The secret is out . . .
I have an alter ego called “Monster Mommy”. Instead of being normal and mild mannered like Peter Parker with a cool super human ‘Spidey’ powers that help and serve humanity . . . I am more like ‘Green Goblin’. I have this voice in my head that tries really hard to get out. She is cynical, bitchy, sarcastic, ironic on so many levels, and often loud. I see her in a passing mirror, her face contorted, eyes squinting, yelling something at the kids. And the normal me is stuck inside beating on the door of my brain telling her to stop. When ‘Monster Mommy’ takes over, all bets are off.
Three years ago, this voice practically didn’t exist. Oh sure, if I was operating on sleep deprivation, with PMS and was tandem nursing while running around trying to keep all things managed and clean . . . the monster would make a brief appearance but was easily subdued with more sleep, the hubby giving me a hand, popping some large amounts of chocolate, and just letting things ‘go’ for a while. ‘Monster Mommy’ was only a brief and ugly reminder that I needed to take better care of myself.
And then things changed. Taking better care of myself was impossible in daily life because my daughter died things changed forever. Instead of brief moments of insanity, I felt more and more like a stranger in my own skin.
For me, this meant that the grief took over, opening wide the door for ‘Monster Mommy’. I drown daily in the tidal waves of pain and so did my children. We coped as best we could. We talked, we shared, we processed, we cried and talked some more, we sought out therapy, I painted, I began writing, and did my best to give everyone in the family their space to grieve as they needed. But I quickly realized that my children’s ability to cope surpassed mine.
Have you noticed how kids are so great at having intense emotional moments and then (like magic) they are ready to go on with something else. The grief didn’t seem to have an upper hand the way it did for me. I would spend months at a time trying to get through the day. I could not stop counting the days since I last saw held my baby girl or calculating how old she should have been.
And all the while, life went on. Little people needed to be cared for and fed, but my ability to cope was compromised. I struggled, I hurt, I felt inadequate, I felt isolated, alone and like a freak of nature somehow, because everyone kept telling me that things would get better . . . eventually. And I kept reading about how other loss mommies would find what I elusively called ‘hope’ and ‘happiness’ again and I waited for it myself.
Then I became pregnant with my first rainbow baby and the strain of hormones and fear of another loss kept a lot of ‘happiness’ and ‘hope’ away. Which made it easier to be more cynical and sharp tongued and wham-bam, ‘Monster Mommy’ is here again.
Looking back and adding up the time, I withdrew from most everything for almost two years before I was ready to feel part of the outside world again. I don’t consider this depression, I consider it MY grief process. It was certainly longer than the DSM or society allows (but screw them). And now that I am expecting rainbow #2, things are precarious again. Quite simply, it is hard to walk in grief, live life, be a mom, and be pregnant. At least it is for me. My personal struggle to be a good and loving mom is that I have to admit that I have ‘Monster Mommy’ waiting in the wings sometimes.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I think it is something that needs to be openly talked about so that others can air out their alter-egos and not feel so alone. We are all easily influenced by how we ‘think’ things should be. But lets be honest ~ secreting away your inner ‘Monster’ is just no good. The moment we face the ‘Monster’ inside and share her with the world, is the moment you can start to heal and help others.