It’s really simple to believe Postpartum Depression that no one would criticize someone for having PPD unless it’s YOU. Then, you fear that everyone will pass judgment. Everyone would consider you unsuitable for motherhood. Everyone would try to rob you of your child (it sounds crazy, but you DO worry about this!). You would appear weak to everyone. They’d all assume you’re acting dramatic. Because my kid won’t stop crying, I believed that everyone would assume I was doing something wrong. Likewise, EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON.
Will ask you with a deathly glare, “Are you sure he isn’t just hungry?” Alternatively, “Does he have a dirty diaper?” These inquiries annoyed me because I truly want to know what Postpartum Depression other individuals believed we were performing as our infant screamed his head off. Concentrating on the wall? Or attempting to remedy it with everything you can think of (including many things you’d never think of)? Although everyone was attempting to be helpful, the comments just served to reinforce my sense of inadequacy. They must think I am such a terrible mother because I wouldn’t even try to FEED or CHANGE my child.
I FEEL RIGHT NOW
I held off Postpartum Depression discussing this since I was awaiting a conclusive statement. Like, I don’t know some grandiose ending where the depression sent me a note and announced its resignation. A press release, perhaps. Something! But that’s not how it operates. The symptoms of postpartum depression don’t go away completely or suddenly. It fluctuates throughout time and eventually disappears, but other than that it’s just like the weather. A week of clear skies could be followed by three days of thunderstorms. You get used to the reality that storms occur, even though they may become less frequent and violent over time depending on the season.
So, 7.5 months after giving birth, I feel a lot better today. Around five months old, Theo’s sobbing decreased and he started sleeping better (thanks to our efforts—not by magic), but I still occasionally have awful days. I regret not having the experience I had in mind, which was to have a baby who needed a lot of attention and frequent nighttime awakenings. In other words, the typical workload for a newborn. However, I also believed that my child would benefit from being held by his mother even as a newborn. I yearned for the newborn experience that other people have to have their baby sleep soundly on their chest for hours on end. Sincerely, it still hurts when I contrast our situation with others.
The best form of therapy for me has been to quit denying my emotions and pretending I spend a lot of time discussing it with Adrian and a few of my close friends, including one whose girlfriend had a child who is now one of my favorite children EVER, Theo. Participating regularly in some form of solo activity has also been quite important. It’s getting to the gym, getting on my mat, going for solitary walks, and finding time to write. Yes, I’m also seeing a therapist, though I’m currently looking for the right one.
Find what you require to feel understood and supported. It could involve either counseling or medicine, or both. It might involve pedicures, yoga, hiking, or a combination of all of the above. There is no perfect “treatment” However, you must discover a means to get back in touch with yourself. Feelings are cheesy, so feel them.
I was hesitant to even write about this. Although I believe it’s vital for mothers to not feel isolated in their challenges, Theo was my main concern, so I wasn’t sure whether it was a smart idea. He might later read this and conclude that I didn’t want him or love him, and I didn’t want that to happen.
So let this essay serve as a virtual embrace for all the parents who are now going through hell. Even the deepest sentiments or experiences that you have are not unique. Just know that I am aware of you. Like, I VISIT YOU. You are not crazy, greedy, nasty, or in the wrong; it is precisely as difficult as you perceive it to be. Contrary to every split in history, it’s THEM, not you. Sometimes, YOUR BABY is bats hit CRAZY. And you? You are precisely where you need to be, and you are the ideal mother for your child.
Second, and most importantly: If my son ever reads this in his adult state, please know that you are the fulfillment of a dream I had no idea I had. I appreciate being your mama. And thank you for giving me the impression that I am already an advanced-level parent because you are aware of the warped ego gratification both you and I have.