stay at home mom feeling depressed

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  • #2211

    hi everyone…i am new here.
    i am just returning to the catholic faith after being away for quite some time, to make a long story short.
    my husband and i were married in the catholic church last year, and we recently had our first child last april. he was unplanned, and actually i became pregnant before we were married…and am trying to turn my life back around.
    my husband is wonderful and i am so happy to be married to such a sweet man, but i have some questions.
    before my son Gabriel was born, i was very worried that my life was “over” now that i was having a child. i had wanted to finish my education, have a career, experience life and make something of myself. i was sure that i would return to work or school soon after he was born, and was assured by all my friends and mother in law that ” dont worry, once you find childcare you trust you will be able to get a career and have a life. “
    the problem is, now tht he is here, i still havent been able to bring myself to leave him in daycare. it is a whole different story. he is 7 months old now, and i just cant imagine leaving him every day all day long….my husband is very supportive in my staying home, and we somehow scrape by financially. he has a good state job with benefits.
    i guess my problem is, none of my friends understand me anymore. even my other Mom friends, they all have careers…one is a banker, one is a teacher, and i just find myself getting more and more depressed every time someone asks me “what do you DO all day?” also theres the standard “thats nice that you can stay home but i could never do it–i have to have a life of my own.” it makes me feel worthless!
    also, i have the nagging worry….what is something happens to my husband and i have to support my family someday? i have no degree and what would i do…wait tables again?(i am only 25 now) i wanted more for my life. i always told myself i would be independent and strong, and be my own person. i had so many different dreams…in fact i was going to join the air force right before the unplanned pregnancy happened!
    i just feel so lost. i love my little boy, but i feel like everyone i respect is looking at me like i am lazy, or un-ambitious, …..i just moved to a new city and have no one close enough to even babysit for me. so it doesnt help that my husband and i have no dates, no kid free time (except when h goes to bed) and i have NO friends here.
    i havent even been to mass in 3 months because i am just not myself. i am so down. i dont exersize anymore, even though i have plenty of time….fitness used to be a HUGE part of my life. (i am a 2nd degree brown belt)… i dont even feel like the old me.
    my doc diagnosed me with PPD and put me on a different BC pill, and prescribed Zoloft (i havent taken the zoloft yet though.)

    anyone have any pearls of wisdom? i feel like i just need someone who understands the feeling of wanting to be a wife and mom, and then everyone looking at you like you have 3 heads.

    #3796

    mommyrose
    Member

    Dear Rachel Susanne,
    First I have to say that I am SO VERY thankful that you have been given the strength to stay at home with your baby despite the seeming societal disapproval you encounter all around you.
    I think you should most definitely start going to Mass ever Sunday with your husband and baby. You WILL find support from the Church and you will find that you can better focus on becoming the Catholic you want your children to be. Go to all of the after Mass functions to get to know the community. Participate!
    Find out if the Church has a mom’s group or playgroup, if not you can find one in your area. Playgroups tend to be stay-at-home moms who get together during the day and it is wonderful support! Your children have other children to play with and more importantly you have other moms to relate with! Here is one place to start: http://www.matchingmoms.org/
    On this website moms can make a profile and then search by zip code for other moms nearby that you relate with, children’s ages, religion, etc. Also, the website lists playgroups, go to “find playgroups”, especially if your Church doesn’t have something.
    You can always start a playgroup too, post something at your Church, talk to other moms with young children, tell them that you are looking for other stay-at-home moms to get together with. You will find real friends who support you and who, when they invite you, say that the children are always welcome too of course! You will eventually find someone you can trust with Gabriel so that you and your husband can go on a date again.
    Remember that you don’t have to explain yourself to others, but there are things you can say if you choose. Let them know that you absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom! Advise them that it is something you wouldn’t give up for the world. Your children are only young once. You can have a career, education or whatever when they start school or move out. It is never too late for those things but Gabriel will only take his first steps once! You want to be there for every precious little smile and giggle and you want to be the one to hold him close when he is hurt, sad and angry. Also, you can advise the mom who “can’t afford it” and the mom who says “you are so lucky” that you and your husband have had to make a lot of sacrifices but it is well worth every moment with your precious Gabriel and the peace of mind knowing how he will be raised. What a silly question to ask what you do all day!! Your day is very busy from cleaning, cooking and shopping to the most important chore of sharing the day with Gabriel, learning from him, teaching him and watching him grow. Being a Catholic, a wife and a mom should be the number one roles in your life and, if you allow it, you will find it is more fullfilling than any other “career.” Our children make us better people, there is such a joy in teaching our children of God and the Church and they will in turn show us a profound unconditional love for God we may have forgotten.
    I think you should tell your husband that you need an hour a day of alone time. Suggest that he can do some father-son bonding so that you can exercise, read or even just shop alone. You will feel healthier and more confident if you do get some exercise time in. My husband usually does most of the bedtime ritual with our children – bath, pjs, books and that gives me an hour to clean up after dinner without much interruption. It also gives him some one-on-one time with the children. Another thing I try to make a point of – always making sure I feel nice, a little makeup, nice, clean clothes (not always easy with three little ones) and never late for an appointment. It makes me feel better to not look like a rushed, haggard mom of three. Also, I strongly suggest that you consider Natural Family Planning to further enhance your relationship with your husband and God!
    You are in my prayers! Lovingly,
    A proud stay-at-home Mom of three so-far.
    Carol

    #3797

    jeannicol
    Member

    Dear Rachel Susanne,

    This is my first time on this site, and I hope that I can offer you some encouragement. I believe that the posting by MommyRose is very helpful, and I do hope that you will be able to try some of her advice.

    Staying at home with your child is one of the most important things that God is asking of you right now. Being a wife and stay-at-home mother is not to be looked at as something inferior. You have made the right decision to stay at home, even though there are some sacrifices. The problem nowadays is that we do not hear the word “sacrifice” anymore. Being with your child at such a tender age is what God wishes of you. As many of us with married children and grandchildren will tell you–they grow so fast and it is so important to be with them to nurture them and teach them about Jesus and Mary.

    I was a stay-at-home Mom and have never regretted it. My husband and I raised a large family, and had to make special dates to have time for each other. This can be done right in your own home. You can prepare a special meal that you will have when your child is in bed. The setting can very informal, but the most important thing is that you will have spent time together for the caring and loving that you both deserve.

    I do hope that you will look into using Natural Family Planning, a way of life that will enhance the relationship of you and your husband, and bring you closer to God. Believe me, I know, as my husband and I have been teachers of natural family planning since 1971.

    Some of my married daughters are stay-at-home moms, one has 7 children and one has 6 and number 7 on the way. They have gotten many comments about being at home, but know that this is what God wishes of them now. Motherhood is their number one responsibility.

    You may contact the Couple-To-Couple League for information about natural family planning at http://www.ccli.org

    By the way, I am a mother of 7 children, and a grandmother of 20 with number 21 on the way.

    I wish God’s blessings to you and your husband, and your dear child Gabriel.

    I will be praying especially for you each day.

    Prayerfully in Jesus and Mary,

    Jean

    #3798

    thank you both for your replies.
    i feel in my heart that this i am in the right place, but its hard with the culture of “career women” and daycare being the norm.
    i am thinking more and more of NFP but am skeptical of becoming pregnant too soon….we are really having financial hard times, and my husb. has a young daughter from before our marriage that we pay child support for. right now with my PPD i psychologically dont think i could handle another baby for at least a year or two. i am afraid NFP wont work…is it really efffective?? it seems most people i know who use it have 6+kids….not that theres anything wrong with that, just that it makes me wonder if NFP works.

    #3799

    sunnyone
    Member

    When I had my first child, I was working in downtown Chicago. I had a nice job and thought it was great! Then I had some problems with sitters and when child #2 came, I decided to stay home. At first I was scared, because I didn’t know anyone else who stayed home. I signed up for some mom and tot programs at the park district, and slowly met other moms who stayed home, at least part time. By the time Kindergarten came, I had a large network of people whom I can count on. So my point is, hang in there! (‘:)’) It won’t be lonely forever. And look into all options in child care if you really want to go back to work. I now have 4 kids, and recently went back to work. Three are in school, but my youngest is only 2. I found a local convent who started a day care for children 5 and under. They are so patient, and the facility is super-clean. The kids are really nice there, too.

    #3800

    mommyrose
    Member

    @rachelsusanne wrote:

    thank you both for your replies.
    i feel in my heart that this i am in the right place, but its hard with the culture of “career women” and daycare being the norm.
    i am thinking more and more of NFP but am skeptical of becoming pregnant too soon….we are really having financial hard times, and my husb. has a young daughter from before our marriage that we pay child support for. right now with my PPD i psychologically dont think i could handle another baby for at least a year or two. i am afraid NFP wont work…is it really efffective?? it seems most people i know who use it have 6+kids….not that theres anything wrong with that, just that it makes me wonder if NFP works.

    First, I don’t believe that the culture of career women and daycare are the norm. It was the feminist trying to “liberate” women who discouraged staying home and even breastfeeding! So women tried going against everything God and their heart and soul told them was right, they tore themselves away from their babies to go to work. Staying at home and breastfeeding are the right things and the growing trend! Careers are great but not with the wee ones at home. Staying at home with our children will make us less selfish, bring us closer to God and will be far more fulfilling than any other career.

    Second, on the NFP note… The reason you see people with 6+ kids who didn’t use birth control is due to the openness in their hearts to God’s will. NFP does require responsiblity and willpower, the only people you will hear of getting pregnant when avoiding pregnancy with NFP are those who were not being responsible. NFP not only works better than any birth control it is also natural with no side effects and most importantly it is God’s will. It is so important that we do NOT use birth control, we cannot truly be in union with God and our spouse if we are using birth control.

    One More Soul is a NFP website, go here for articles, resources and links to doctors in your area that support NFP and links to those that teach it: http://www.omsoul.com/

    Here is an article regarding NFP effectiveness versus birth control: http://www.catholicmom.com/nfp1003.htm

    Go to this websites link to read positive comments by those who use NFP: http://www.catholicmoms.com/modules.php?name=CatholicMoms&func=nfp

    #3801

    ashersmomma
    Member

    Awesome reply MommyRose, I could not agree more! Another important reason to practice ONLY NFP is that the most common forms of contraception are actually abortificants. So it is not only about being open to God’s will while also being responsible, it is also about not ending a newly created life. Especially if you are using the pill. It is not a question of “maybe” you will unknowingly abort a baby it is the question of when. It either has or will happen. Breakthrough ovulation happens quite often and the woman never even knows. The pill’s second line of defense in case ovulation occurs is to make the it impossible for the new embryo to survive along the uterine wall, same thing with the IUD and so many others.
    So why hasn’t your OBGYN told you that breakthrough ovulation can and will occur (especially if you are on low-dose BC)?? Because of all the deception and greed in the world for which Saten thrives on. There is a reason why pharmacutical companies are multi-gazillion dollar industries.

    Also, only until 1930 did it become acceptable for even Protestants to use contraception. Before 1930 ALL Christians, Catholic and Protestant believed it to be immoral….since the beginning of time! Calvin, Wesley, and even Martin Luther himself had very condemming things to say about those who “make eunichs” of themselves…not my words. So what has changed? Not Catholics! A long time ago I also used the pill and I have to live with the fact that I may have aborted my own children and if I can save anyone from that guilt by speaking up about the lies of BC then thank you God for that opportunity!
    There are other alternatives to BC for medical treatment. Many women have used the John Paul VI Institue to help with a variety of women’s health issues, especially becoming a staying pregnant. I urge you to check it out. There are some facilites in certain states that work with Napro Technologies/John Paul VI Institute.

    http://www.naprotechnology.com/
    http://www.popepaulvi.com

    #3802

    anastasia
    Member

    I completely understand where you are on this: I have three kids at home, and I can’t tell you how many times people give me grief for it. So much of the commentary is basically” you only stay home because you’re just not smart enough to do anything else”. But you know, some of the most well-read, educated women I’ve ever met stayed home. You actually have the time to read, go out and find interests and hobbies to occupy your mind; many working women are just to busy with their career to find time for much else.

    #3803

    elisa
    Member

    Hey – I haven’t been on this forum in a while, but I’m glad I checked in today and read your post.

    I know how you feel.

    I’m also 25, and was actually in the Army when I met my husband when I was 21. We were married soon after and got pregnant 3 months later. We wanted to start our family right away, and I got out of the Army to stay at home w/ my child.

    Since my husband is still military we are always on the move. Every 2 years we move MANY states away from family and friends.

    I am also the first of all my friends (from back home) to get married…AND the first to have a baby. I’ve gotten all those quotes too, the “what do you DO all day” and “I want to live my life before I have kids”…blahblahblah. It is very discouraging.

    I didn’t get to finish my degree. When I joined the Army, I planned on (not meet Mr. Right) and finishing my degree while I was in the Army or right after I got out. That never happened. I’m very glad I met Mr. Right when I did, but it took me a while to get used to staying at home, and not making my own money.

    I’m now working (very slowly) on my Bachelors. It is not so much so that I can have a career in case my husband died, but mainly so I don’t waste the credits I’ve earned so far.

    I figure, if my husband died, I would somehow manage and do what I have to do in order to provide for my family.

    I am pregnant w/ number 2 right now and sometimes I get so discouraged and depressed (like today). It’s mostly lack of sleep and having to put my toddler in time out at least once an hour, b/c since he turned 2, he refuses to listen and his fav. word is NO!

    But in any case, hang in there. Don’t let your “friends” talk down to you as if you’re wasting away your life by starting a family. Tell them: “I’d rather have my kids while I’m young and healthy…I’ll have plenty of time to travel and have a career when my kids are grown.” At least I truly believe that. I did some traveling while I was young, but it was boring. I’d much rather do it w/ my husband on a nice vacation while our kids our with grandma and grandpa (never done that yet…but someday).

    I wouldn’t be on any artificial birth control, mainly because they mess with your hormones and I don’t imagine that helps with depression.

    I will be keeping you in my prayers.

    #3804

    karenann
    Member

    Hi. This is also my first time on here. Everyone has given you lovely advice.
    I have a few insights to add from an experienced mom of 4 who has been both a stay at home and a working mother. Staying at home with your child is a wonderful and very fulfilling career and much more important than killing time earning money. Trust me. In 20 years all of the money I have earned working will surely be gone as well as all of the junk I bought with it. But my children will still be around and will still be the most important “thing” I ever accomplished.
    I also became pregnant before I was married and before I meant to at age 19. I was still able to go to college and have the career I dreamed of after the birth of my second child and well after the age of 25. When my 3rd was born I chose to stay home again. I went back to work part time after the 4th child was old enough although my husband and I have juggled work so that they never went to daycare. I now work fulltime (3 twelve hour shifts a week as a nurse and lactation consultant) and would love to stay at home again but my husband is not working due to the economy being poor and I am the breadwinner.
    I know many working moms who would love to stay at home. You are so blessed! Before you know it your beautiful baby will be in kindergarten, then high school. It goes by in the blink of an eye. And by the way my oldest daughter is almost 25 and she recently told me she is worried she will never meet someone, get married and have kids because she is getting too old. We always seem to want what we don’t have. So my advice to you is this: Stop, take a deep breath and look at what you have and think of how blessed you are. Look at your baby’s sweet face tonight when he is asleep and drink it in and tuck that memory away forever. Live in the moment and enjoy what you have. This is where you are meant to be.

    #3805

    gksteiner
    Member

    Dear Rachel,

    I think you have gotten some invaluable advice on this website and I wanted to take the time to share a little of my story as well.

    First, I have 4 kids from 15-8 and they have been the biggest blessing and also the biggest sacrifice of my life. Motherhood has not been an easy journy for me, but by the grace of God alone I have been able to stay home with them most of their lives and for the most part raise them in the Catholic faith. Just in the last two to three years have I been able to see the fruits of that sacrifice. To look into a teenagers eyes and see Christ look back is just about the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed, espesially in today’s culture of death. Not phyisical death, but spiritual death, the death that happens when our hearts and souls are allowed to be separated from the love of our God and Father. When you choose to stay home with your children you are making the choice to ensure that they will grow in faith according to your faith….Monkey see, Monkey do! We teach our kids through example, if we want them to grow into apostles winning souls for Christ, we also must be apostles winning souls for Christ! This is not particularly easy and of course requires personal sacrifice, but well worth the rewards….Eternal Life!

    When my fourth child was not quite two I struggled with depression, my husband wasn’t able to take any time off work, and I had four small children, three still at home. I quickly became overwhelmed and totaly stressed out, mostly becasue we had fallen away from the church and were not participating! I was put on a variety of medications which only seemed to make things worse. I firmly believe that when we start overmedicating ourselves we are not able to allow God’s healing Grace into our hearts. I’m not being critical of medication, there are specific uses for them, just warning against over use. Particularly with depression many times medications only treat the symptoms and mask the underlying issues. Do not stop taking your medications now however. This issue at this point needs to be prayerfuly discerned and only with the help of your Dr.

    About NFP…I used various types of contraceptives through out our marriage until finally we decided to have a tubal ligation after we had our fourth. By the end of each of my pregnancys I always just “knew” if there would be another, and the last one was no exception. I “knew” there were to be more which scared the bejeebers out of me! I was so overwhelmed and just knew that one more would push me right over the edge. So I pushed aside the guilt and everthing I knew about church teaching on this issue and had the TL telling myself I knew better than God….AS IF!!! For a while I was able to tell myself and of course my friends and family who all said enough is enough that I was relieved. It didn’t take long though for me to start regreting my decision. I think in part it was responsible for my depression at the time. Now my entire family mourns the loss of our fertility. All of our kids want another sibling and my husband and I definately feel the absence of God in that part of our relationship. Having a large family allows each member to grow in generosity making it easier as the children grow to understand what it means to sacrifice for God and that it is a blessing and sign of our love for Him to make personal sacrifice. After all that’s what He calls us to do, sacrifice our own sense of “self” for Him and what he wants for us. It isn’t easy sometimes to have faith that He does know what is best for us and that through Him all things are possible and He will always provide for us the things we need to continue in our journey with Him. Sometimes He does give us just a bit more than we can handle on our own to remind us of just how much we need Him, but in the end he sees us through if we open our hearts and trust Him with our lives. It sounds to me like He is really working on your heart and I find that in my own life my biggest “growth spurts” happen during times of personal turmoil. Call it growing pains I guess. Just know that this is a season of your life, take the time to listen to God and learn what He is trying to teach you. I know that through His Grace you will be closer to Him at the end of this season and more ready when the next season gets here! You will be in my prayers!

    #3806

    mamamama
    Member

    Advice from a “career” mom.

    Enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. It is a precious gift. Having a full time job and two children is one of the hardest and sadest things I know. I am always worried that my children don’t get enough of my time. Unfortunately, being a stay at home mom is not an option for me. I have to provide for my children. The only upside is that I am a teacher and I have the summers and various breaks with my kids. That and their day care is in my school and their Nana watches them two days during the week.

    If your friends and family do not respect your decision to be a stay at home, remind them that they are supposed to love and support you. They do not need to understand your choice, they just need to respect. If they care about you, they should be able to do that.

    I am also very active and sometimes during the summer when I am at home with the girls, I feel a little stir-crazy. So I make sure to plan activities to do with the kids. Even if it’s as simple as a trip to the park or a long walk around the neighborhood. The kids enjoy it and so do I. I try to plan at least one play date a week. I also highly reccommend looking to see if your church has a group. Having some Catholic friends will help you in your journey.

    I also reccommend getting off the birth control. Remember that birth control changes the way your body works and the balance of your hormones. Reading the possible side effects is horrifying. Natural Family Planning is much more effective and safer for your body.

    And every Sunday, get dressed up nice, have your husband dress up nice, get that baby boy in something adorable adorable and go to Church. Do your best to follow along and participate with the Mass (I know it can be hard – I have a one year old and a two year old). If your heart is open, it’s amazing how God can speak to you especially during Mass.

    I hope this helps.

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