Want to know what drug use and parenthood have in common? I thought you might.
If you were around in the 80s, you may remember the anti-narcotics commercial from the PDFA (Partnership for a Drug Free America) that was famous for coining the term, “This is Your Brain on Drugs”. The popular advertisement showed an egg in a frying pan, drawing the parallel that the effect of drug use on the brain was like an egg on a hot pan – fried.
But drugs aren’t the only thing that leave the brain feeling sizzled. Raising kids has strangely similar characteristics and disturbing side effects.
For me, motherhood was like a shot of adrenaline in the beginning. One hit off of that mommy bong and I was hooked and soaring high. Nothing compared to the rush of loving my little doobie of joy. He provided the grandest escape of all.
However, somewhere in the love bliss I could sense anxiety on the horizon. When I was away from my son I would experience heavy withdrawals. I thought about him day and night, at work, at the gym and in the car. I would stare at his pictures and plan the next time I could hold him again and get my fix. Each time I was with him it only got worse. I always wanted more – deep down I knew I was becoming addicted.
Soon the darkness crept in. I would stay up all night on breast feeding benders only to be strung out the next day, hallucinating from sleep deprivation. My relationships started to suffer – friends stopped calling and I no longer got invitations to parties or gatherings – I felt so alone.
My work began to suffer. I was rarely on time, I had trouble focusing and I could barely string two sentences together. I felt like my brain was sheathed in a veil of fog. My body took a major toll – I ate leftover kid meals and barely slept. I emptied my bank account on baby paraphernalia – breast pumps and swivel seats and all kinds of shit I had no use for. Most mornings I would wake and the days preceding seemed like a blur. I’m not sure I could tell you what day it was most of the time.
What started out as “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” quickly turned to “Hotel California” where you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
But don’t’ worry. I’ve made a full recovery thanks to the help of family and friends who have since shown me the way. I now realize that what used to get me high now gets me low – I no longer look to motherhood to help me escape from life. Like most people, I now look to the hard stuff to get me through. Wine anyone?
Here are a few things that happened this week that really helped reinforce my new coping habits 😉
This is your brain. This is your brain on motherhood.
Image 1: I’m definitely not excited about posting a pic of my toes on the internet but this is not just a shot of my little piggies. This is what it looks like when your son steps on your new manicure within two minutes of you walking through the door.
Image 2: Not only did Weston make me wrap a Halloween wreath around my head but then he insisted I wear daddy’s helmet and scooter with him. If you weren’t concerned about my mental health before, you should be now. The things we do to earn that vino at night 😉
This is a public service announcement brought to you by Confessions of a Not so New Mom.
Saving one parent at a time.