Living, Loving, and Surviving
There’s a story I’ve never told, well I’ve touched on it in previous blogs but I’ve never told the whole truth of it. I read a blog last night that hit me with glaring, beautiful, inspiration, and acceptance. This blog at http://heysweetlittlething.wordpress.com reached into my heart and held it in the palm of her hand. She wrote a beautiful, brave,poignant, story about her survival with Post Partum Depression (PPD).
It was liked she walked inside my head went into a filing cabinet and pulled out my memories. I had a beautiful pregnancy with my first child. I ate healthy, exercised, rested, worked retail, taught yoga, and rested some more. Everything was on schedule and I was due on Halloween. What you don’t know about me is I’m short, like 5″1 and by the time I got into my eighth month I was all baby. My Dr asked me how I was feeling and how I was eating. I was starting to slow down walk less, and waddle more. I could only eat small portions because there was just no room. I felt like a whale even though I was told I looked six months along then full term. This should’ve been my cue to my first guilt trip entering parenthood.
Stock Photo found on Pic Collage
So there I was ready to pop and my baby came into the world two days later. He was a very healthy 7 lbs, 10 oz baby boy and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on him. He was so long, 21 inches, lean and had a purple cone head. Oh wow he was beautiful to me, as I gazed into his eyes and held him in my loving embrace. He was delivered after eleven hours of labour via emergency Caesarean section. He was only in the NICU for a short amount of time until my IV came out the next day. He had a healthy cry and was very resistant to being swaddled, and had to have his hands and feet sticking out. I called him my baby burrito and little jack rabbit, because he had the biggest feet I’d ever seen on a baby. My dear husband and I took him home and became parents, even though we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. He didn’t sleep much and seemed to be clustered feeding all the time!
My Dr noticed at my six week post partum checkup I was struggling and said I could supplement him. I persevered as I wanted to breastfeed, so I survived on very little sleep, and whatever the nutrition had was gone in one feeding. I couldn’t put my baby down for ten minutes without him shrieking like he was dying. I knew of course he wasn’t, so I took to wearing him in my baby Bjorn carrier so I could get laundry and dishes done. He loved it with being so close to my heart, as I did. My husband had gone back to work after two weeks so I had started a routine to be that stay at home Mom. I started to notice things like how emotional I was and every cry would set me off into panic mode. I knew hormones played a huge role but something was off…
I remember walking the floor up and down my hallway and around the upstairs and down again trying to get my son to stop crying. I loved him so much and he’d screw up his face and cry until he turned purple. I felt like a huge failure and my heart was breaking with each crying jag. And my sanity was shattering as I was surviving on vapors of sleep. I didn’t know what else to do so I did baby yoga to relief his gas, gave him medicine and rocked him till my body was numb and my ass was square. I then began to lock the doors and check the windows one by one and I was terrified someone was going to break in and kidnap my precious son.
At first I thought this was odd behavior but I rationalized and thought I was sleep deprived and that could make anyone connect with their inner psycho! Then I became possessive and hovered if anyone else held him and I just chalked it up to being a first time Mom. And that could make anyone protective of their first born. Then the day came when my son was three months old and my body was aching from one to many nights in the rocking chair. So I decided to take a bubble bath, I pulled back the curtain and saw this disgusting soap scum bath tub ring and I just lost it! I put my baby in his swing and scrubbed the ring and cried and scrubbed until my bath tub shone, and my hands were raw. I stepped into the tub letting the hot warm envelop and cleanse me from my sins. I loved my baby so much but I couldn’t take anymore sleepless nights. I laid in the tub bawling as my son watched me and rocked back and forth.
Later that evening I was doing my nightly shuffle around the house so my husband could be rested for work. Feed my baby, burp him, change him and try to put him to sleep. He would cry the minute I laid him down and the routine would start all over again. He would eat until I was completely drained, he was like a vampire and could never be full for more than forty-five minutes to an hour. I remember walking past the stairs and thinking if I just fell down them then I wouldn’t have to go through this torture! I never wanted to hurt my baby EVER, I just wanted all the insanity to stop and to finally rest.
I feel such shame and self loathing as I re-read that last sentence. It’s not something I’ve ever forgiven myself for and its been eight years! The next morning I was up when my husband went to work. I told him how I felt and what I was thinking last night. I told him I put our baby to bed in his crib and laid on the floor and cried until I was just an empty shell of a Mom. So my husband called my Uncle and he came over to stay with me so I could get some rest. I called my Dr that day but wasn’t able to get an appointment till the following week so I slept off and on all day, feeding my baby, changing him, till my husband came home. God bless my uncle for being there for me, he saved me that day. As I just wanted to walk out the door and walk away.
The next day my friend and her son’s came over and she took one look at me and said go to bed. And they looked after my baby and brought him to me to feed. She decided to call my husband and tell him I needed a night out and she was concerned about me. I told her how I felt and I couldn’t understand this craziness inside my head. So my husband came home from work, and I was showered and dressed up and ready for a night out. I felt like their was an ice pick plunging into my heart to leave my sweet boy. It had been three months and I never left the house without him. I’m the end I knew it was the best thing for both of us. As I pumped a lot that day, and I knew my friend was an amazing Mom, and my son was in the best of care.
We had a wonderful date night and I felt so relaxed and refreshed. Later that night my husband got up to the what he dubbed the “hockey glide walk” rock, rock, glide, glide, walk around the house. I fed the baby put him back to bed and we all fell asleep! It was miraculous moment in time, later that night I woke up in a panic because I thought my son was in our bed and I was going to suffocate him! I looked at my blankets and I could’ve sworn he was really there and I was going to hurt him. So I sprang out of bed crying turning on lights and looking for him. My husband woke up startled and went to check on our baby and there he was safe and sound, sleeping in his crib.
I called my best friend the next day that lived far away and she said I needed to get out of the house and be around people. She assured me it would be good for me and the baby. I could detect a hint of worry in her voice so I agreed. I went to health unit and there was a few Moms there I had been getting to know. The topic from the health nurse Erin was Postpartum and Beyond. After listening to the discussion and sharing a little of my experience I finally learned what was wrong with me. That day I swear I would’ve kissed Erin, as she saved my life. I had felt horrible for so long then I realized it was my brain chemistry and hormones wrecking havoc with me. After that I went to the library and took any and all books out pertaining to Post Partum Depression. I shared what I was learning with my husband and he could see I had purpose and drive again. Other than being the best Mom I could be for my son. Who I love so much my heart aches with that longing.
My son was growing well and I would lay there on my bed and stare up at the light and watch the fan go round and round. Those were the best times as he was quiet, content, and happy. I had test weighed him at the clinic and then fed him, and he was taking in two to three ounces so the health nurses weren’t concerned. I had kept a food journal since he was in the hospital. Keeping track of how much he ate, what his diapers were, and how long he fed. I had three journals and scraps of papers everywhere so I didn’t lose track. I was able to record it all and take it into my Dr. She said I was very thorough, loving, Mother and I was suffering from PPD. So she gave me the choice to accept medication, nutrition, and therapy. I chose nutrition and therapy and I started attending a support group close by my house.
I met up with the wonderful facilitator and my new friend A from Baby Talk at the health unit was there as well. We were given a manual to read and follow with homework sections. It was about putting ourselves first with rest, proper nutrition, hydration, and socialization. A and I began to bond our babies never slept, ate all the time, and we were walking Mombie’s before The Walking Dead was created as a television series. We spent a lot of time together and she was the one I prayed to God for to help me through my crisis, and gain some understanding. Every since her baby girl reached back and grabbed my son’s giant feet while we were feeding our babies, we were destined to meet.
She is my sister from another mister and we’ve seen each other through another child in our family’s and deaths in our family tree. She has been my rock through thick and thin and her and her family are my own. Even though we live far apart we’re never to far away with social media or a phone call. Our children still have a bond even though they go months without seeing one another. When they are together it’s like they never were apart. Much the same as for us Moms. We walked a very dark path together and have found the light and survived PPD. A. taught me that I’m human being, a wonderful Mom, a loving wife, and a survivor. I admire her courage, bravery, honesty, and the fact that when she wants to give up she admits it, then jumps right into the ring of life again. The journey we take with our children now is a neurological one and we stand by each other sides brave and true.
I owe my survival of Post Partum depression to her friendship, my husband’s unwavering love and support, and the help of my network of kindness from far away. I will agree with Hey Sweet Little Things blog that PPD and any mental health issue are taboo subjects by many in society. They need to be talked about and shared without shame or ridicule. My beloved Mama always said when times were tough life was always better with red lipstick, rouge, and dark sunglasses. And my sweet Gram said that if you had love, laughter, and a cup of tea you could get through anything. I’ve lived my life on these these very wise philosophies. So each day I live, learn, and forgive myself one day at a time.
This story has been written for my Blogging 101 assignment. Getting to know your neighbours by reading their blog and commenting. After commenting write about why it inspired you. Thank you for reading today, and please check out http://heysweetlittlething.wordpress.com. She has a wonderful blog and I’m so happy I found it to start my healing journey. ?
This beautiful art used with permission from Arna Baartz www.artofkundalini.com
6 thoughts on “Living, Loving, and Surviving”
I also suffer with depression, one of those taboo illnesses that is “all in your head”. Mine started around the time my son was 3, when I was downsized out of my job. But reflecting as I do so often, could probably be traced to undiagnosed PPD. I fight with it every day and I think I win more days than not. Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you so much for reading and sharing yours Laura! It takes great courage to do so, I really appreciate it. I struggle with depression and anxiety and like you, sometimes I win and other times I’m trying to make friends with my fears. All the best to you. ??
I found the video posted here, lukehood83.wordpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/14/ajahn-brahm-and-i/ by fellow Blogging 101 very though provoking, maybe you will enjoy it.
I will go check that out, thank you for sharing the link. ?
very helpful story, beautifully written and engaging. There are ways to not feel shame and self loathing NOW tho, referring to when you read back on the sentence you wrote ‘falling down the stairs’ . you CAN feel happy and full of love for your prior self and the intensity of emotions you were going through back then, it is possible (believe me!) and a relief too 🙂 lots and lots of love , Arna
Oh thank you my beautiful friend. Yes I love myself and I need to forgive myself for that moment in time. I thank God everyday that I got the help I needed right away. And the friendship that formed as a result of the pain is my greatest gift. The love I have my son during that dark time was my guiding light. Thank you so much for reading and for allowing me to use your beautiful angel. Lots of love and respect to you. ???