Expecting our Little Brother in November!

pregnancy calendar

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Postpartum Depression (For Me)

So here's a run-down. I feel like this is all so obvious but maybe not.

Post-partum depression . . . an interesting animal. It sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Later than you think, usually.

I didn't get the baby blues, I had an awesome immediate post-partum experience. My hubby was home for a whole month, my baby was easy, my birth was great, breastfeeding . . . . honestly was painful for a long time but since everything else was so good it was not an issue to get through that first painful month (which in retrospect was a combination of oversupply, minor tongue tie, and lip tie, all unidentified until much later).

And yet I didn't love my baby. I mean I did in one way. Of course I loved him very much. But my heart was like a vice. I admired his cuteness, felt peaceful and loving when breastfeeding . . . but when I looked at him my heart did not move. Do you know when you look at someone you love, esp after a long time? Your heart swoops out before you to meet them, and then holding them, or seeing them, or being with them, is like reembracing your own heart again . . . ? Your heart moves when you love people--swoops, plunges, chokes you sometimes . . .

My heart just did not move for him and intellectually I know I loved him and I felt it on some level but . . . my heart was a vice. I protected myself seriously and, to some extent, consciously, against connecting with him until he was over the worst time period for SIDS . . . I was afraid, after taking 3 years to conceive him, having multiple miscarriages . . . I just didn't want to love him too much until I was sure this was really it for us . . . Really, now in retrospect, without emotion but with logic, SIDS is SO rare and usually affected by so many risk factors that we don't have . . . but that was my fear at the time and I owned it shamelessly.

So this started to lift around 5 months . . . and still I was okay, honestly, just, hard in my heart, but softening.

But then teething started at 6 months. Crawling started at 7.5 months. And it was almost like I went from being afraid I would lose him to suddenly losing myself. Losing my life.

I like writing. (Blogs, Message Boards, Facebook, etc). It helps me. But I couldn't do it with him crawling. I had to watch him at every second. I had to spend every moment trying to transform my world into a baby-safe place, so that I COULD have more than a second alone or to eat, or to shower, or . . .

And writing isn't the only thing I like to do--but suddenly it's like the hard-won independence of adulthood--which I had so longed for and wished for as a child--the ability to control my own life--which I ran at, like a horse out of the gate, as a teenager . . . this independence was suddenly, once again, gone. No one explained to me that 18 until when you have kids is the only time that you are actually independent and making decisions for your own best interests (and when your kids are grown, I suppose).

I didn't realize I was in like this "special freedom zone" but now in retrospect, other parents did attempt to tell me with things like: "Wait until they are crawling" "It all changes after you have kids" "Enjoy your sleep now", etc. You just don't realize that all of these things will get into your PSYCHOLOGY. That you will feel GUILT about the resentment of your lost freedom, you will feel CONFLICTED about your child, to feel such strong love for one who simultaneously demands SO much ALL THE TIME. It's emotionally and psychologically extremely challenging. I don't know if it's not something you can explain to someone, or if people just haven't done it well enough . . .

Anyway, things started to go downhill for me around 7.5-8 months, though honestly my whole "detached-out-of-fear" thing probably didn't set me up really nicely there, either . . . and the very worst was from like 7.5-11.5 months--for him, and honestly so much of it was related to teething. He became such a different child when his first 7 were in and we had a long break there for awhile. For me the stress continued through a haze of 1st birthday party (Nov 19th), Thanksgiving and related travel (20th-26th), and Christmas, and cleaning up from Christmas.

But in spite of this, I had really started to enjoy this independent, communicative toddler, down to nursing 6ish times a day . . . I LOVED not having to constantly manage meds and homeopathic teething solutions . . . I LOVED having a predictable 2-nap day and a baby who was easy peasy to put to sleep! I LOVED IT.

And stupidly I thought it was all related to him getting older. NOPE. TURNS OUT IT WAS ALL RELATED TO A BREAK FROM F'ING TEETHING. Now his molars are coming in and I feel like I've been dropped right back into hell. I'm such a freaking "put the bad stuff out of my mind" sort of person that I forget within a week how awful it was with him teething. But now it's back and . . . I don't know, I'd just started feeling normal and like I was feeling better. Now the idea of having to deal with this teething/clingyness/constant nursing/refusing to eat/refusing to nap/needing to constantly medicate/etc sort of baby for possibly another YEAR??! It's honestly panic-inducing.

I think I might need to step up my pharmacology. Taking adderall every day DOES help me manage my life. But I think it's . . . missing the major issue at this point.

And like I have the F'ing energy to sort through like 15 crappy psychiatrists to find one who will actually listen to and respect me and the fact that my system is SUPER sensitive and I will want to try a VERY VERY low dose, and communicate in more detail about what my options are and what diagnos(es?) I fit, etc . . . like I really have the energy to do that.

James the Hubby is home with me today because . . . I needed a mental health sick day from being a Mommy.


laurengould said...

I think you should do whatever feels right for you at the time. Maybe you won't need to use pharmaceuticals in the future, but if it helps you NOW, that is a good thing.

There is a lot I want to say but I guess I can just tell you when I see you. For now, "I love you big sistie" will suffice!

Missy said...

I hope this period goes by quickly!

Marilyn said...

I know you've been having quite a difficult past 6/7 months A, and though I can't relate at all, I really feel for you. In a much different way, the past 6/7 months of my life have also been really difficult (w/ Ryan), and I've had to deal with change I didn't foresee or expect. It's sort of like there was a person I was "before" and now I am a new person that has to completely readjust to the world, how I relate to people and the world around me, amongst other things. I think having a kid is probably the most extreme case of this emotion.

I feel like taking your adderall, going to your therapist (and chiropractor) regularly would probably help a lot. And if you think medication is necessary, than like Laur said - you should do what you need to at this point in time.

But it's also important to never underestimate the most simple of solutions - healthy diet and regular eating, staying hydrated, EXERCISE, being outside and getting out of the house (when possible which is obviously harder with a moody teething baby).

You know we're always here for you A, I love you.

EricaG said...

My heart goes out to you, Adrienne. While I haven't had the same experience, I know how the pressures of being a mommy can really take a toll sometimes. I think people don't really tell you or prepare you for these changes because they are so different for everyone. What you are feeling isn't universal, nor is it totally unique. It's somewhere in the middle. Just know that you aren't alone.((hugs))

EricaG said...

I just read this and thought of you:


Maybe it will help.

Heather said...

Hi! Please email me, I have a question for you! :)

HeatherVonsj (at) gmail (dot) com

justadrienne said...

Whoever the person was who liked this must really get me. Haha

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...