Currently this reminder has been about body image. As I have been asked multiple times over the last month if I am pregnant again I have allowed these comments to make me self-conscious of the lack of tone I once had as well as the way some of my friends have bounced back to looking amazing and working out everyday. The other is my completely deflated chest now that breastfeeding is over. It is as if all breast tissue was converted to milk and got sucked right on out.
Most of us have done this at one time or another; it is easy to get caught up in seeing the best parts of everyone else and having blinders on to their struggles.
Last night I saw a show on Netflix called The Letdown. I thought it would be a good British humor kind of way to unwind. It is about a new mom and how she feels like she is doing a terrible job and everyone else in her parenting/ lactation group looks amazing. She is stuck in comparison, judging herself too harshly, and feeling the common new mom symptoms of overwhelmed and overtired.
I will admit that while there were funny parts of the show, it would have been a lot funnier at a different time in my life. As it were, it struck a number of chords. While I do mostly get to sleep through the night and I no longer nurse my now toddler all the feelings of despair she feels in the show were a not so distant past to me. I found my heart breaking for her as I relived my own feelings of being a terrible mom or feeling like I should somehow intuitively know how to get my kid to sleep better.
It took me a very long time to accept that it was just part of who my daughter was and that parenting isn't a black and white, good and bad, correct and incorrect kind of job. If Ireland is 40 shades of green, parenting is 400,000 shades of grey.
It was eye opening last night, how deeply those self-inflicted wounds still ran. How quickly I could identify with the woes of parenting even as we have moved in to phase of parenting I am more comfortable and more prepared for: Toddlerhood. I sat for a while with my journal last night as I toiled, wondering if the next baby combined with hormones and lack of sleep will bring the same feelings of depression and overwhelm or if I will have learned from the first round and be a bit more laid back. Only time will tell I suppose but I will be more conscious of checking in with myself and making sure I show the thief to the door.
I'm grateful for the conversation with a friend that made me realize how common it is to compare. I'm grateful to realize that the habit can be broken just by recognizing we are all unique and doing our best. I'm grateful for friends who are honest about their successes and challenges and offer an ear and support to mine as well. I'm grateful for the show last night that did a really great job of portraying what the first several months of my life felt like with no sleep. And I'm grateful to be able to recognize how humorous some of the situations in the show are now that I have a little distance from it. I'm grateful to feel all those feeling come up again so easily so that I could take the time to process them. And I'm grateful to get a little sleep last night.
What area of your life is comparison hiding? How do you catch and redirect comparative thinking?
May today remind us no two of us are the same. May we recognize everyone has their strengths and challenges and may we help build each other up. Have a beautiful day!