Little Bits of Pixie Dust

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thourougly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dark Days

I hadn't talked about this yet, because I didn't know the words to express how I feel, but I was struck by the bravery of CP as she opened up about her problems. I have also poured over the archives over at Heather's, and found it such a comfort that at least someone else knew how I felt. And I want to be completely honest, no matter how painful, because I think a lot of women are scared to admit how they really feel.

I'm talking about post-partum depression. And it totally kicked my ass when I had the Peanut. I was scared of it, of course. I was already diagnosed with major depressive disorder, so I knew there was a good chance of getting it. But I think a little part of my mind didn't really believe it was as bad as all that. I may have even scoffed, I've been through worse times, I can make it. I didn't want to be another one of "those" women. After all, I was thrilled to be having a baby, couldn't wait till he was born. I stayed on my medication, but chose to drop the dosage significantly due to my pregnancy. And I felt okay. I mean, I was sick everyday, so I would have been depressed no matter what. I wasn't unable to get out of bed, and I was still showering, so I figured I was doing okay.

Two days after I gave birth, I sat up in my hospital bed sobbing hysterically with a breast pump attached to each breast. I was trying SO HARD to breastfeed, and it just wasn't working. A* gently turned the pump off and told me that it was okay, just let it go. I did, but that night as we were walking the Peanut down to the nursery I couldn't hold the tears back anymore and cried all the way down the hallway. I felt like a horrible mother, and that I had let my son down. But A* and I chalked it up to the baby blues and figured that it would go away soon.

It didn't. We got home with the baby and I felt so helpless, so overwhelmed. He would cry and my stomach would just twist into knots of anxiety, and I would feel like there was nothing I could do. At night, I wasn't able to sleep even when he was, because I was so nervous that I couldn't turn it off. I would listen and listen, dreading the moment when I would hear a sound from the basinet. I sat in the rocking chair with my beautiful baby and christened his head with tears. I don't even want to admit to some of the thoughts that went through my head... that I didn't want him, that I had made the biggest mistake of my life, that this would never get better, that he and I would both be better off if I wasn't around. That last one was the one I kept coming back to. I figured that he would have the memory of me, and he would imagine that I would have been a good mom, so that would be better than the sobbing mass of nothing that was really there for him. But even this seemed to take too much energy. I went days without showering. I sobbed into A*'s arms every night when he got home from work, and he didn't know what to do. Gradually he took over everything, diapers and feedings and bottle washings and laundry and just everything. I sat and cried.

Finally I crept out of my hole long enough to realize that something had to be done. I made an appointment with my therapist, someone who I had been avoiding because I couldn't summon the energy to go to her office. I made an appointment with my doctor, to see about a medication change. And slowly, things began to get better. I started enjoying those little moments with the Peanut. I wasn't afraid to be alone anymore. I started to take back over some of the household stuff. My medication was adjusted. I had the support of a fantastic husband and wonderful family and friends. I got better.

Now it hurts to look back on those dark nights when I didn't want my baby. When I was ready to end it all. I don't want to admit how close I came to the edge. But I wanted to let other mothers out there know that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and if you can just ask for help something will finally work. Because my Peanut is a lot happier now that I'm a lot happier.

Hang in there.


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