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The lifting fog April 20, 2009

Posted by Judy in Musings.

After having 2 months of mostly really good days, I’ve decided that the fog of PPD is finally lifted.  I’ve gotta tell you, this PPD business totally sucks.  It’s like you get into this illogical downward spiral where you want things to get better, but then you really don’t, cuz then, what would you do if you weren’t crying all the time and thinking “my life sucks?”   

I’ve decided that there are many things about motherhood that noone tells you and noone wants to talk about . .. PPD is one of those things.  The thing is, it totally should be something that is talked about, so that those of us who go through it can at least feel like we aren’t the only one’s on the planet slogging through.  Some might say that the ob/gyn’s of the world talk to mom’s about it . . .but I don’t really agree.  At your postpartum visit they ask you, “So, have you felt any postpartum depression?”  To which I (and many others I’m sure) lie and say, “No, I’m just tired, but doin’ okay.”  And that’s it.  Not sure what else the healthcare providers would do, but seems like just asking the question isn’t sufficient.  And I say that, because I had two different midwives (one after DS”s birth and one after DD’s birth) ask me the question, and I told a boldfaced lie both times.  Well, that’s not totally true.  After DS, I didn’t realize I had PPD until he was about 6 months old, so I guess I wasn’t really lying, just misinformed.  I wonder how things would have been different if 1) I’d been better informed, 2) the midwife had pressed a bit more to get more info from me.  I’m guessing I wouldn’t have gotten to month 6 before figuring this out.

So how did I get to month 20 before I did anything about PPD?  Now that the fog is lifted I wonder how the heck I survived for almost TWO years with this cloudy hanging over me!  I supposed I did try to do something about it along about month six when I talked with a counselor who told me “it sounds like there are many changes in your life and you are just having trouble adjusting.”  The part of me conditioned by the mainstream notion that depression is shameful, believed the counselor and squelched the other part of me that knew that was wrong. 

Time passed, my belly grew, we moved and the PPD hung on with it’s vice-like grip.  It was super easy to make up excuses, “oh, it’s the pregnancy hormones,” or “it’s just the stress of moving to a new place” or “oh, I’m just really fatigued (as DS was 12 months and still waking 2-4 times per night).    But somewhere along the way, the realistic part of me won out and I came to terms with the fact that I was dealing, or more accurately, not dealing with PPD. . . what with the daily bawling session, the lack of energy, the mercurial temperament, the impatience with others and especially my family, the ever-present “my life sucks” attitude.  I still can’t figure out why I didn’t do anything   . . . . I did contemplate emailing a friend, but that never happened . . . it was like every time I thought about doing something, I would have the weird thought that I didn’t want things to get better, I really wanted to just wallow, how strange is that?  Besides, I didn’t really see that there was any way for things to get fixed.

October rolled around and we welcomed DD in a ball of chaos and excitement . .   . . .as you may have guessed, things did not get any better.  Thank the good Lord above, she is an infinitely better sleeper than her brother, so I was a wee bit more rested.  But, the PPD kept hanging on with it’s tenacious grip, and hanging on, and hanging on.

I supposed I got tired of living a lie.  You know, people would say, “so how are you?”  and I’d say, “not bad,” or “surviving,” or “crazy busy”.  So I decided to bite the bullet and see a counselor.  I can’t say that she inspired mountains of confidence, or any confidence for that matter.  The real advantage was that I could say all the “I hate . . . ” sentences that had been rolling around my brain for so many months.  Strangely, I didn’t feel immediately better, but after chatting with my midwife the following week, I think things started looking up.  I can’t tell you the moment that it happened, but I do remember when I realized that things had already been on the proverbial mend.  Sabbath rolled around and I actually felt like going to church (rather than staying home and sleeping) and I realized that I’d just finished an entire week where every single day was, by and large, a good day.  Then another week passed and another week, and pretty soon, 2 months had gone by. 

Looking back, I’m amazed that our little family survived.  I”m convinced it’s only for the grace of God that we made it.  I feel pretty safe saying that the PPD has been kicked to the curb.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments of “AHHHHH I want to scream!”, but, I’m pretty sure every SAHM has that feeling on occassion, and I’ve decided that it’s okay to feel that way, so long as you don’t allow it to completely consume you and your thinking.  I guess I’ve just made a change in my thought process . . . I don’t let myself get all bent out of shape over things I can’t control:  things like the babies waking up and refusing to nap well, my toddler being totally recalcitrant and disobedient, feeling totally exhausted.  I also try to really enjoy the amazing things:  like the way DD savors the milk after a middle-of-the-night feeding, and the way DS’s eyes are GIGANTIC right after a nap, and the way he comes running out of his room to find me after his nap, and the totally grammatically incorrect way DS says things, and the way DS and DD play and laugh together. . .and . . and. . .. and. 

So the fog has lifted and we are a much happier little family for it!


1. About that motherhood thing . . . . « A Diva Moment - June 29, 2009

[…] the PPD was making me feel flummoxed, frustrated and not at all put together. But, now that the fog has lifted for 4 months, I know that it’s not the PPD talking. Rather, these feelings are part of the […]

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