On postpartum

This is my ninth week as a stay-at-home mom. I’m planning on going back to work sometime soon, though I’m not exactly sure when or to what extent.

Ugh, two sentences into a post and I’m already off topic. This isn’t about going back to work. This is about postpartum.

The truth about postpartum is that it’s real, and it’s ugly and it’s hard. I spend most weekdays just trying to survive until my husband gets home from work. A logical, sane person would prefer their 8-week-old child be awake for at least parts of the day – you know, so that said child is more likely to sleep at least part of the night – but most days I beg him to “sleep, pleeeeease sleep” because, more often than not, that’s all I feel I can handle on my own.

So many days I feel like I’m drowning. Each day, hour, minute feels like an eternity and sometimes I just don’t know how I’ll possibly make it to the next day, hour, minute. And then E will smile and, for a moment, I forget.

I love my son. With more of my heart than I ever thought it was possible to love another human being. The love I have for this little man is absolutely impossible to describe, and it’s something only other moms can understand.

I always feel like I have to say that before I admit to how hard All Of This is on me. The negativity surrounding postpartum makes me feel like if I admit that shit is tough, it means I don’t love my son.

I’m here to say that the two are unrelated. I’m here to say that a mom can simultaneously be head over heels in love with her child and want to jump off a bridge from the stress of being a mother. I’m here to say that postpartum is nothing to be ashamed of, despite how little it’s talked about.

I’m here to bring light to postpartum, to bring it front and center instead of having it be something that has to be sought out.

It’s taken me some time to come to terms with the idea that I may be suffering from postpartum depression. I was in denial, then afraid to consider it, then ashamed to admit it, then pissed off that I was afraid and ashamed of it.

Sure, it’s hard to admit the difficulties that come with being a mom. After all, I made this choice. I put myself in this position. (Well, I did have some help, nudge nudge wink wink.) This is my baby. How could I possibly have any bad thoughts?

Before E was born, I would glance at that (SMALL) sections in pregnancy literature about postpartum and think, “What bullshit. These women. Really? THAT’S YOUR BABY, JUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR BABY.”

I’m here to tell you that me thinking postpartum = bullshit? WAS BULLSHIT.

So while it’s hard to admit that being a mom is difficult, and that more than I’d like to admit I’ve thought about hurting myself, hurting my husband, and hurting my baby… it’s also not my fault. And this isn’t a way to get out of taking responsibility if I do hurt myself, my husband or my baby (because, thankfully, it hasn’t come to that). Because postpartum is real, and it sucks.

I took the first step last week at my check-up, admitting to my doctor that I’m having a rough time.

“I have good days and I have bad days. I have good moments and I have bad moments. On my good days, during my good moments, I feel like I have a handle on things. But on my bad days, during my bad moments, I feel like I’m in a hole, by myself, and I can’t get out. You know?” I told her as tears welled up in my eyes. And that day was one of my good days.

So, she asked me a series of questions. Basic, generic questions about my mental state that I ranked on a scale of 1-4, from “never” to “always.” She told me that a score of six or higher was generally considered a cause for concern of postpartum depression. I scored 12.

So now I’ll be attempting some therapy, hopefully. It’s unclear to me at this point if my insurance even covers the therapy I’d be receiving, so I’m not sure I’ll be keeping the appointment I have for later this week. Therapy is expensive, and I have other free options that would put a lot less stress on me.

Next step: acceptance.

Photo: We Heart It

7 Comments

  1. Katherine Monday, January 23, 2012 5:48 pm

    I have tears right now. Tears of pride, tears of worry and tears of love.

    So so SO proud of you for talking about this.
    Love you and wish I could hop on a plane to come help you.
    The worry, isn’t really valid. I know you’re going to come through this ok. The fact that you’re talking about it is proof that you’re going to take the actions necessary to be good!

    Love you!

  2. Stacey Monday, January 23, 2012 7:14 pm

    While I’ve never been there, I do honestly feel for you. I think it’s incredibly brave of any mother to share her experience on this. This is what helps others to feel less alone. I’m thinking about you, and I hope you find some guidance and support in whichever way works for your family. XO

  3. Lacey Bean Monday, January 23, 2012 8:07 pm

    Thank you for posting about this and being so honest. I’m terrified of postpartum after I have the baby, and the bloggers like you who are open about it make me feel like if it does happen to me, it’ll be manageable and OK in the end.

    HUGS!! <3

  4. Gina Monday, January 23, 2012 9:42 pm

    I’m proud of you for recognizing your postpartum symptoms and getting help; in a lot of cases, that’s the hardest part. You are so brave.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, friend. <3

  5. terra Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:40 am

    I’m so proud that you’re speaking out about all this. I agree that it’s not something that’s talked about enough, just like many other sorts of depression. I’m proud of you for taking a stand, for telling your story and for being brave enough to post it and admit it. Hugs & cheers to you, lady!

  6. Vanessa Wednesday, February 1, 2012 11:20 pm

    Kace! I admire you sooo much for writing this. And your thoughts on talking/not talking about the issue have been mine exactly… there is so much guilt, fear, etc. involved even when we know that talking about it is one of the best ways to deal. I really care about about you and want the best for you and your beautiful little fam. Like the ladies have said, I know you’re going to make it out okay, because of the brave steps that you’re taking!

    I just want to say that I feel the same way (maybe not the EXACT same way) but I’ve been to the point of saying, “I don’t want to wake up in the morning. They don’t need me, and I’m a horrible person for not being able to handle my life, handle the consequences of my own decisions. I can’t do this… I just can’t.” It’s such a dark place to be and I’m still dealing with it on MOST days. (Though it didn’t truly hit until this summer, when X was around 1… when I faced having to go back to work… not being able to pay for babysitting… feeling guilty for being away from X… feeling guilty about not working enough and making enough money… etc. etc. etc.)

    J and I were actually talking about my recent depression and blogging is a little part of my “self-therapy” that I hope helps even a teeny tiny bit. I used to write poetry and journal entries like mad, and it all stopped mid-pregnancy. So here goes. The name of my site: OnEdgeToGood… describing the range of my mental state throughout the day!

    Hugs~ xoxo

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