A few months ago, and for the few months before that, I wasn’t in great shape. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I was piling way too much on myself, and still trying to adjust to life with three children. Still trying to balance work-life-home-kids.
My shoulders were heavy from the weight I’d been carrying around. I was staying up way too late, not eating very well and breaking down to my husband Colin the second he’d walk through the door daily. I was overwhelmed, overworked and overexerted.
I knew I needed to make a lot of changes. Big ones. I started going to sleep earlier, we ordered a Peloton so I could work out at home (because getting to a gym those months was laughably impossible), I asked for help from the people I love, and most importantly, I noticed. I finally noticed—and cared—that something was off. I realized I didn’t have to live like this. That I didn’t have to be drowning in everything all the time.
When things clicked, and I noticed, I knew I needed to talk to someone about this overwhelm. I had to find a therapist.
I tried to do my research when I had a free moment and realized the search was too overwhelming on top of already feeling overwhelmed, so I put it off. I finally went to the therapist my sisters were going to because that was easy and I knew she was great. But I only went for a few months because the office didn’t take my insurance and we couldn’t afford the appointments after a while.
That got me thinking.
I think every mother should be able to see a therapist. It is hugely beneficial to have someone outside of your circle who has a fresh perspective as well as an open heart and mind willing to hear you out. Heck, every PERSON in general should probably be talking to a therapist.
But, it’s hard to figure it all out.
So, why is it hard? Why does it take mothers so long to go to therapy?
1. Doing the research
Finding a therapist is a daunting task. I wasn’t really sure what I should be looking for in a therapist when I wasn’t even really sure what exactly was going on with me. I wasn’t sure which websites to look on. And then it felt like A LOT of work to do just to make an appointment with someone I may not even click with. What if I didn’t like the one I booked with? Then I’d be back to square one which felt impossible. It was overwhelming on top of overwhelming.
Finding the time to schedule appointments. My life was (and still is) very busy balancing kids and work and everything else that comes along with that. Plus, that’s on top of trying to fit my availability into a therapist’s schedule. Not as easy as one would think. The scheduling part can definitely be stressful.
Paying someone to watch your kids when you’re not making money. When you don’t have all the money in the world, paying someone to watch your kids when you go to non-paying appointments is tough. But, (obviously) your therapist’s office is definitely not the place to bring children. Asking people to watch your kids as a favor works sometimes, but they also have busy lives, so this can often pile up onto the stress pile, too.
Feeling like you’re doing something “wrong.” Feeling like your overwhelm has led you to therapy can do a number on your brain. I often wondered if I was doing something wrong simply because I couldn’t juggle all the balls. Why can’t I do this? Why can other people seem to balance everything?
I felt guilty for not being able to handle it all. Guilty for trying to fit something in that was solely for me, into our already full days. But the thing is, everyone needs help. All the time. With all sorts of things. And no one can actually balance all the things, all the time. Plus, we deserve to be high up on our list of priorities. We are worthy of care.
The “right” therapists sometimes aren’t covered by your insurance, which means you have to pay out of pocket and that can get expensive. Like, really expensive. Which is personally where I’m at right now.
It’s hard. It’s tricky to figure out all the tiny details—I’m still figuring it out myself. But, it only took meeting with my therapist for a few months to convince me that it is worth the effort. Taking yourself seriously enough to carve out time for just your needs—to talk to someone about something that’s bothering you or to discuss a hurdle that’s in front of you that you just can’t get over—is a huge step in the right direction of REAL self-care, not necessarily the manufactured self-care we see all over the internet.
So this Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, I just wanted to tell you that you’re not alone. A lot of us struggle with anxiety or depression of all different levels and fluctuations at many different points in our lives. Take yourself seriously and find a good therapist. It’s worth it, and you’re worth it, too.