Mar 9, 2017

The dreaded monster

I had my 6 week postpartum check up last week.
I was dreading it for weeks.
Not only because of the fact that I get anxiety leaving the house lately
and have to talk myself up to leave
but also because I would have to face the fact
that postpartum depression is real.
These symptoms and things I'm feeling aren't just something I used to hear about.
When I went in, they weighed me and checked my blood pressure.
Then they gave me a questionnaire I needed to fill out about postpartum depression.
I started to cry, making it completely
awkward for the poor nurse who had to help me.
I had all of the symptoms minus the feeling of harming myself
or someone else.
I sat in the exam room and waited for my Doctor.
As soon as I saw her,
she asked me how I was feeling.
I started to cry again.
They had me meet with a head nurse to get an appointment
with the mental health department.
The next day I met with a psychiatrist to be evaluated
to determine the type of treatment I will need
whether it be meds, therapy or both.

Having a baby is hard.
Having more than one baby is harder.
Life doesn't stop. School doesn't pause and things
keep going whether or not you want them to.
I think people often forget that just because
you're familiar with the process of having and caring for
a baby, doesn't mean that it's all under control.
I'll forever be grateful to my ward Primary President and her husband
for visiting me in the hospital.

I came home alone from the hospital.
The days following were lonely too.
With all these people around me, why did I feel so lonely?
My mom didn't come visit as soon as I was in labor
like I was hoping she would.
She and my step dad thought it seemed better to give me space to rest and heal.
Come to find out, that was the last thing I needed.
I don't think you'll ever reach an age where you'll never
not need your mom and sometimes yearn for that
motherly comfort.
No one brought dinners or came to see how things were going.
As you read this don't feel bad and don't think I expect everyone to drop their lives for me
but writing this post is therapeutic for me.
This is me writing in complete and utter honesty.
I also don't write this to make anyone feel bad but I felt lonely.
I longed for my sisters because besides my husband, they are my safe place.
Nights were lonely.
I thought that it would be easy to nurse because I had done this before.
But it was hard.
I had sore nipples and a low milk supply which
was such a chore to build up.
I felt like if I wasn't nursing baby, I was pumping to make sure I
had an ample supply.
I was stressing myself out wondering if baby had enough milk.
His two week check up didn't help because
he wasn't back at his birth weight, leaving me the weekend
to make sure he gained a few ounces before
our next weight check up two days later.
That about broke me.
I felt and feel completely drained.
All I had were my thoughts and hormones at night.
I was so upset because I felt like my
hormones and thoughts betrayed me.
I became sad.
I cried all the time.
I was looking to feel in tip top shape and back to my normal self
way too soon. What was I thinking?
When I looked in the mirror, I didn't recognize myself.
I saw a pale, tired, gloomy girl.
Someone who needed something
but couldn't quite figure out what.
I had no one to talk to that understood this monster in PPD
or at least that's what I thought.
I kept it all inside because I didn't want
my husband and his parents to think I was being a baby or that
I was going crazy and I didn't want pity.

After having more than one baby people assume you've got this.
This isn't your first rodeo so you'll be just fine.
Yes this is true, I know I will be, just not today or tomorrow and
I know this is going to be a work in progress.
Some days I feel so many emotions
and then others I feel absolutely nothing.
It's hard to explain to someone who
has never felt this way because they can't see inside your head
and they can't feel what you feel.
But I often wonder to myself, how if ever, can someone
make this stuff up?
I am functional and I know what needs to be done
like laundry, feeding baby, picking up the boys from school,
help with homework, clean around the house
and of course throw in a shower if I can.
I'm good at putting on a smile and saying I'm okay.
But my emotions are out of whack.
I feel like the more open you are about anxiety,
depression or mental health in general
people tend to step back and think you need space.

I feel like people going through this need to know
they're not alone and this is more
common than they think.
I can see it in people, their eyes.
They don't know what to say.
They don't know how to approach you.
Or maybe another symptom of PPD is paranoia.

I appreciate those who have been through this.
They check up on me.
They talk and they listen.
I feel like if I don't talk about it then PPD
continues to be a 'behind closed doors' issue.
I want those to know what to look for after having a baby.
I want you to know you are not alone.
I didn't realize how many women, women that I knew had PPD.
They lived it and they overcame it.
I want you to know, it's okay to ask for help
when you're overwhelmed.
It doesn't make you weak if you feel like something is wrong with you.
No one can tell you how you feel or to just snap out of it.
It can be quite debilitating.
The worst though is that it comes in waves.
I was completely fine yesterday.
I checked off more than one thing on my to do list
which is huge right now because
I have been working up to completing one big task a day.
Seems silly right?
Seems like I should be able to get things done right?
Especially because I felt like superwoman during my pregnancy.
Multitasking at its finest.
So, so wrong!
One day I feel productive and the next it hits me like a ton of bricks
and all I want to do is sleep
then I'll become an insomniac for a couple days completely
wearing me out the days to follow.
It also makes me physically sore like I have
huge boulders just resting on my shoulders.
My back throbs, pain shoots through my spine, the small of my back throbs
and of course the crying spells a couple times a day.
I'm grateful for a husband who doesn't make me feel bad.
Even though he doesn't completely understand
what I'm going through, he lets me deal
and doesn't tell me to buck up and get over it.
I know it won't last and I am seeing a therapist next week
to help me better understand what's going on
with me and to help me navigate
through this all.

I've been in hiding.
I barely leave my room but I'm recognizing that
small steps to progression is all I can give for now.
And while I am trying to cope and heal, I will cut myself some slack and know
that although I have faults,
this mothering thing is and always has been my calling.
Postpartum depression will not become me.



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