Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coming out of the dark

My last blog caused quite a stir among friends and family members.  While I always post in hopes people will read, I never intended to cause anyone to be concerned or to seek out extra attention or to create drama.  But I am glad that I did cause the concern because it allowed me to truly reflect on the way I had been feeling and to realize that what I was experiencing was Postpartum Depression.  While the most severe cases of PPD involve women having suicidal thoughts and neglecting their babies, my case was much less severe than that.

Being aware of my feelings helped me to find freedom in admitting that I did have a problem.  It wasn't "normal" and it wasn't something that felt like it was going to go away.  It was looming over me on a daily basis, haunting me at just the slightest touch of happiness I would feel, and threatening to affect my ability to take care of my baby.  I would sit on the couch in the living room and have a conversation with my husband about everyday topics and just find myself in tears for absolutely no reason at all.  I would lie in bed at night and cry, asking Shane, "What is WRONG with me???"

I became obsessed with sleep.  I couldn't sleep, so all I did was think about it.  I would lie in bed and literally just pray over and over, "Please Lord, help me to sleep."  And I didn't!  So I grew more and more bitter and angry that I still wasn't sleeping, despite my prayers that I would.  I started feeling ill due to lack of sleep and had trouble functioning throughout the day.  I wasn't eating much ecause I rarely felt hungry.

It was then that I knew I needed help.  Luckily my 6-week post-delivery check-up was scheduled already so I was able to talk to the doctor about everything that had been going on.  She did not hesitate in putting me on medication.  I have been taking it for just at a week now, along with some natural herb tablets that are for emotional well-being.  And I feel like a new person.  Literally.

I can get through a whole day without crying or without even wanting to cry.  I can feed my baby and talk to him and sing to him without bursting into tears.  I can lay in bed and relax and not worry about the fact that I may have trouble falling asleep from time to time.  My mindset is literally altered now.  It's not perfect and it's not always optimistic, but I don't have the fears and worries I had a week ago.  I'm not constantly afraid anymore.

Speaking of optimism, I think one of the hardest things about going through all of this has probably been dealing with the many people in my life who are extreme optimists.  I know that sounds harsh--it isn't meant to sound harsh at all.  I know these people love me and want the best for me.  But sometimes I feel like an eternal optimist, in their pep talks and attempts to appease my emotions, are more condescending than anything else.  It's almost like they're saying it's silly for me to feel this way or that way.  I often feel judged for the way I feel and think.  Unfortunately because so many moms adjust to motherhood beautifully, I am thrown into the group that didn't adjust and, therefore, am probably viewed as weak to many.  I know I just have one kid and I know there are so many who have it WAY harder, but for me to say that things are hard isn't wrong.  And I have finally come to a place where I don't really care anymore about people who think it's wrong/weird/dramatic/over-sensitive for me to have felt the way I felt.

All that to say, I am extremely happy to say that I finally have found a way to cope with everything that has come to pass in these last 2 months.  I've always been overwhelmed with love for my baby, but now I can truly find happiness in that love and find a way to smile and laugh instead of cry.  I can accept the bad days and know that I will have them.  I can also find comfort in knowing that so many others are in my same boat.  I can thank God for all the support and help I have and continue to have.

I can find my way out of the dark.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Brutally Honest

I've been a total wreck today, for lack of better words.  And for those who know me well, you know my tendency to exaggerate, my flair for drama, and my extreme emotional sensitivity.  But for those who don't know me well, I'll just say that I'm rather tired of getting hassled for it or for being made to feel like it's wrong to be that way.  If I could make myself NOT be emotional and sensitive, I most definitely would.  But yet...I don't really feel bad for being the way that I am.  After all, I was this person when my husband met me, dated me for 5 1/2 years and eventually proposed to me.  I managed to hang onto him all this time.  He's not tired of me yet!

Okay so back to being a total wreck....I'm a total wreck.  And I just don't really know why.  Why should I be a wreck?  I post on facebook daily--sometimes multiple times a day--pictures of my precious son and how sweet and cute he is.  He IS so dang cute and sweet.  I just love him to pieces.  I miss him when I'm not holding him.  I miss him when I'm away from him.  When I watch other people hold him I miss him.  I hope he knows how much I love him and how much I love being his mommy.

But then there's this other side of me.  The train-wreck side of me that feels so completely totally messed up inside over this whole new chapter of life I have entered and been in for just over a month now.  I think most moms know and well remember the emotional roller coaster that new motherhood brings about, but it also seems many moms have forgotten.  I hear a lot of pep talks about how I just need to "hang in there" and "it gets better" and "I enjoyed this time so much with my baby.  You should soak up every single moment."  I respect all of those words of wisdom and believe them and acknowledge them....But I am not buying into them right now...which is why this blog is titled "Brutally Honest."  To be brutally honest, I'm not buying that it gets better.  I'm not soaking up every moment and I'm definitely not enjoying every moment.

I'm enjoying some moments.  I love when my son looks right at me and it's like he just knows I'm his mommy.  I love those moments in the morning when he's first waking up and he's doing his little baby stretches and making funny little faces and making sweet sounds.  I love when he falls asleep with his head on my shoulder.  I love when my husband comes home from work and I can watch him bond with our son in his own special way.  Shane is such a good daddy.

But I'm not enjoying all of it.  I want to watch a TV show...all the way through without worrying about if my baby is spitting up, or if he's asleep or not, or if he might have a dirty diaper, or if he makes a little squeak if that means he's hungry or about to cry.  I want to go to the pool with my girlfriends and lay out all day until I get sunburned.  I want to meet my husband at a bar after he gets off work and have several drinks, maybe order some food, then come home late and go to bed, without a care in the world.  I want to go out spontaneously and shop for summer clothes without having to spend an hour feeding a baby until he's content, packing up a diaper bag, hauling his car seat into a shopping cart, carefully pushing him around a store, on pins and needles about whether or not he will wake up crying and end my shopping spree.  I want to lay down in my bed and just go to sleep....and sleep and sleep and sleep without setting an alarm, without listening for a baby, without worrying about what time I will get woken up, without worrying about my poor husband and his perpetual lack of sleep.  I want all of those things so badly that it literally makes me cry.  And I feel like such a terrible person because of it.

So basically I'm having extremely selfish thoughts....Almost 100% of the time.  And I'm not going to try to hide them.  I don't think I'll ever stop having these selfish thoughts.  But what I want is for me to just be at peace.  I'd like to go a full hour without randomly starting to cry.  I was on a roll for a few days where I wasn't crying at all.  Typically if there is enough going on to distract me I don't cry.  It's on the quiet days where nothing is going on that it all hits me at once and it's like Niagara Falls.  I just can't seem to find the peace that I know God will give me if I will only just have faith and calm down.

I look at all the women in my life who have had a baby and/or are raising kids.  They are okay.  They're "normal".  They're living life.  They're making it.  This encourages me and assures me that I will make it too.  I just wish I would've known about all these feelings so I could've been prepared.  These feelings are so strong that they're almost more than I can handle.  And for the mommas who have a baby and experience absolutely nothing but pure joy and don't have a single thought of their "old life"....I envy them.  But I question their honesty.