Love is All You Need: The Beatles and Maternal Mental Health
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Pre-Partum Anxiety and Depression
It’s no secret that my anxiety has always been high. The people who love me the best call me “high strung” and it can be cute or it can be beyond frustrating for people. When the manic pixie dream girl trope was created, I realized that people don’t really tolerate anxiety in anyway. I am the kind of person who would stand at the edge of a diving board for 10 minutes frozen with anxiety as a child. I had to plan out everything and I would jump to the worst case scenario. When my apartment in grad school was infested with mice, our neighbors knew when they came back because they would hear my blood curdling screams. If overthinking was a sport, I would be an Olympic athlete. I am the person who freaks out when people are text bubbling when you text. I am the person who can only be in elevators for so long. I am the person who would talk so fast that people couldn’t understand what I was saying and I still have to tell myself to slow down. Like many anxious people, I would dare myself to do things that were out of my comfort zone. There are people who are like “how can you perform in front of people?” Because I dared myself to. How could you just go up and talk to that person? Dared myself to. I am a hypochondriac and I will struggle with this my whole life. I chew really slowly because of my fear of choking. I have bad knife skills because I’m terrified of cutting myself. It’s why I love morbid things. Because it justifies what I think in my head. Well this was a bad scenario, this is how people get out of it. I also deal with my anxiety by making fun of myself. I was lucky to be raised by two smart people who would listen and calmly explain things to me. They were smart enough to know that these things were normal-ish. My family has dealt with my anxiety lovingly my whole life. It’s a deal breaker with people because there are people who don’t get it and if they don’t it is such a fundamentally different personality that I can’t be around it. That’s what toxic people means, it’s people not respecting your boundaries. For me, it’s kindness above all else and while my favorite people all have different personalities they love and accept me for who I am. So this was my struggle in my twenties and as I worked my way into my thirties, I was getting an idea of what I needed to help me. Then I got pregnant.
Wheaton Sweater Dress - Black
from: Universal Standard
I love their stuff. Their denim is on point and they are the most size inclusive brand ever. They have sizes from 00-40. Highly suggested.
Look at All the Lonely People
I learned I was pregnant in the fall of 2016. So I was in the early stages of my pregnancy during that awful election. I vowed not to be political on this blog because I needed to use my energy elsewhere but I do want to say, regardless of how you felt about the outcome-it was a nightmare for our whole country. It was so stressful and as an anxious person it was awful. I later found out that there was a spike in premature births with my sons birth cohort because of how stressful things are for young mothers. Everyone I know who has a small child right now is in my world of anxiety because the news is terrifying.I live in the Midwest and to see people who know better defend reprehensible behavior has been eye opening. It’s hilarious to see people say “why aren’t more people having babies?” I don’t know-maybe listen to people my age about our struggles? Our college debt is outrageous and paying for healthcare and childcare is insane. That being said, click on this link to help a working mom out:
The social support for mothers isn’t there like it used to be. There are less women working my age because of the cost of childcare. It can be incredibly lonely being the mother of a small child. You become a little bit invisible and people become so incredibly judgey. If you are like me, and like to control everything, being a parent just puts that all out of whack. You have no control over anything anymore and no matter what you do people will judge you. So it’s hard to reach out. For me that struggle was breastfeeding and I’ll be really honest about it.
I love how this is all about sustainability and being outdoors. I love what they have and I look forward to what new sustainable textiles they will create.
Let It Be
Disclaimer: I have a comically large bosom. Like Jessica Rabbit big and it’s been a part of my life in weird ways. So I put up with it and the odd attention I got with it, seriously it’s a thing I could write a dissertation about it. Did you know people make assumptions about you? Have you ever had seemingly normal convo with a random man only to have him ask you to send him pics of your breasts in a specific light to your face in person? For free? (just kidding). Dude. I always thought, well breastfeeding will be a breeze. Nope. It was not. My son came a little early and I could not keep up the supply. On top of it, he never latched so I was in the purgatory known as pumping. I would pump and barely anything would come out. We were supplementing from the beginning of the newborn stage and I am so grateful to my pediatrician and actual physicians for saying “stop beating yourself up about it.” My son would hear the pump and know it was me. It was so emotionally draining and I would just look at the clock and wait for it to turn 20 minutes. I was so desperate to get milk that I literally pumped so hard I damaged my nipples. It was not a matter of wanting it or not trying hard enough. Once I pumped 10 oz and we were worried my son was reacting to something I ate. We had to dump it down the drain and I just bawled and couldn’t get out of bed for no kidding 12 hours. I physically could not get up because I felt so broken. So that was my first real struggle with motherhood. Also, I won’t hear it from people that act like women who formula feed are failures. I don’t owe anyone an explanation about why I stopped breastfeeding. I did what was right for my family.
People I trust, from beauty conscious friends to friends with PhD’s in chemistry have told me for years about unregulated the perfume industry is. These are hypoallergenic and clean (meaning made thoughtfully without ingredients that could harm you) scents that you can wear anywhere and are elegant. It’s a really cool concept.
Ebb and Flow of Anxiety
So your hormones are all out of whack and you have this little person you have to protect in a world where they people collectively don’t care. We don’t live in a child friendly society and then you have to make new mom friends which is hard for me. I am like “do you want to know about cats and true crime and how comedy writers write?” I felt so lonely. I know I wasn’t the only one because it’s scary with kids. My whole life changed. You know it’s going to change but it changes in such fundamental ways. Like my life revolves around my son, as it should, but it’s hard to meet people when all you can do is kid friendly things. You also spend so much more time alone or with your partner. You find out if you can rely on your partner and what you like about them. My husband and I make each other laugh but I joked after my maternity leave I turned into Larry David because I don’t have a filter. Also, with the advent of social media I feel like I was a total lurker with people’s lives. I got way too involved in that oh and I feel like the people in podcasts are my friends. When you feel disconnected from a sudden social change, those are the people you listen to. I talk about Karen and Georgia like I know them. Now I’ll be like “you know Conan loved that book too.” I don’t know Conan O’Brien obviously. Then things that wouldn’t make me nervous absolutely terrify me know. Namely sustainability and our country (the US) falling apart because I’ve got a kid to raise. I’ve read enough history books to know what happens and I am tired y’all. Oh the tiredness. A special kind of tired that no one gets. When I was in my twenties I got by on one hour of sleep several times. In my thirties, that’s a joke. When you work and have a kid it’s the equivalent of like 100 hours a week. Not saying Stay at Home Moms have it easy at all, but I am so friggin’ tired all the time. So taking care of myself when I can is paramount. What has been surprising to me is all of these feelings of anxiety and awkwardness, there is a community of other supportive moms and the internet has introduced me to them. I have a mom group online with women all over the country and I love those women so much. I’ve started this blogging journey and I’ve met wonderful people. Feel free to check out my friend Chelsea’s blog. It’s incredible. We’re rebuilding the village and not tearing each other down. We’re all doing the best we can at this mom thing.
Filling Up My Cup
For me, my breaks are writing this blog, reselling my clothes, exercising, and escaping into art. I decided to randomly include in this article (it makes sense to me y’all) my rediscovering the Beatles. I made fun of my husband (I’ve got a tongue. It’s a work in progress) by noting that he wore his Beatles tie as a sub and I was like “oh look at you. You’re the “cool” sub.” Yes, I’ve met some really annoying artless people who want to introduce me to “the Beatles.” My sister was obsessed with them and we would listen to them on road trips when we first moved to Ohio and I was a moody tween. I was like “whatever, they’re OK.” However, when I got pregnant when I got overwhelmed with everything I would go upstairs and listen to the Beatles. After a crazy business trip and a little bit of a breakdown, I would watercolor and listen to the Beatles. It is my “please leave me alone in my thoughts and be mindful music.” I knew they were great but their later stuff is incredible. I love their more psychedelic music. My son’s new favorite book is a picture book of “All You Need is Love.” It’s beautiful. I used to feel like they were overrated. I was wrong. They just calm me down. They force me to be mindful because you can listen to them and you know the next song is going to be good. So I’m rediscovering them as an adult. Yes I will mention that the Manson family was only allowed to listen to Charlie’s music (shudder) and the Beatles hence they were obsessed with the White Album because they believed it was a message to them. Moral of the story, don’t trust people that expect you to live on simple carbs and have all the answers. Will you be my friend playground moms? So get your music account ready, get your mudras in order or your calm space in order, and get lost in the Beatles music. I mean what can I say about the Beatles that hasn’t been said? But looking over what they wrote it’s incredible for people who have anxiety and are feeling alone and live in their head. It’s “life of the mind” music. I remember listening to Revolver with my family in the car and I liked all the dark moody songs as an eleven year old. “She said, I know what it is to be sad.” I mean that’s a pretty apt description of depression. I used to dream about Paul McCartney marrying my Grandma. I’d be like “he’s your age and he loves animals!” but he never made it to rural Wisconsin ha! So if your partner wants some alone time and you just want to lose yourself in music that lets you imagine but keeps you grounded- do that. Lennon and McCartney almost talk you down from anxiety attacks.I sometimes feel like, it took me forever to find someone who loves me in spite of my depression and anxiety and now I have to put that on a child. But if anyone has taught me when I can’t get out of my head that all I need is love, it’s my son.
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It’s Getting Better All the Time
Fellow readers, I hope you are enjoying your warm weather and living your best life. Feel free to use these images of Beatles lyrics. I hope you get to listen to this music and argue about whether or not Wings is a good band with people you love and trust. Love to you.