i don’t have a question, just need to get feelings out

I’m a teen mom, obviously no mom is happy with their daughter being a teen mom, my mom supported me financially but not emotionally, which is hard because my mom used to be my best friend, I feel like I’m in a box, full of negativity and there’s this hole in it with my boyfriend and my baby waiting for me to grab their hand but I can’t, everyone just brings me down and now I’m trapped at home unhappy and I feel alone. My boyfriend is in the military so he’ll be gone for a while, I have no where to go, I'm just stuck, you don’t have to answer just nice to say something out loud.
Asked by KC

Hi, and thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry you're going through a really challenging time right now. Being a Mom is hard enough on its own...Being a teen is hard enough on its own! When the two are combined, there are definitely challenges to work through. Add to that the everyday difficulties of life and of being human, and it can *feel* all-consuming sometimes.

...But you can do it. It just takes time, persistence, and patience. :-)

The first step is reminding yourself that life will not *always* be like this. You and your baby are still very much growing and changing, and the way your life looks right now isn't what it will be like 5 years from now. Sometimes when life isn't going as planned, we feel suffocated and/or like it will never change...but if we keep our perspective and keep moving forward in *some* way -- no matter how small -- we'll eventually see the results of our efforts.

The second step is to figure out what you want in life. Yes, whatever your goals are, they may be a little more challenging (okay, maybe a *lot* more challenging) because you're a Mom and your boyfriend is away in the military right now, but having a sense of direction (*some* sense of direction) will help a little bit to relieve your feelings of being trapped. Having something to work toward that's important to you and your new little family can give you that sense of purpose and orientation toward the future that will help you endure the circumstances of your current situation that are leading you to feel stuck.

Another important piece would be to seek out sources of emotional support. I'm sorry to learn that your Mom is no longer a source of emotional support for you; I hope that will change in time and that the two of you will reunite. In the meantime, it's super important that you not feel alone during this particular phase of your life and your child's development. If you can join a Mom's support group (I'd provide links to resources, but I don't know where you're located, so a quick internet search should bring up some specific, local resources for you), a play group for kids that allows the moms to interact, or even a therapist that works with new and/or teen moms (whether here on BetterHelp or in-person at perhaps a local non-profit clinic). Often times, there are income limits that allow someone in your situation to even receive free counseling. The important thing is to stay connected (so as to reduce feelings of isolation) and keep your eye on the future (so you don't feel as trapped).

In keeping with the knowledge that it won't always be this way, you might find it helpful to journal your feelings and what you're going through right now. You've been through a completely life-changing event over the past two years (and counting), and there's a lot to be learned from (and about) yourself as a result of having gone through this experience. It *will* make you stronger, and there's a pretty good chance your future self (and perhaps even your baby, years from now) will benefit from you having worked through these challenges in the form of journaling. Professionally-speaking, I've never had a client say they regretted working out their thoughts through journaling; they've always found a benefit to it. And it doesn't even matter so much *what* you write as it does the fact that you're spending time with yourself and allowing those thoughts in your head some breathing room by getting in touch with them consciously and getting them off your mind.

Getting out of the house on a regular basis by going for walks (both by yourself and with baby) are great ways to shift your perspective and keep your eye on the future. The act of movement also keeps us from feeling stuck, keeps our mind and body functioning well, and from getting too emotionally low (there are actually "sciency" reasons behind that, which I won't get into here). It also helps with regulating our sleep/wake patterns (which may already be wonky, due to baby learning how to sleep independently, etc.). Focus on being present while you're out on walks with baby, and perhaps allow yourself the chance to dream about the future you'd like for yourself when you're out on walks alone. Both are important, and dreaming is the very first step towards a life that's different from the one you're experiencing now.

If you catch yourself in a negative thought spiral (like thinking something's too hard, or you can't do it, or focusing excessively on perceived obstacles), tell yourself to "stop" and shift your attention to something happening in the moment that involves your five senses. Look for the evidence of your negative thoughts, and when you don't find it, develop a more reality-based, reasonable alternative thought. If you're having a really hard time doing this (as many people do), consider working with a therapist to teach you how to reframe your negative and/or self-defeating thoughts. In the long run, it will help both you and your baby -- trust me.

Drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. I know you've probably heard this a million times, but it truly does make a difference to your emotional health (believe it or not) if you're fueling your body with nutrients instead of empty calories. You truly are what you eat....

And last (but definitnely not least), spend some time thinking about your own personal values -- not your Mom's values, not your family-of-origin's values, and certainly not society's values. Your own values -- what *you* believe is most important to *you* in life. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of people do you want in you and your child's life? What kind of Mom do you want to be? What values do you want to raise your child with? What's important to you in this world? What do you absolutely, positively need in your life in order to feel fulfilled? What brings you a sense of meaning and purpose? ...And then look at your life to see in what areas are you already living your values, and in what areas you might be able to make some adjustments in order to more closely align with your values. When you *know* what's important to you in this life and are actively living those important things, it can guide all of your decisions and even though it may not necessarily make those decisions "easy" all of the time, it pretty much ensures you'll be living a life without regrets that's fulfilling both in the present *and* the future.

Best wishes to you and your little family!

(M.A., LMFT)