A quick introduction to myself. I’m 30 years old, and a new mom to a beautiful 6 week old son. I am also in the middle of a struggle with Post Partum Depression. Having taken an undergrad in psychology, I was aware of what PPD is and have never doubted its existence. I’ve always managed to balance my life in such a way that I could function, handle, multitask pretty much anything that life threw my way. Heck, I’ve been working in two careers for the past 2 years (my “real” daytime career and my “side” career that brings me tremendous joy). I figured I’d have a few down moments after A. was born but never imagined the struggle I’d find myself in. What’s more, I never imagined I’d be facing it alone.
Maybe I should backtrack slightly…
I had dreams and visions of a natural birth and holding my baby in my arms and falling instantly in love. Instead, I had to be induced after my labour stopped progressing, and ended up having an emergency C-section after my son’s heart rate dropped dangerously low. My biggest fear (aside from not having a healthy baby), was being cut. But thankfully, my son was healthy and I was able to go home after 3 days in the hospital.
The first week was the adjustment I was expecting: round the clock feedings, little sleep, hours blurring together. The second week was when reality really started to hit me. My mom came to stay with us for a couple of weeks (thank goodness or I wouldn’t have survived!) and in that second week, A. started to scream after every feeding. Bone chilling, blood curdling screams. He was in pain. He would scream straight through until the next feeding and then start all over again. This went on for days and days and nothing we were doing seemed to help. It was awful to hear him in pain. He had terrible gas pains that he couldn’t pass. I felt horrible, like I was the cause of his pain because I was breast feeding.
By week three, my mom was gone and my husband was back at work and I was alone with this screaming child with no one to help me all day long. His screaming started to get to me, I started to resent him, not want to be around him and was desperate to find a way to get rid of him so I could go back to my old life where I was in control. I begged my husband to quit his job and stay home with A. so that I could go back to work. I wasn’t bonding, I didn’t feel anything for him other than resentment, followed by immense guilt for not loving him the way all the other mom’s I know love their kids. I felt like a failure, like I should never have been allowed to have this child. I was losing control and I was scared. Worst yet, no one heard me. I’d try to talk to people because I knew I needed support and help and all I would hear in return is “it will get better”, “he’ll settle in a few months”, “you’ll look back on this time and laugh”. True as all that may be, it wasn’t getting me through the dark days. All I knew was that I was suffering, my son was suffering because of me and I didn’t know how many more days of screaming I could handle, how much more I could cry or how much longer I could turn off the horrible fears that one day I would snap and hurt my son.
Thankfully, my midwife listened and referred me to a therapist. I’ve only gone once but it’s a start. I plan to go back this week to talk some more.
So here we are at 6 weeks post partum. I still don’t feel like myself, I’m still struggling but I’m trying. Thankfully, my son’s stomach issues have started to clear (diet change on my part) and now he only cries when he’s over-tired (so about 2-3 hours a day, down from 6-10 hours…whew!). I’m still having lots of bad days and my husband is starting to lose patience with me. I’m trying to be positive and enjoy the good moments but I still feel a distance from my son and am convinced that he doesn’t like me. I know it’s illogical but at the time you’re thinking those irrational thoughts, they make perfect sense to you. Hence this blog. I doubt anyone will actually read it but I feel like I need to air out my crap as part of my healing process. I also know for a fact there are many, many, many of you out there that are going through, or have gone through what I’m experiencing and it’s criminal to feel this alone and isolated when all you want to do is love your baby with al your heart and yet you’re sitting in the corner crying like one because you feel lost and overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks.
If you are reading this, and you know what I’m talking about, you are not alone. WE are not alone. We have each other to count on and I’m going to do my best to write as often as I can and maybe reach someone and we can support one another. I’ll do my best to not have all my entries be “downers” but all I can do is post what’s happened and how my days are going and some of them go really, really badly. Others go really well and those days should be celebrated because they are part of the healing process.