Did you think that your first weeks with your new born baby would be blissfully spent kissing strawberry scented baby toes only to find yourself in a pit of despair?…. I did
Don’t get me wrong, I had the same reaction as most mothers to my adorable baby boy! He was and still is the apple of my eye, but something was off. Not only was I experiencing the normal shock of being a new mom including the sleep deprivation, anxiety, and doubt. But there was also alot of self loathing, an inordinate amount of crying as well as distance between my son and I.
My mom warned me about those evil little thoughts that come upon women in Postpartum, thoughts of hating your kids or even worse. I took it with a gain of salt but I don’t think I truly grasped the concept until I was there.
I remember taking a nightly walk with my husband and baby, it was a Tuesday, and I could not conceive how I would possibly make it to Friday. The very idea of my own personal survival was faint at best.
I did all the things I was supposed to do, I fed him, I kissed him, I rocked him, I changed him and I truly loved him. But I was not doing it with a kind and gracious heart. I was not serving him with joy, rather with bitterness. I remember singing to him when I couldn’t get him to stop crying even after doing ever single thing they tell you to do. Slowly but surely my song turned into tears and we sorta just held each other and had a temper tantrum.
What perplexed me the most is how other mother’s seemed to delight in baby care. On the weekends I would see post from moms on Facebook talking about they couldn’t wait to wake up to their babies and care for them all day. I thought they were crazy.
On many occasions I would call my husband and tell him that I just couldn’t take another second of it. He would assure me that he would take over everything when he got home from work. I would count the hours until I heard his keys in the door.
I was soaked in vomit and breast milk and things were not normal.
I had a dear friend, who has suffered with depression for some time now, encourage me to get help. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me, I just assumed it was taking me a while to adjust. I started by talking with my doctor about it. I went to a couple of counseling sessions and that didn’t help much.
I spoke with trusted friends and family about possibly going on anti-depressants and their responses ranged from go for it, to just pray about it, to you don’t really need it.
I struggled, I prayed.
I think there is a fine line between what people call the “baby blues” and Postpartum Depression. Even more so I am willing to say that in a completely healthy state a mother, like myself, can not be enamored with the things that baby care requires. These things include being pooped on, vomited on, no sleep, noise, bleeding nipples and so on. I am not really sure who would love these things unless they are a gluten for punishment. Its possible to not really enjoy the newborn stage and its ok. You enjoy your child and these are byproducts of their care.
But when the darkness is consuming you, its not normal and you need help.
So I spoke with my doc and she gave me the meds. The safest antidepressant for nursing mothers they had. I read, I researched, I scrutinized, and I double guessed myself. I think I even called and badgered my doctor some more.
I had the medication in my bathroom and I would stare at it, I didn’t want it. It made me feel weak. It made me feel nonspiritual.
I finally took the meds and OH HAPPY DAY! It was the best decision I could have made!
This was my journey, maybe it is not yours. Medication is not for everyone, but it is an option and for me it helped.
Shortly after a cloud seem to be lifted from me. I still had to do the same things, and get no sleep but my attitude was endearing.
Going back to work was a big part of my journey as well! I know this is not the norm for most moms but even after addressing my postpartum, I could not wait to return to work! I remember driving to work my first day back it was the crack of dawn I had one million things to do but I had never been so happy to be in the daily commute. People asked me if it was hard for me to leave my son, again this was not about depression, it was about me. It wasn’t very hard. I had a trusted family friend loving on my child, he was safe and taken care of and he was loved.
Little by little I realized that work actually energized me to be a better mom for him. I was given the opportunity to miss my son and to value our nights and weekends together which made them all the more sweet.