We’ve all heard the phrase the perfect storm, but have you ever heard of MidLife Baby Blues? Well, becoming a parent right around the time you are passing through mid-life can be the makings of such a storm. The fact that your decades of independence has come to a crashing halt because it’s time to “adult up” and be responsible for another human being can be jarring. This realization can help bring about the MidLife Baby Blues.
Some may even say that the new role of parenthood at this point in life may bring about a midlife crisis. The term midlife crisis was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965. It’s described as a period in midlife where there is a transition of identity and self-confidence. These are usually brought on by sudden changes to one’s lifestyle which may produce feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety. And I don’t know of a better culprit for changing your identity and self-confidence than that of becoming a new parent after 35.
MidLife Baby Blues can look like:
- Drastic changes in moods and habits with impulsive decision making
- Disconnect from old friends – Because now that you’re in a different stage of life you probably need to get to bed way earlier and you don’t have any extra cash anyhow
- Drastic shifts in sleeping habits- You don’t get any sleep…ever
- Chronic day dreaming – Remembering times when you could just roll out of bed, leave the house on a whim and not come back till tomorrow?
- Obsession with appearances – Your peers look like they’ve gotten a good nights rest and are all “put together” and your kid’s friend’s parents have that youthful glow of energy. You on the other hand…
- Feelings of being trapped, tied down/no chance for change – For the next 21 years anyhow
- Financial concerns – Every penny is earmarked before payday. You are no longer a SINK(single income no kids) or a DINK(double income no kids)
- Constant thoughts of death or dying – I’ll be 67 when she graduates college and may never see my grandkids.
- Change in priorities – My underwear is still holding on by a thread so I’ll go ahead and get this cute outfit for my kid!
7 Ways to Deal with the MidLife Baby Blues
- Acknowledge the Problem – You cannot move past what you do not admit.
- Practice Self Care – “Me Time” is essential in today’s busy lifestyle. Book a regular weekly or monthly massage appointment. Start a Yoga or Tai Chi routine. Used to be a bookworm? Reread a favorite book, subscribe to an encouraging, relatable parenting blog or listen to podcasts that follow your favorite interests. Create a quiet space/time for meditation or journaling. Schedule dates with you and your partner or coffee with friends. Having events to look forward to are great for the soul.
- Create New Goals – Step outside of your comfort zone by creating new goals. Start small by making a list of everything you want to accomplish in the next 6 months, then stretch it out to a year. Talk to your partner or a friend about the new personal and family goals and how they can be achieved.
- Create a Family Routine – Yes I know that routines are easily disrupted by kids. But you can create a good workable family plan. Kids inherently crave routine, it makes them feel safe and secure when they know what to expect. I’m not saying they will always and willingly follow it. But, it will also make you feel more confident than parenting and living on the fly. Sometimes items will have to be changed or amended, but getting back on track after a detour is easier with a routine in place. Here are some tips on creating routines for families from raisingchildren.net.au.
- Create a Sustainable Nutritious Diet/Exercise Practice – It’s no secret that good nutrition and exercise will make you feel better in the long run. “Exercise can help people maintain their health and a level of fitness necessary for an active, independent life. Physical decline is not necessarily an inevitable consequence of reaching midlife. Much of the physical frailty attributed to aging is actually the result of inactivity, disease, or poor nutrition, and many difficulties can be eased or even reversed with improved lifestyle behaviors,” says an article in Psychology Today
- Talk It Over with Your Partner – Don’t tackle this on your own. Feeling like you’re part of a team makes a bad situation easier to overcome. Tell your partner how you’re feeling. Chances are they are going through the same thing in their own mind. Remember, parenting is easier when you and your partner are on the same sides.
- Seek Professional Help – Like going to the Primary Care Physician when your body is broken, you should seek out a Mental Health Professional when your mind needs healing. Talk to a professional about drastic changes in your sleep, appetite, work performance, loss of interest in hobbies and pronounced changes in moods. Your family needs you whole and present. You can not fill their cups of need from your empty well.
There’s Always a Silver Lining
A prolonged period of The Blues can lead to depression. Your feelings of regret, unhappiness and “down in the dumps” can lead to disruption at work and in your home life. This will eventually cause problems with your relationships and worst of all your child(ren).
I’ve been there. I completely understand. Carrying a diagnosis of MS while hitting midlife, and changing jobs, dealing with infertility, going thru the adoption hoops, then finally becoming a mother was a recipe for the Perfect Storm. But, it doesn’t have to sweep you away. You can come out on the other side with blue skies and rainbows.
Stop resisting it, embrace it and relabel it the Midlife Transition. Handle it better by getting out in front of it and not just reacting to it. You can’t control other people and every situation, but you can control how you react to them. And remember that life is a privilege, not all get to midlife. Parenthood is a blessing. Not all are so lucky. So, take it one day at a time and practice gratitude.
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Have you or a friend experienced the MidLife Baby Blues? What strategies helped you? Leave your comments or suggestions down below. And as always follow the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.