“It’s okay to feel like a terrible mother”

I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) after my second child was born and I recently gave birth to my third, a beautiful little girl, via emergency C-section after two successful natural births. All three of my babies were premature.

This pregnancy was a surprise. Neither my husband nor I were prepared for another child. I stopped taking my medication the moment I found out I was expecting but I was too ashamed to let my psychiatrist know as I felt as though I’d let her down after all the progress I’d been making.

After a few good days of going cold turkey, life became a rough rollercoaster ride until about the fourth or fifth month into my pregnancy. I made the decision to go back onto medication (after confirming it was safe for my baby, of course) as I felt I was spiralling out of control. It all became unbearable. I suffered from insomnia and was exhausted all the time. I had night terrors, and kept snapping at my little boys. I also gained 25 kilograms and would break plates in anger. I was living in hell, but in my own head, and afraid losing my husband as I knew it wasn’t easy to be around me. I even started to neglect my boys as I couldn’t keep my head afloat.

After a traumatic birth experience, life became even darker: postpartum depression, they called it. This on top of my borderline personality disorder led me down a terrible path. I really wanted to bond with my baby daughter and tried breastfeeding, but I failed – not because she never wanted to latch, but my fear of failing as a mother caused me so much anxiety that I couldn’t produce breast milk, the most important thing my preemie needed.

I ended up not wanting her and refused to feed her, dress her, bath her or change her nappy. I’m ashamed to admit that she annoyed me on most days. What sort of mother was I and could I even call myself a mother? I didn’t mean to react that way, but I had no control of my emotions to the point where I simply locked myself in my closet and refused to come out.

I sat there and cried inconsolably about what a pathetic, failure of a mother I was, not just to my baby but to all my children. I was ready to end it all. My poor, panicked husband feared I might do something unthinkable, and called my mom to help. When she arrived, she sat in the closet with me and wiped away my tears, all the while talking to me. Even though I was initially angry that my husband had called her, he had done the right thing. She understood; she didn’t judge or question me. Instead, she spoke to me calmly and managed to pull me out of that dark, terrifying place.

“I cried inconsolably about what a pathetic, failure of a mother I was, not just to my baby but to all my children.”

Today, my daughter is only six weeks old. I still have bad days and I still break down. I’m still fighting my demons. I keep thinking of my mother’s words: “It’s okay not to feel happy when you’re supposed to. It’s okay to feel like a terrible mother. It’s okay not to understand what’s happening around you. No one needs to understand. No one needs an explanation. You’re allowed to be a mess.”

As moms today, we have so many responsibilities. Not only are we raising tomorrow’s future, but we have our wifely duties or we are single moms trying to get by. We all sacrifice so much and juggle many things at once to give our children the best. But while we are stronger than we think and built to survive…  we are also allowed to be a mess!

From a borderline mom.

Pieces and informative content provided by the BabyYumYum community members.