August 31, 2010

A tale of Postpartum Depression, part one

I break.  When things become too big for me to handle, I break.  It's not a fact that I'm proud of.  This has happened to me twice in my life.  This first time followed a traumatic incident, the second happened to be after a joyful event.  I won't discuss the first time on here (or anywhere), but I will tell you all about the second time. 
3 years ago, I gave birth to our second daughter, Kennedy.  Afterwards, I started having a little bit of a problem, so we decided to have another baby.  So 14months after having Kennedy,  I gave birth to Georgia.  Let me start by saying that it is not a good idea to try to cure postpartum depression by having another baby.  A couple months before I had Kennedy, I had quit my job to stay at home, which is a HUGE adjustment that I could not seem to grasp.  I had also spent the better part of 2 years being pregnant and all of a sudden, I wasn't.  All of a sudden, I had to figure out how to take care of my house, myself,  a preschooler and 2 infants. Overwhelmed seems like a gross understatement.
I knew something was wrong when I had no desire to nurse Georgia.  I'm not saying that I had successfully managed to nurse the first 2 girls, but I had at least tried my best.  I think I was too exhausted.  It had already been a year since I'd had a good night's sleep before I had Georgia and between her and Kennedy, we were getting next to none.  In the morning, my husband would go to work and I was left alone with these tiny people who  I didn't know how to take care of.  It didn't take me long to become resentful.  Georgia was a fussy baby.  She was always crying and spitting up.  We tried so many types of formula for her.  We couldn't seem to find one that worked well.  I think she was almost 6 months old when we finally settled on one for the next 6 months.  It is very hard to play with and cook for 2 children when you spend your day holding a baby who will not stop crying. 
My house was a wreck, my children weren't getting enough attention from me, I couldn't cook, I didn't sleep...I was a failure.  It didn't take long for me to figure this out and start to spiral.  I realized that I didn't belong with these kids and they could do much better without me.  So, I started spending time away from home.  I realized that because my husband is a man, people would come over and help him out when I wasn't home.  They would feed the baby or give baths to help out.  This made me realize 2 things:  1-that I should be able to take care of my kids (nobody thought it necessary to come over and help me) and 2-that yes, my children would be better off without me because people would come over and take better care of them than I could.

Please note that I am writing this story in hopes that it will be helpful to someone.  I ask that you understand it is hard for me to think about and even harder to write about.  I am not writing this to place blame with anyone, there is no one to blame, and I am not writing this to be judged.  Please keep this in mind, should you decide to comment.  Thank you.

3 comments:

  1. Bravo!

    Postpartum Depression is a nasty black hole that is so hard to get out of. Anyone who looks down on you or judges you for it, has no idea what it is really like.

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  2. dealing witha a crying baby all day long and accomplishing nothing?
    yep. exactly wear i am right now. though instead of two other kids to deal with me path has taken me to a town where i know no one and i just keep thinking about the job i gave up to be here.

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  3. I think that it is wonderful that you are talking about this. I agree with Yellow Tennessee, nobody should judge you for this, this is a serious a very real issue.

    Postpartum depression wasn't even talked about 20 years ago. 30 years ago, women had no idea why they were feeling these feelings after childbirth. I have a friend who had PPD back in '82. She had just had her second child and she felt nothing toward the baby after the pregnancy. She said that first she felt indifferent and then a little worse. She told me that she doesn't have many photos of her second child's first year. She said that is a testament to how deep her depression was, only other people took photos of her little boy and that is why she has them. The reason I'm sharing this story with you is because she never sought help to figure out what she had. Fortunately, she was able to slowly pull herself out of her funk. It wasn't until a local news story about a woman killing her two kids and the first whispers of PPD that she realized that that is what she had had many years before.

    Today we have more information about PPD and we know more and more people who have gone through this because of people like you and my friend who share their experiences. I thank you for your bravery. Someday it may help a yet-to-be mom like myself to know that I won't be alone if I find myself feeling the same way.

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