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Sunday, March 17, 2013

While I wait for my hair to fall out...

My thoughts about Postpartum Depression...

Postpartum is an interesting thing. The way that it effects each woman is different, even how it effects a woman from child to child is so different.

I have never had postpartum before. I had 4 boys and each one came with it's own challenges and struggles. I remember having the blues a few days but never what I would think was full blown PPD.  So when it came I was shocked at the way that I felt but I was so depressed that I didn't feel like I could do anything about it.

I'm going to tell you my story and I hope that if you have ever suffered from this know that you are not alone.  
{if you are prone to judgement you may click on by right now}

Having our fifth boy was so exciting, and for me the fact that I was able to have him naturally like I wanted was the icing on the cake for me. I was told by a few people that because everything went so well that I probably wouldn't have PPD. When I came home from the hospital I felt great. Steve was around to help but I honestly didn't feel like I needed it. So when he went back to work I was felt I was ready for it.

I was even out of the house a week later at our co-op with all the boys. Really the only thing that I struggled with was nursing. Swim was sleeping ok, not great but there was a bed in his room so I would just go in there with him and sleep.

I noticed my moods starting to change when Swim was about 2 weeks old. It was 4:00 in the morning and he was still awake. I finally got him to sleep, and it was a deep enough sleep that I was able to put him down in his crib. The next thing I new I was woken up at 6:30 by other little people needing me. Steve was there but mom is always the first on that is called. Steve did what he could to help but I was already awake. I went down stairs to help get juice and there wasn't a clean sippy cup and I just started to cry. I was able to rinse something out and get juice to Benji, and I set him up in front of the TV. I started to cry again because of my "mom guilt" I realized that he had been watching so much TV. I began to feel like I was neglecting him and all of the other boys. We watch TV but I keep it pretty limited because my boys would sit and watch it all day long.... But I realized that I was only functioning because they were out of my way as I was trying to take care of Swim.

I finally make my way back upstairs and I heard him crying again. It was 7:00am.

This went on for a couple days I would get one good night sleep and several that were bad. I was trying to school the boys and spread my attention around to everyone, even the dog was wanting to touch me all day long. I felt myself slipping away as I tried to be everything for everyone and felt like I was failing at it.

.....the bad things with blogs is that most people only post the good stuff... nobody posts about the bad things the human things....

I stopped blogging, and reading blogs... something that I really love... because it just pushed me into a deeper hole. I stopped enjoying my boys because I felt that I wasn't doing a good enough job at being a mom. I yelled all the time, and the boys would either stay down stairs when I was upstairs with the baby, or they would be in their room while I was down stairs, they didn't want to be near me. I wandered the house seeing everything that needed to be done but to overwhelmed to do anything.

I was to embarrassed to ask for help. I chose this life. I chose to homeschool. I choose to be the supporting wife that moves everywhere. I choose to have another baby. I felt like I had brought all of this on myself. I felt like asking for help would mean that failed.

I would look in the mirror and try to find the person I use to be. I knew this wasn't normal for me, I tried to find the good in life but all I felt was despair. It felt like I was put into a box, I knew I was there, but I couldn't get out. I wouldn't... I didn't feel like it was worth it.

Everything came to an ugly climax one Sunday night. I was up with this precious child, I tried everything to help him to sleep. I NEEDED to sleep. But he kept crying, and fussing. All I could think about was wrapping a blanket around him and putting him outside. If he was outside I wouldn't heat him cry. I thought that if I put a pillow on him I wouldn't hear him cry, and I could sleep.

I started to cry because why would I think these things? My normal self would never hurt my children for any reason, why was I having those thoughts. I took Swim upstairs and put him in his crib. I needed to not be near him. I went back down stairs and I remember pacing the floor trying to think clearly but I couldn't.

That is when I woke up Steve. He held me and tried to calm me down. He put me to bed and then took Swim down stairs. Finally the crying stopped and I fell asleep.

I woke up the next day so detached from Swim. His crying didn't bother me any more, I just didn't care. I did take care of him but not because I wanted to, it was because I had to.

I cried all day because I couldn't make sense of what I was feeling. I cried with Benji after I slammed the door in his face because he needed me again. I cried because one of the others would ask a question or need something and I felt to overwhelmed to deal with even the small things. I had forgotten how to be a mom.

I cried when I called my mom.

She booked a flight to come and help.

I cried knowing she was coming. I was excited to have her come, but my mom is busy. She works for my dad, my sister in law had her baby, my grandparents were moving. Everyone needed her, I felt guilt because she coming to help me.

Having her here was the best thing that could have happened. I felt better knowing that Swim, who didn't do anything wrong, would feel loved. From Sunday to when I put him in his crib, to Thursday night when my mom came, I didn't hold him any more that I needed to.

She came and helped with the boys, the feeding, and taking care of Swim. She took the night shift so I could sleep. She helped to switch his schedule, so he would sleep at night.

I started to feel better. To feel human again. To feel like a mom again. To feel like ME again.

I cried the day mom mom left. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to handle things with her gone.

But things have gotten better. I tried some medication, and it made me so dizzy, so I tried some herbal supplements and those seem to be helping much better.

I still have days when I look around and feel overwhelmed and just want to hid. I still have times when Swim's crying puts me on edge and I have to walk away. And I still have days where I feel like I have to claw myself out of the box that I was put in. But the good days are starting to out number the bad. I have to remind myself to take it a little at a time. Reminding myself that the clothes on the floor don't matter. That the dust on the shelf will still be there tomorrow. That paper plates are ok to use for dinner. And that the people who come see me are not looking at my failures that are so apparent to me.

I know that I am a good mom, I know that I am a good wife, and I know that I am a good person.

Having postpartum depression is a real thing. And it is something that is not talked about enough. It makes woman feel lonely thinking that they are the only ones that are going through it and there must be something wrong with them. And as women we are good at putting a smile on our face when we are out with others even though we are struggling and then come home and hide to cry or to crawl into bed to shut out the world, or to close the door to the closet and just sit in the dark so the demons that are in her head don't come out.

If you are reading this, and have suffered from PPD you are not alone. Whether you have one child and are having a hard time or 12 children and are feeling the same way you are not alone. I know I only have PPD a small fraction of what others have suffered with it, but it horrible just the same.

We need to help each other and not wait for someone to ask for help. Because the woman who seems to have it all together is not going to ask. We need to be there for each other to life each other and to strengthen each other, and do for each other.

3 comments:

Tristan said...

Leah,
I'm so glad you posted about this! PPD is real and it's hard. I think especially in the church we get the mistaken idea that we need to present a 'perfect family' face all the time and that makes it even worse. We cut ourselves off from help. And Satan is oh so good at telling us lies about ourselves that we'll believe in our PPD state.

Gingerrose said...

Oh Leah, you are amazing! Thanks for writing this post! After James was born I felt so many of the same things and what made it worse was that since no one talked about it, I thought that I was abnormal, that no one else felt that way. I kept feeling like a total failure because I couldn't handle just one baby and so many people have so many kids and act like life is perfect. You are so brave, you inspire me.

Shanna Carlan said...

Thank you for sharing this! I feel very blessed just knowing you friend:) I am so sorry you went through this. I realized something was wrong and was praying for you. Wish I could have done more though. It is so hard to talk about when you are in the middle of it

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