A Reddit user* has bravely opened up about a very taboo fear that it more common than you'd think...
My daughter is six. I am 31; my husband is 33. We have been married since I was 23 and he was 25.
From the outside looking in, we have the perfect family. We all love each other, my husband and I both have stable jobs that we like and we share housekeeping/childcare tasks reasonably equally (if anything, he does more cleaning and taking care of our daughter than I do). We have hobbies and pets, and our daughter is a well-behaved child. She loves going to school and is going into first grade next school year.
I feel like I can't keep this up much longer. I hate doing all the mum crap and being responsible for everything about her life. If I didn't have my husband around to do most of the "mother" stuff, I would have melted down by now.
It was a planned pregnancy.
I hated being pregnant, and I just wanted it to be over. I didn't think much about the fact that once the pregnancy was over, I was going to have to deal with a baby. When I did think about the baby, I was nervous but excited, I knew my husband would be a great father, and I was right.
I had some second thoughts about how I would be as a mother, but every other mum I talked to told me it would be different once the baby was born, that things would change and I would be happy as a clam, and everything would fall into place.
Things didn't change.
I read that after you give birth and hold your baby, you're supposed to get a rush of hormones and feel happy and loving and motherly. I just felt miserable. I wanted to die. I felt like I had made a huge mistake.
I went to therapy for post-partum depression and it didn't help. As time went on, I got into the routine and things improved when I went back to work.
It went great because he kept her emotionally and mentally stimulated while also providing structure and discipline and general care and I got to come home and spoil her. I even sometimes imagined myself as the "cool aunt" type character rather than a mum.
Now that he is working again and I have to spend more one-on-one time with her and have to administer discipline and take care of her when she's sick and tell her no, I just can't believe I ever thought this would be a good idea.
I love my daughter more than anything else in the world, but she needs so much from me. I wasn't ready for this; I had no idea how much of a drain it would be on me.
My husband can see that I hate it and it pushes distance between us.
We hardly ever have sex because our daughter has nightmares and we leave our door open at night in case she gets scared. I miss being able to take off on fun trips without having to worry about dragging her along or finding someone to take care of her while we're away.
Constantly worrying about her health, safety, and wellbeing makes me want to pull every last hair out of my head and collapse into a heap on the floor. There are too many things to consider, and I just want to have a good time.
I'm just not okay with giving as much of myself as a child demands. I know I'm lucky for having such a laid back kid and not one that constantly needs full attention.
My husband and I have talked a lot about it, and I appreciate him stepping up and taking on the bulk of the care. I feel so guilty because I know this isn't how he imagined it would be. I don't think he loves me as much as he did when we got married. Our expectations were so different from what is happening now.
I try my hardest to be the best mother that I can be for my daughter, but I feel like I will inevitably end up leaving her with emotional scars. I catch myself being cold to her and try to correct it and make sure she knows that I love her, but I know I can't fix the fact that I am way too immature to be parenting another human.
After asking advice from friends and family, I learnt I need to take care of myself so that I can take better care of my daughter. I talked to my husband about date nights, and he sounded thrilled at the prospect! He's always been a big romantic sap.
I think I'm going to try and go to therapy by myself for a little while and see if I can sort out my issues or hangups around parenting and maybe get into a better headspace about it.
I know that I'm the problem in this situation and it's up to me to fix it.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with isolation and/or depression contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Story was posted by Reddit user thrwymom and has been lightly edited for readability.