Saturday, January 31, 2009
Remembering some more.
I felt broken-hearted when we brought LB home from the hospital. Our whole lives had changed. Before he was born we had a son who we loved dearly and could give to him all of our attention. He fulfilled a dream we had to be parents, and we were very happy. I was pregnant, too, finally after 4 years of infertility and many many times I longed to be pregnant. I was so happy with a 1-year-old and a pregnant belly. Then it all changed.
We came home from the hospital right when my postpartum emotions kicked in. I felt absolutely overwhelmed and overwhelmingly anxious. I wasn't pregnant any more, an experience I thoroughly enjoyed, and in place of that wonderment I had a newborn baby who wasn't nursing well or gaining weight. I couldn't spend any time with my precious first child because I was so busy feeding the baby around the clock. I loved them both so much I thought it would be easier to cease existing than to love them both. I felt an obsessive, crazy love for them and not a peaceful, content love like I do now.
Every time night would approach I would just start to cry. I felt so anxious for another night to come. The time had just changed and it was getting dark so early I felt like the darkness would swallow me up. My thoughts raced and yet things felt like they were moving in slow motion. I didn't want to go to bed because I knew the next time I woke up I'd be trying to nurse this baby again and it would not go as I'd hoped.
Waking up in the morning was a relief in some ways, because it was light and I was supposed to be up. The world kept moving along and I could remember that when I got out to run an errand like take LB to the lactation consultant or pediatrician. Then I would get home knowing it would soon be dark again and it made me start to feel sad and anxious again. I don't remember how long this lasted, but it was longer than the "Baby Blues." I had moments of clarity and joy, though, so I told myself I wasn't experiencing postpartum depression. Case solved. Or not.
As time went on and we were sleeping more I started feeling better, but there were still triggers, especially feeding and sleep issues. We had a really terrible time getting started nursing, and I felt like if I couldn't nurse him then I wouldn't have the closeness with him I had when he was in the womb. I wanted him back in there until he was about 6 months old! Now I'm so glad he's here, because he is too big now to carry around in my pouch like a joey.
LB was almost a year old before I finally decided to see if I could get some help with my emotions. I had postpartum thyroiditis, too, which contributed to my depression and anxiety. After we got that straightened out I began to feel even more like myself. Counseling helped a lot, too.
I have two sweet friends who have just had babies. Experiencing that with them (not in person) brought back a lot of these memories and feelings. I don't want to scare them by sharing my extreme reactions to motherhood, but to let them know that it's not always talcum powder and baby blankets, and if you have a hard time, tell someone. Tell them the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Tell me. I won't point and stare. I'll even tell you some shocking things about me! Wouldn't that be fun?!
Posted by Amy T. S. at 2:10 PM