Coming back from the brink…
It has been a long time since I’ve written anything. I had to take a break for a while, from blogging, from my FB page, even from working out. I haven’t worked out in almost a month. There was some stuff going on in my life that I needed to get straight. What stuff? Well, I’ve finally gotten the desire and the confirmation that is time to write this entry that I’ve been struggling with for a while. There are going to be some things in here that you might judge me for, but that’s not the point of this. The point is to tell women out there that they are not alone.
I have been suffering from postpartum depression. Yikes. We are all warned of postpartum depression when we get pregnant. “If you suffer from sadness, anxiety, anger, etc when the baby is born, make sure you get help.” What? Why would I be sad when my baby is here? I’ll be the happiest woman in the world. Isn’t that what society tells us we should feel? We should be glowing with excitement that we have this new, adorable life to take care of. Every waking moment should be filled with smiles and excitement and coos and staring dreamily at your baby that you’re totally in love with. If you feel anything less than that, you’re a bad mother/person. Babies=happiness. Hmmm. But what happens if you do start to feel any of those “ugly” feelings? The sadness, the anxiety, and horrors of horrors, the anger that you’re warned of? Are you really a horrible mother? The answer, my friends, is ABSOLUTELY NOT.
You’d be surprised at how many women actually suffer from postpartum depression. In a lot of mild cases, its just called “the baby blues.” The baby blues are defined as mood swings and tearfulness that last a couple days to a couple weeks after the baby is born. But, if 5 months after the baby is born, you’re still experiencing crazy mood swings, anger, tears, resentment, etc, you might have a more severe form of PPD. Again, you are not alone.
The first time I realized something might be seriously wrong was when Baby Boy was about a month old, I flipped out on Little Man (3) when he spilled the dogs’ water. Seriously. Flipped. Out. I screamed and yelled at him to not touch the water and get in the “damn house.” Whoa. Did I just cuss at my kid? That wasn’t normal. I’m a fiery red-head, but I also normally have tons of patience when it comes to Little Man. (I attribute that to teaching 9th graders for a couple years.) It was just water for Pete’s sake. After this episode and until Baby Boy was 5 1/2 months old, there was lots of screaming, slamming doors, spankings, etc. Every time LM threw a fit, so did I. Then, at night, I would just sit in bed and cry about what I was doing; how I was the most horrible mother ever; that I was ruining my precious three year old. My hubby heard many times that I was a awful person and didn’t deserve my two little boys. The next day I would vow to not yell, but the tiniest things would set me off. I normally love to laugh, but I just couldn’t feel happy, I just felt rage. I couldn’t get joy from anything. The unbalance of chemicals and hormones in my head was making me feel totally crazy. I was in a very dark place. In fact, thinking back I don’t really remember much about those first months of my baby’s life. I just remember the dark and the feeling of being alone.
My best friend was the one who started to pull me out. She and I talked and it turned out, she was going through very similar experiences. She had had a baby two months before I did. It was so crazy to describe a situation to her and have her say, “that happened at our house too!” I had thought, for sure, that I was the only one that was this awful. Then my hubby told me that his friends’ wife was feeling that way, too. Three moms suffering from these feelings. That can’t be just coincidence. I asked the ladies in my MOPS group, and most of them said they had similar experiences. I started asking what they were doing that was helping. My answers were a lot of praying and anti-depressant medication. I started with the praying. If you ask me, you can’t get anywhere without God’s help first. I actually began to feel better. There were about two weeks that I was able to laugh and be happy again. Then one day, I got sucked back into the darkness, and I was basically just laying on the floor trying to grasp onto any happy thought in my head. I remember sitting on my stairs and just crying my eyes out. I had asked Tracy to pray for me because I literally could not get a happy enough thought to say the word God. It was then I knew I had to get professional help.
After talking to my doctor, I started taking Prozac. He also mentioned that calcium supplements would help, too. I have been taking these two things together for a little over a month now and I am totally back to my old self. Its really amazing. I thank God every day for modern medicine (and not so modern). Now, I still get upset at Little Man because he’s three, and three year olds are insane, but I can control my temper. I’m not “screaming mommy” anymore. I’m not “hurting his heart” (his words….ugh) anymore. Everyone in my house is a lot happier. (I do notice that when I take my “crazy girl pills” but not my calcium, I’m more irritable. If you’re not wanting to try the anti-depressants, try calcium. 1000mg. They seriously work.) The darkness is gone and has been replaced by light and beauty and love. Now I can enjoy my boys and remember my 7 month old’s milestones.
I wanted to write this and expose my experiences in hopes that maybe someone who is also suffering can read this and realize that she is not alone. It is ok to be feeling this way, its more normal than you think…than anyone tells us mommies. Its ok to get help!!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT A HORRIBLE MOTHER.