Losing myself during maternity leave

In a recent article entitled “SAHM gets depressed,” on Scary Mommy, the author discusses her struggles with quitting her successful career to stay at home with her babies.  She says of the experience, “[i]t’s a mix between losing oneself and being in this grey mushy place.”

Oh man this resonated with me so much.  Although I loved staying home with Emerson, and I miss her oh so much when I go to work, I realized quickly upon returning to work that things were different.  I was different.  I felt real, alive, and less covered in milk, which in turn made me feel better all around.

I can’t say that I was depressed staying home with Em, but it wasn’t easy. I certainly didn’t feel good.  I frequently felt like my days were a constant state of feedings and attempting to eat enough to keep up with the feedings.  At one point it had been so long I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered. I enjoyed every minute of loving on her, but I eventually found myself craving interactions with adults. As an introvert, it was such a weird feeling!
My best move during maternity leave was finding a mom’s group offered at our local lactation center called Milkworks. Each week I spent a few hours prepping for that hour-long meeting with other moms: I woke up early, showered, got dressed, and got Emerson all ready to go. The meetings were casual, where moms could ask questions or discuss issues that had come up, mainly with nursing.  Most weeks I didn’t have issues to talk about, but occasionally I shared or asked questions. I met amazing moms, almost all who were stay at home moms. I learned new things, and found lots of encouragement. But mostly it helped keep me sane because it kept me engaged. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed as many days of my maternity leave as I did if I had not found that group.
Glennon of momastry always talks about sistering, and in my case, it was so true.  I needed some extra strength by my side to get through a time I was barely strong enough for, and I found that in a weekly mom’s group.
Now that I’m back at work, I do occasionally find myself missing the sisterhood of the mom’s group. But I also feel like I’m back to my old self, so I don’t need another beam to hold me so tightly.  I’m standing straighter, and I shower (nearly) every day.  It’s still a learning process.  Every day, at some point, I feel like I don’t know what I am doing.  But I am getting there.  And I am here because of the support of others who have been through the same experiences.
Have you been through a time where you needed sistering?  When have you been a sister?
If you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, did you experience depression or other struggles with it? How do you cope?
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