother is perfect. No negativity here!

    Keep talking and sharing. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You need time for yourself and there is nothing selfish about that. We MOMs are too hard on ourselves…give yourself a break.

  14. No judgement here. I have been in shoes similar to yours. Depression is catastrophic and no one understands unless they have been through it. Depression WILL destroy your life if you don’t fight it. Trying to find the right medication to make you feel better is a difficult process, but critical. What else could be more worth fighting for than yours and your daughter’s lives? Stay on the mission of finding the right medication. I was not properly diagnosed as bipolar for 10 years. I took every antidepressant in existence and then tried lithium for bipolar disorder. I had no side effects like on the other meds and felt better immediately. After two years on lithium, I no longer felt depressed. That’s after 10 years of believing there was no solution and being in a haze from psych meds. Fight for your life!!! You CAN feel better and it’s well worth the fight. This is not going to be easy, but you have no choice. Fight, fight, fight…forget counseling if you don’t like it and go to a support group. It’s amazing how normal you feel in a group full of people with problems like yours or even worse. It motivates you to find your strength. I’m NOT a big self-help person either, but I was encouraged to go to the support group. When you see the guy across the room from you with schizo affective disorder who has bipolar disorder accompanied with hallucinations, you suddenly begin to feel a little more motivated to conquer your own demons, and less like you will be judged for not being a perfect human being.

  15. Single parent support group could help , we all need someone.big time !

  16. You can do a open adoption . You can see her grow up without the frustration and pain . It’s ok to feel like this . It’s ok to get help .

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