Baby Blues: I Can’t Be Honest With My Mom About My PPD Because She’s A SAHM Martyr

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Why can’t she tell me what she would’ve done differently? What she longed for, who she envied? Why can’t she tell me about disagreements she had with her own parents—am I really to believe she agreed with all of their views? She agrees with them now, but I think that’s really just some kind of senior citizen solidarity. I have a really hard time believing she’s always been the compliant little daughter.

But if she has, I want to know about that, too, and I want to understand that.

Because only when she comes clean about these things will I be able to fully express the scope of what I’m going through. Right now, it does me no good to vent to them. Right now, I’m way too guarded and self-conscious to be honest. So my interactions with my parents become false, because I’d rather avoid confrontation. I’d rather not drag our differences out into the daylight—it’s much easier to pretend we agree and carry on with the fluff. If I express any sort of doubt about, say, my decision to put baby in daycare so I can work again and save my sanity, I’m offering them a platform to spout their disapproval of working mothers.

So I draw back, I keep this all inside.

When I became a parent, I was ready to open my heart to a new connection with my own parents. I expected my relationship with them to deepen now that we had something new and precious in common. And my heart was especially warmed toward my mother.

“So this is how momma feels about me,” I kept thinking as I looked at my newborn daughter. But though love is universal, it is obvious that no two mothers have the same experiences. So as much as it hurts, I’m realizing that my new role as mother can be just as divisive as it is connective.

(photo: Inger Anne Hulbækdal / Shutterstock)

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