Disclaimer: This is one mom’s personal account of her experience with postpartum social anxiety. The author of this post is not a mental health professional. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please know that you are not alone and please reach out to a professional for help. In Alberta, you can access professional mental health services for free. Click here for more information.
After my daughter was born, I was officially the mother of two babes, who happened to be fourteen months apart. Life was chaotic, sleep deprivation at an all time high and self care was nonexistent. There were times I literally didn’t leave the house and not because I didn’t want to, but because juggling nap time, feedings, prepping meals, laundry, and soothing a colic baby, the day was over before I knew it. I remember my sister coming over to visit and because it was winter and there was snow on the driveway, she noticed that my car never left its place for an entire week. I remember her asking me if I had seriously stayed home this long? Oh boy, I hadn’t even realized that had happened. I knew I needed to make some changes as I felt like I was completely drowning. Since it had been months since I went out with friends, it was time to make that change.
I will never forget my first outing. I was invited to go for dinner with a friend and a few of her friends I had never met. I was so excited! I love meeting new people and I especially love to dress up. However, the problems started when it was time to get ready. I realized I hadn’t colored my hair in so long which resulted in mile long roots, my skin had post partum hormonal breakouts and I couldn’t fit any of my clothes. So, I threw my hair up, did my makeup the best I could and put my maternity pants on to go out. Feeling sexy and glam had a whole new meaning at that point. I got in my car, pumped the tunes and free as a bird, I arrived at the restaurant.
Something strange happened before I even got out of the car. I started to feel butterflies in my stomach; I was getting nervous. Not only was I nervous but the mom guilt started taking over and I felt bad for even leaving. What the hell was happening? I walked into the restaurant and saw the girls. Everyone looked so beautiful from their perfectly styled hair to their on-point fashion. I’ve never felt more self conscious in my life; I wanted to leave and go home. The girls were super friendly and very welcoming but that’s when it really hit me. I had NOTHING to talk about. Honestly, it’s like my mom brain wasn’t working and I had no idea how to converse. I happened to be the only mother in the group, which was maybe part of the issue. These girls spoke of their late nights, dating, travelling and the only thing I could muster up was “Sure, I’ll have another glass of wine” as the server came around. That night, I got drunk and I don’t mean just drunk, I mean blackout drunk and needed to be sent home. Of course, the next day I was mortified. I hadn’t drank in so long which resulted in me going from zero to a hundred in less than two hours.
Social anxiety is a real bitch. You feel nervous, you feel like you are being judged, you feel like you don’t have anything worthy to say and you feel like you don’t fit in. I want you to know, this is so common, and it shows up in different ways. Maybe you are like me and you get red and blotchy, super hot and forget your words. Maybe you are someone who talks a million miles an hour because the silence is unbearable and maybe you are someone that pretends to be busy on her phone when she’s not. Whatever it might be, mother or not, this happens to the best of us. You have already told yourself a lie before you’ve even left the house and that moment is what will set you up for failure. Before you leave, try telling yourself you are going to make new friends, people are interested in what you have to say, you look beautiful and you are going to have the very best time.
Mama, take a deep breath. You are amazing, you deserve to have those adult conversations and you most definitely deserve to get out of the house. Make the very best of it and stop telling yourself you aren’t worthy to be there.
About our guest blogger:
Hey, my name is Keri Baird. I live in Calgary with my husband, Mark, and our two babes, Kingston & Bryxton. I am passionate about empowering mothers to find their true power through mindset and wellness, which has led me to create my blog. I hope to inspire mothers to get out of the mom rut, find their confidence, and to build a community of women who lift each other up. Thank you for being here. I hope I have inspired you in some way and would love to get to know you on social media. XOXO, Keri.
Find Keri at www.keribaird.com or on instagram at @keribaird.