About doubt

I’ve spent so much of the last 9 months feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as a mum. What I’m realising is feeling like that doesn’t mean I’m falling apart or failing. It just means I’m human. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about motherhood on the blog despite my fear of becoming a ‘mummy blogger’. Today I wanted to explore something I’ve been thinking a lot about. Doubt. (Yes I’m a poet and gosh-darn do I know it!)

Going along on this journey of motherhood exposes you to a lot of challenges. For me, the biggest challenge is that it’s impossible to feel completely confident as a mum. Confidence for me comes from knowing I can ABSOLUTELY ace something. Anything less than being super bad-ass at something is just not enough. With a baby, life is full of “maybe” and “probably” and “who knows” and “I don’t know” and “there’s no right way to do that” and “just take a stab in the dark”. No one can tell me if I’m doing this thing right. No one can confirm that I’m doing the best I possibly can. I can’t be sure I’ve made good choices or, heaven forbid, the RIGHT choices (whatever they are!). And all of this leads to the ‘D-word’… DOUBT.

How do you live with Doubt? He’s such a horrible companion. Doubt takes your shoe soles and turns them to soap. Doubt fills your mind with booby traps and hides monsters in your cupboards. And the worst thing about Doubt is that he rarely flies solo. He’s super social and constantly invites his friends Fear and Self-loathing to every occasion. Ugh.

I’ve found that mummy life is a big old magnet for Doubt and keeping him out has become my full time job. Only problem?… my full time job SHOULD be to care for myself and my daughter!! 

So much of my time now is spent asking everyone and their dog and their dog’s fleas about how I should be raising my child and caring for myself. I convince myself that if I get the right affirmation or advice, it’ll help me ace this mummy thing i.e. See ya later Doubt! Then, when I get said advice, I still feel the same. I’m trying to take things on board and accept the help people offer but it’s hardly scratching the surface of how I’m feeling

Why am I struggling so much when I’m surrounded by love and support? I’m not sure I have a bullet-proof answer but I’m getting the gist. Here’s where I’m at with this whole thing…

I’m just going to put it out there and say maybe being ‘not ok’ is perfectly ok. Maybe not knowing whether I’m kicking butt as a mum is ok too. Maybe my inner feelings are just that – feelings. Maybe Doubt is just that friend who means well but kinda sucks at being a friend. Maybe confidence is not about being great at stuff. Maybe I can live without confidence. Woah. Did I just type that? Overachieving, perfectionist old me?! Know what? Yeah. Confidence is overrated and I just don’t have time to keep up this dead-end search for the holy confidence grail. For now, I’m trying my best to just ‘be’.

How therapy has changed my life

On 24 July 2012, I made a call that changed my life.
I was scared and confused about so many things but I had finally got brave enough to tell my GP how I was feeling. He handed me a number for a psychologist and I still remember sitting on the train afterwards, making that pivotal call.
I’ve been seeing my psychologist for just over a year now and my life couldn’t look more different.

I always believed that life was about surviving. Surviving guilt, fear, trauma, crisis, sadness, hard times and scary times. I grew up knowing what life could throw at you. I have seen and experienced things in my life that I would never wish on any other person – things that I wish never even happened. And I know I’m not the exception. Everyone encounters challenges and realities that they would rather run from than to face head on.

For years I had taken hit after hit and tried to push on regardless and it worked for the most part. Hard became normal, tough became second-nature. At some point though, I had to come undone and it happened shortly after I got engaged.

I remember reading a book about getting married and it spoke about the things we bring into our relationships that we have kept from the past. I started thinking about what I was bringing into my marriage and the thought really scared me. I haven’t had the worst life in the world – don’t get me wrong – but I certainly had never done anything to process a lot of what I had experienced. I also started to realise I wasn’t just a victim of my circumstance – I had areas of my life I had let go of a little. I would quite often turn a blind eye to a lot of my faults and unhelpful ways of coping.

I think the realisation that your ‘stuff’ – your baggage – would become part of someone else’s life was more than I could bear. In hindsight I could say that my motivation should really have come from within myself, but the truth is that I had a realisation of the bigger picture that existed for me and that was enough to make a real change for the better.

Through therapy, I have learnt how to deal with my sadness, anger and stress. I have found new tools to help me become stronger in my mind and spirit. I have found resolve and strength in portions I have not experienced before. I am a more resilient person – but only through realising my weakness. I have discovered my own personality, opinions, feelings and future. I am learning to set goals, live with my negative feelings and above all – keep growing.

When my husband and I first started dating, one of the mix tapes he made me was titled “Keep on Growing”. That phrase has really stuck to me like glue and was even played as we walked back down the aisle after being married!

I wanted to write this post to celebrate this year-and-a-bit of therapy and challenge you and I to keep on growing by being ok with our weaknesses and being open to getting help when we need it.

I hope this has made you think about your own wellbeing and maybe planted a seed about how you could care for yourself better or learn new things to grow into a better person each day 🙂

– Heidi