We interrupt your not-so-regularly scheduled programming for a bit of my real life. This is where I write so it’s where I’m putting this. I have some other posts to write up still too, but for now, this is what I have. (If this is the first or only time you've read anything I've written, I usually don't write this stuff so whether you want to read more like this or not, it's not something to expect.)
So I guess this will be real talk time, and it’s hard for me to write but I feel like it’s necessary (more so for me than for anyone else). Why am I writing something so incredibly personal where anyone can see? 1. Because I need to get it out of my head where the words swirl around constantly. 2. If someone does see it and feels the same, I really want them to know they’re not alone because this can be a very lonely place. Even if you have people around you, it’s a little easier knowing someone else has felt the same (while at the same time you wouldn’t wish it on anyone). And I also want anyone who feels like this to know that reaching out to someone is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.
A few days ago I had my 6 week postpartum appointment with my midwife. I knew before the appointment that I’ve been struggling, and I was finally ready to admit that I needed some help. The biggest thing was the roller coaster I’ve been on with my hormones. And it’s just not stopping. I have to fill out this questionnaire thing about how I’ve been feeling every time I go to the pediatrician’s office for my little giraffe. The problem is that I know what they want me to say to be able to tell me I’m normal and fine and everything is going great. Unfortunately, that means that none of the doctors have known that I haven’t been fine lately and everything has not felt great. This time, I answered the questions more honestly. I admitted that I would like to run away from my life at times, and that I’m terrified everything I’m doing is wrong, and I can’t stand hearing my kid cry. all. the. time. And then I got to hear what I was dreading.
“You have postpartum depression.”
This was followed by the doctor telling me that I’m one of the ones that often get missed. The type of person who has dealt with depression without wanting to take medicine so she learns how to still get up and go to her responsible adult life things. The kind who can still get dressed and look presentable, who can still make eye contact and look like I’m fine. Because I can shut everything out for most of the day so that I can function.
Until night begins, and then I just want to scream. Every time I hear the giraffe cry. Every time I hear her start to fuss and I start to panic it’s going to turn into a complete meltdown. And I’m changing a diaper with my eyes half shut hoping I put a diaper on her and not the cat. And I’m mad that I’m not getting any sleep. And I feel like a terrible parent because I don’t like this screaming person right now. She’s taking away my sleep. She’s stealing my husband’s attention. And damnit, I want to cuddle with him now that I don’t have a giant pregnant belly or heartburn lying between us.
And then it shifts. And I’m not angry any more. I’m so upset with myself for feeling like this. I start to think “I can’t believe my baby doesn’t like me, and I’m not fond of her myself.”
I’m told I’m not alone in this. I’m told that a lot of people feel this way, and a lot of them don’t admit it. I hope this gets better with the suggestions of the doctor. I hope that soon I feel loving towards the sweet girl I’m holding more often than frustrated. Because part of my brain recognizes how lovely her tiny smiles are. Part of me knows that I’m missing out on these weeks that I’m actually able to spend at home with her. The biggest part of me, though, realizes that I am incredibly lucky to have my husband taking care of her and me and going to work while I try to keep just myself put together. And that part of me really wants to give him his wife back.