Introvert Myths: Christmas Callout

I realized I haven’t directly talked about introversion in awhile. And I know some of you are like mehh who cares… I’m extroverted AF. Well, so is my husband and most of my close friends too. 

But I bet more people than you are aware of identify with my side of the fence. And they may not even know it either! Because just like any other group in society, introverts face judgy stereotypes. And, OK some of them are true. 🤷‍♀️One being that the holidays are sometimes stressful for us because of all the planning, expectations and social commitments.

So I’m calling out the stereotypes! I blogged three false blanket statements I hear all the time and what we want you to know about us instead: 

Introverts are shy.

Yeah, no that’s not what it means. While some might be shy, other introverts are actually prolific leaders. Introversion is about how we process information (internally). Everything carries specific meaning to us, and it takes time to understand life’s events and then put them through our brain’s filing system.

This just clicked for my husband one day about a year and a half into marriage. He looked over and realized I wasn’t listening to him because I was thinking too loud.

He said, “You’re thinking aren’t you!?” My response? Of course I was! I literally cannot shut my brain off, so I need alone time to think. But I’m not at all “reserved” or “timid,” which is how we would describe a shy person. 

Introverts don’t like people.

While I’ve heard some introverts directly admit that they do not In fact “like people,” this is definitely not the case for all of us or even the majority. Remember those non-stop thoughts? Yeah, I kinda need to recharge from that.

Think about it. When I hang out with you, I will ask for your thoughts on life, considering I am incapable of small talk.

I will then start thinking about your thoughts on life, my thoughts on your thoughts and then just my regular thoughts that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Exhausting isn’t it?? Enter alone time and misunderstanding or judgement from the other side. 

Introverts have no people skills.

The opposite is usually true, it just may manifest in different ways. I consider myself good one-on-one and OK to reserved in a group setting. This is because I crave the kind of deep connection that my complicated brain can create meaning from. 

See, when someone is going through something I actually feel it. I am so sensitive to human emotion that I will start to carry your struggles as my own.

So when I need to be alone, it’s not about being socially awkward (although sometimes I am 🤣) or being away from people I “don’t like.” It’s about being at peace with myself so that I can go back out into the world and rejoin its people as my best self. I’ll feel like a cluttered version of myself unless I get that time. 

Not as bad as you thought? Good. Because once we love you, you’re stuck with us for life! But give us some understanding. And that includes introverts giving ourselves grace! Especially around the holidays, OK?

stephanie@theintrovertedmom.com

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: My Story

I wanted so badly to be the mom that came home from the hospital ready to do this thing. I expected to get back into shape right away and feel like myself again. Have tons of energy to take my baby on walks. I thought I would like looking at myself in photos with my newborn.

But the first few months postpartum felt like an out-of-body experience. I didn’t know myself anymore.

I now know that I was experiencing postpartum anxiety, a variation of a condition that affects about 15% of all women. And that’s only counting the women who report it!

When people inevitably said things like, “enjoy these moments, they’ll be grown before you know it!’ I didn’t just brush it off. I cried. I also cried over any commercial with a baby in it or those stupid car commercials where the teen is going off to college. And it wasn’t a happy cry. I was truly overwhelmed, anxious and lost in general.

But this is the happiest time of my life, right? I was supposed to be fit and made up as I clean the house and care for baby with no sleep. I was supposed to have photos taken of baby and I looking flawless for each new month and holiday. I was supposed to invite friends and family over and be OK with bringing baby anywhere.

But people (mom included) are often so busy thinking of all the things a mom is “supposed” to be doing that they forget to check in with her about reality.

Postpartum conditions can manifest in different ways, so many women don’t even know they have them. Chrissy Teigen recently wrote a piece for Glamour detailing her experience. In the essay, she describes the physical pain in her wrists that she now knows was postpartum depression. She made sure to point out that even with access to the best doctors, she still struggled to discover what was going on and recover from it.

For me, it was anxiety with symptoms that ended up looking a lot like depression. But it was more the worry that was really hindering me. Constant worry.

I didn’t want to leave my baby with anyone. Therefore, I didn’t get out much. When I did leave I had BAD anxiety that she would need me and I wouldn’t be there.

I also worried about my physical appearance. Before pregnancy, I was rarely self-conscious about the way my body I looked. But even my face was different now. My hair began falling out on both sides of my forehead. I have dark eye circles genetically, but these were darker. My tummy certainly didn’t just “go right back down” like people insisted it would. And my hips? Yeah, those will never be the same.

Not only was I lost emotionally, but my physical state felt foreign, too. Not feeling like myself made all of my relationships harder. I tried to be as upfront as possible with loved ones, but I wasn’t in the right state of mind to properly communicate how much I was hurting inside. And I also couldn’t see any clear steps to feeling better (something highly out of character for me).

My daughter turns 10 months old today and I’ve come a long way. I use a daily planner that doubles as a short form journal so I can remember special moments with her. I started eating better and drinking more water. I began communicating to my husband when I need a break. I held my daughter in front of the mirror and looked into her eyes trying to visualize myself as she sees me. I prayed for peace and direction.

Being a mom has taught me so many things about myself. Perhaps the most important is that we must stop expecting instant perfection. Or perfection at all for that matter.

Today, I am not myself again. I am a stronger, less perfect version.

~Stephanie