Competition is a good thing; I understood this concept at six years old when I got sent to sit at the wrong side of the classroom. My teacher told my parents that a little humiliation was good to get ahead in her classroom. Her formula was simple. She would divide the classroom into two parts: the “smart children” in one side and the “not so smart” in the other. To top it off, there was the bulletin board where the “smart” students would have their picture posted for everyone to admire.
I spent the first months of first grade sitting in the wrong side of the classroom until one day, I understood what I had to do. My goal became to switch to the “smart” children group by working on assignments faster than the other children, and it worked. Accomplishing this gave me a feeling of control that gave me much pleasure. I aspired to become a strong competitor in everything I did from that day on.
But as I was growing up, aiming to perfection soon turned into an obsession. I learned to control my life in almost everything around me. This brought me plenty of sweet accomplishments, but also deep disappointments when I failed.
Everything in my life was according to plan. In high school, I didn’t allow any social distractions to interrupt my goal to graduate on time, and I did it. In college, I committed to pay for it myself, and I did it as well. I didn’t wanted debt after graduating, so I worked part time and studied part time. Everything was going as planned. In my junior year, I began dating, as planned, and moved in with my boyfriend with the plan to married after I graduated college.
Again, everything in my life was according to plan. Until one day, in my last semester of college, I got pregnant – despite birth control. Of course, being a control freak, I had to fix it. We moved the wedding date and got married before my son was born. Little did I know that my lifestyle of control and planning was coming to an end.
Then, days after my son was born, I realized that parenthood left no room for perfection and control. This thought terrified me.
A few months later, and with not much support with my baby, I began feeling helpless. I began feeling depressed and anxious. I realized that my life had changed forever and was never going to be the same. The control I had over my life was now being driven by my son.
After eleven years, I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.
Desperate to gain control over my life, I went back to school and finished the last semester I needed to graduate. Soon, I graduated and became the first one in my family with a college education. This accomplishment gave me some relief.
Unfortunately, after graduation, my life revolved around my son again. The feeling of helpless that I suppressed while I was in school came back. Sleep deprivation and crying became part of my every night routine. I felt that my baby was taking over my life. Feelings of resentment, guilt, and anger invaded me every day and night.
But besides all, I was committed to be the best mother. I decided to commit to solely breastfeed my child, but even this became difficult. I developed milk clots and mastitis. These issues made me a very unpleasant person, but I was committed to breastfeeding. It gave me the control, and it felt good.
I felt like a bad mother, because I had no happy feelings for my baby. One day, a breastfeeding consultant suggested I had postpartum depression after I began crying uncontrollably while she tried to help me with my breastfeeding troubles.
It took me a little bit to accept that asking for help is okay. But I’m glad I did. WellMama, along with cognitive behavioral therapy and parenting classes, gave me the tools to cope with my new life. Now I recognize that my life is never going to be like it was before my baby, but I know that I can make it and be happy.
Blog Author: Briselda Molina. Briselda Molina is married and first-time mama of a beautiful baby boy. She was born in Acapulco, Mexico, but has lived in Oregon since she was fifteen. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She has freelanced for multiple local print media. Her future goal is to become an educator for the Hispanic community about the importance of a college education. Briselda’s biggest goal is to give her son a college education and raise him to become an honorable man.