I recently met a friend who is a mother to two. Everyone is kind of jealous of her - she has a warm and supportive husband, a pair of in-laws who are understanding and giving out hands whenever, a stable family economy that she doesn’t need to worry about earning income or housing loans. Needless to mention her two kids, who are cute like angels. Who would be asking more from life?
Only I know, that she is quite unhappy. In fact, she has been suffering from postpartum depression since she gave her second birth.
“There were several times that I just want to jump out of the window.” she said, “I felt useless. My world is grey. There’s nothing for me to expect for tomorrow.”
Oh, if you have not heard about postpartum depression, or PPD. It’s a type of mood disorder encountered by more than 1 in every 10 women after childbirth. Symptoms may include sudden sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
It might get even worse for stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) like my friend, who is easily isolated from the outside world, distanced from human interactions and driven to less self-confidence. If you don’t believe it, read Jennifer Pinarski who confessed about riding the roller coaster of raising kids alone.
I have been a SAHM for a short 3-month. The memory will stay for my life. Whenever I wake up in the morning, I can foresee each moment to the nearest hour: washing milk bottles, sterilising, feeding, milk pumping, feeding, milk pumping, hanging clothes, folding clothes, heating food and having lunch (thanks to my husband, I usually have precooked meals)...the same things will more or less repeat for the other half of the day. The same things actually repeat every day.
Even until now, as my baby grows older and I am more experienced, I still feel the desperation of parenting boredom. Maybe I am just the kind of person who needs more freshness. Who isn’t?
I guess I cannot be cured by people telling me “it’s ok”. It’s simply not enough. I need to do something for myself to get new blood for life. Arts is my answer.
One doesn’t need to be gifted or professional painter to benefit from arts. We are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and that leads to creation. Activities such as painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography can lower stress levels and provide mental clear and calm. For mamas like me who easily get obsessed with our own thoughts, creating art provides a distraction and gives our brains a break.
I learnt from JK Rowling who created Harry Potter on her lonely train trip.
I learnt from Liz Climo who created Rory the Dinosaur who jumped out of her full-time revisionist job for The Simpsons and began publishing something she truly loves.
I learnt from Laurie Simmons who created her impressive black-and-white series as a mama photographer.
We can make a difference in our lives, with just a little courage to step out, bond with like-minded mamas, learn from each other and create something that can be a forever memory. Who knows, you can be a mother and a successful artist at the same time?
So mamas, your life doesn’t need to be boring!
Join our Mama on Palette community and take your first step towards artsy. You won’t regret for painting more colors to your life.
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