Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Dark Side of Motherhood


When I found out I was pregnant with Oliver,
I was thrilled.
Ecstatic.
Over the moon.

All I ever wanted was to be a mother.
When I was young and the teacher would ask
what we wanted to be when we grew up,
my answer was always, "A Momma".
I mean why couldn't I be?

So when the opportunity came to actually become a Momma,
I dove in head first.
I read books.
Some serious ones like "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
which scared the crap out of me by the way.
Some may disagree but I think that book does more harm than good.
And some silly books like, "The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy"
and "Belly Laughs".
Those were more my speed.
They were true, honest and got down to the nitty gritty.
If it wasn't for those books I wouldn't of been prepared for the ugly.

I had an amazing pregnancy with Oliver.
I was never sick, I felt wonderful.
I was growing a human being.
I was grateful.
Sure I had my moments of irritability.
And moments of shear crazy.
Just ask Ryan about the ice cream incident.
But for the most part, it was good.
I was good.

Fast forward to February 16, 2010. 4:48pm to be exact.
I was a mom.
He was here, and he was perfect.
And I loved him. I loved him right?
I thought I did, but I wasn't sure.
It wasn't an immediate feeling.
If anything, I felt like I was in shock.
Shock from my not so pleasant delivery.
Shock from just having a baby.
And shock for becoming a mother.
A Momma. His Momma.
Someone completely responsible for keeping another human being
...a very tiny human being alive.
I began to feel very anxious.
What should of been a joyous time for me, wasn't. 
I laid there in the delivery room
with so many people around me and I felt so....
alone.
While everyone commented on how adorable, and healthy
...oh so healthy Oliver was.
No one asked about me.
While I laid there quiet and still, I was screaming inside.

It hit that quickly, the PPD.
The depression that is still such a secret.
A dirty little secret.
I didn't realize it the time. I just thought it was The Baby Blues.
Ya know, what those pregnancy books just graze over.
It wasn't serious.
And it sure as Hell wasn't happening to me.
But it was.

I loved my son. At least I thought I did.
I felt he deserved someone better than me.
Someone who could really love him.
Ya know like they show in TV and movies.
She has a baby and bam immediate love.
He deserved that.
Not this shell of a woman, going through the motions
pretending to be a mom.
A mother. His Momma.

I never wanted to hurt my son.
If anything I wanted to protect him.
From everything and everyone.
The anxiety I felt for him, towards him was crippling.
If we left the house I had to drive.
If we had plans, I'd cancel at the last minute.
I couldn't leave him.
With anyone. At all.
What if something happened to him?

I would sit and watch him sleep.
Fearful for him to stop breathing. Always listening.
I would jolt myself awake the minute I began to doze off.
I needed to stay awake.
I needed to constantly watch him.
Must. Not. Fall. Asleep.

The sleep deprivation does some crazy things to you.
No wonder its used to torture people.
I felt like I was being tortured, by my own self. 

I knew something was wrong.
This feeling wasn't going away.
It was past 3 weeks wasn't I suppose to start enjoying this time by now?
When would the horrible thoughts go away.
Thought of me falling down the stairs with Oliver in my arms.
Or someone breaking in.
Or the big tree in the front yard falling into our house.
Or Oliver falling off the counter. Why would he be on the counter?
Or me forgetting to put him back in his pack n play and rolling over him in my sleep.
Or something happening to my husband.
To Ryan, my lifeline.

Hello Crazy.

I knew it was time.
Time to make that call.
Time to admit this was bigger than I was and I needed help.
The doctor had me fill out this depression questioner.
"Circle one in each row" she said,  always, sometimes or never.
As she walked out of the room.
Leaving me with the questioner and my thoughts.
My crazy irrational thoughts.

Final verdict:
PPD with mild anxiety.
Yup, I could of told her that.
She wrote me a prescription for Zoloft and sent me on my way.

The pharmacist told me it would take a week or two before I would feel the difference.
I felt it after that first day.
I felt better.
Not quite "me" but I felt closer to being me.
The next day a little better.
After a week, I was up. Getting dressed and leaving the house.

Months went by and the anxiety continued to lessen.
It was there, the thoughts were always there. still are.
But they didn't stay very long.
And I didn't dwell on them.
And I didn't let them control me anymore.
It was working.
Thank God, it was working.

By the time Oliver was 3 months old. I felt like myself.
I felt happiness.
I enjoyed my son and my new life, as a momma.
His Momma.
I was accepting it and not fighting it anymore.

Having a baby changes you.
You start out as a woman, you give birth and you break down.
You bleed, and break and shed a lot of tears
But its the only way to be rebuilt into a mother.

PPD can happen to anyone.
You.
Me.
It doesn't discriminate and it doesn't let go.
But it doesn't have to control you.
It doesn't have to control me.
This was just my story on the "secret depression".
Something one may not even understand
unless they have been there.
It goes beyond hormones and being an emotional girl.
It goes beyond "sucking it up" and "tomorrow is another day".
It's real and it's scary.
But it doesn't have to last forever.

When I was pregnant with Landon I was worried it would happen again.
I spoke with my doctor about about my options
but in the end opted out of the prescription he offered to write for me
after I delivered Landon.
I felt different.
I felt that immediate love for my child.
And I didn't for once feel alone.

4 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry you had to go through that but happy it didn't turn up again this time around!

    I had the baby blues for 3 weeks and it was awful. I can't imagine how horrible it would be enduring it for 3 months!

    ReplyDelete
  2. oliver and landon are lucky to have such a strong momma that knew when to get help. it's a huge first step...i've been there, but it's amazing how much better you feel once you get it out there and take the necessary steps to feel better.
    kudos to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing your story, it's nice to hear someone being so honest about the reality of having a baby. After I had Grayson, I had a very difficult time, with hormone changes and depression. Shane thought it would be a good idea to invite his mom for 1 month into our small home and his brother for a long weekend and his other friend for a week to go hunting RIGHT after I had Grayson! I was SO upset. I was trying to heal, trying to get back to normal and I wanted to SCREAM! I felt trapped in my own home, I couldn't go anywhere, I had to discretely breast feed in my bedroom, I couldn't show emotion, after all you're supposed to be a ok and act normal right? No one seemed to understand!! Except my family when I called them and cried. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I felt like I couldn't even bond w/ my own son. I really know how you were feeling. All of these feelings are a normal, extremely difficult part of having a baby but no one ever seems to talk about it....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just read your story here,thanks for writing it....

    ReplyDelete

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