Postpartum Depression

Recently you may have read about celebrities that have gone into treatment for Postpartum Depression. I think this is pretty great to hear; they are making light of it,not that they have it. I also think its great that many women are coming to terms with it. So many women struggle with PP more than they ever realize or would ever admit. Just talking about it and making those struggling with it can open up so many lines of communication.

No mom wants to feel like they don't have it all together. Its supposed to be our natural instinct to mother. Who would ever want to admit they aren't feeling like they are living up to par? Its tough.

Most people think that PP is defined as depression to the point that you don't take care of yourself, your baby or that you want to harm your children. Those things do happen daily, yes, but they don't have to be to such a degree that people are harmed for it to be something someone struggles with daily.

When I was in the hospital, right after having LB, my doctor told me to get lots of rest and take some time for myself. I chuckled and laughed it off but then she became really stern when she said, Postpartum depression is VERY real.

Eek. OK lady. Point taken.

But not really.

Looking back, I am sure I had it with LB. I know I had it with Ash - likely around the 9-10 month mark. Low and behold, I know for certain that I now have it with Willy at the 9-10 month mark. Even after taking an extra step to prevent it, I have it. Granted, I have something to help me with it and know that I am not a psycho mom when I have a 'flare up' but I certainly feel it more than I ever did with the other two.

I also believe I have a form of Postpartum anxiety in addition to the depression part. Some would say that its just having 3 kids so close.... but I know me. I have struggled with anxiety all my life. It hasn't been until recently that I can actually recognize it and know what that actually means for me.

So when I reminisce to when LB came, it seems like PP would be such a natural reaction to my situation at the time. I had to learn about what Ds meant for me/us, I had a baby with a heart defect and now I couldn't take her home when I was released. But I refused to allow the sadness to set in. I was far too stubborn for that. I was going to be different. Phew.. yeah right lady. Who was I kidding?!

So many moms I have met or know from the Ds community tell me that they had a severe case of PP due to an after birth diagnosis. I can see that side of it too. In hind sight, I am very glad we had the pre-natal diagnosis even though I never wanted it at the time for many reasons I will be talking about in tomorrows post.

When she was born though, the diagnosis wasn't a problem for me. The stint in the NICU, however, was. That situation scared me more than I care to ever experience again. The uncertainty, the unknown. I remember barely sleeping  because I didn't want her to open her eyes without me there. I never wanted her to be alone or to not feel loved. My mom finally convinced me that she would be there for her so that I would get some rest. I was scared. Even when I slept, I didn't sleep.

Exhaustion and fear alone was enough to spiral me into an oblivion. But to my amazement, I didn't feel like I was doing so bad at the time. I felt like there was too much to learn. Too much to be sure of and take care of when it came to LB. So I focused on the things I could control like cleaning and making sure my baby was loved. Amongst other things like making sure I contacted all of the therapy places I needed to so that she could get early intervention services, or interviewing nanny's so I could go back to work. Heck, even dressing her became a hobby of mine. Complete distraction. Before I knew it, 3.5 months later, I was back to work and barely had time to think, much less be depressed.

Sadly, I don't feel like I remember a lot of her as a tiny baby. I think I was in a postpartum fog. A delirious state of consciousness that functioned on completing the next task. Just going through the motions of motherhood but not really feeling them. That breaks my heart to admit, but I have to be honest with  myself. I am sure I felt more at the time than I can actually remember. My hubs tells me that I never put her down. I don't remember that at all.

Now when I think about when I was working, commuting and coming home to my little baby, I always felt like something was off. I blamed it on my 2 hours door to door commute, or the anxiety was because it would take me so long to get to her, but it was really PP. I didn't know how to handle working and being a mom. I didn't fit in at my job anymore because there were so few mothers there. I didn't feel like I could perform to my best ability because part of me was always at home with my baby and the other part of me was counting down the hours so that I could be home before she went to bed. It was such a struggle.

But then when Ash came and I started to stay home, a whole new set of dynamics came into play. Now I had no commute, no daily camaraderie and really no one to talk to but 2 little babies that didn't know how to speak. Oh and they depended on me for absolutely everything.

Now the dynamics have changed again. I have it even more.

I don't have the answers, that's for sure. I don't even have a solution. I felt obligated to talk about it and share my story. Just to let one person know, they aren't alone. It's OK to feel what you are feeling. Just recognizing that you feel these things is half the battle. But don't ask me where to go from here because I pretty sure my compass is broken.

Until next time...


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