A good friend of mine nicely reminded me that in the midst of me figuring out how to enhance my site and grow my site it didn’t mean that I needed to take three weeks off. In other words…the journey was missed. It was by far the sweetest nudge I’ve received in awhile. So this, my friend, is for you. Thank you for the much-needed push.
We can never truly know or understand what one is going through. What many of you don’t know is that during the birth of my second child I suffered from postpartum depression. From what I am told, it was mild, (If there is such a thing as “mild postpartum”). I knew something was a little weird months before I had my daughter. I felt unbelievably aggressive at moments, out of control at other times and would cry once I realized that I was in the wrong or right. I even went as far as talking to a midwife instructor in private to discuss my concerns. I’m glad I did. Realizing the signs was helpful.
There are numerous adjectives to describe how one feels while going through postpartum depression. I myself felt like a failure, had self-despair, was ashamed and embarrassed, to name a few. The problem with feeling all these emotions is never tying the emotion to postpartum depression. I, could not have postpartum. Postpartum was for women who couldn’t bond with their child, for those who felt as if they could do harm to themselves or newborn. I felt none of those feelings. I was actually happy at moments. I bonded instantly with my daughter. I was thrilled at being able to nurse her for I couldn’t nurse with my first child. However, I secretly cried every day for three weeks straight.
Somehow, I was able to escape unnoticed the first two weeks. I simply made up an excuse to take a shower each day I felt it coming on. I’d quietly lock the bathroom door and turn on the water for my shower. Before my right toe could touch the base of the tub the tears would begin. Some days I’d hug myself tight while other days standing up too cry was to much. I lay in my tub in the fetal position and cry uncontrollably, all the while praying the sound of the shower would drain out my moaning sobs. Once the crying stopped, I’d take a minute to catch my breath, wash up and allow the water to wash my face of any tear stains. I’d dry off, get dressed and open the bathroom door with a refreshing smile, as if completely breaking down never happened.
Somewhere in my third week my luck and/or timing ran out. I was holding our daughter and staring at her as she slept. She seemed so peaceful. I then looked at my son (then 13 years old) as he watched television and an overwhelming since of failing my two children as a mother took over my body before I got a chance to excuse myself and escape to the bathroom. I was caught! Tears streamed down my face soaking my three week old’s blanket and I could not bare to look left or right. I had become a catatonic mute within seconds. Embarrassed at being caught (my mother, son and love were now paying me attention), I passed the baby to someone (can’t remember who) and ran to my shelter…the bathroom.
My love entered our small bathroom seconds later and I couldn’t bare to look at him. Guilt at not being or feeling strong enough as a woman or mother took the place of embarrassment. He slowly closed the door and got my mother. My mother said two words as she entered, “What’s wrong?” I felt as if the wicked witch Ursla from The Little Mermaid handed me the box with my voice in it out of pity, because in that moment I let out a shrieking cry followed by mumble jumble words trying to express how I felt. How I felt was like a complete failure, undeserving of another child and simply unable to manage. I do believe as mothers and fathers we possess the power to be who we really are as parents, “Guardian Angels” over our children. My guardian angel…my mother said many soothing things as she held my face in her hands. I do not remember them all because her eyes, her mere presence and her touch spoke volumes of serenity, strength and love to me in a way that only one who loves you unconditionally can do.
I tell this story now because a few friends and friends of loved ones seem to be going through the same thing unknowingly. I speak of it now because husbands, boyfriends and spouses are unaware of how strong the imbalance, wear- and- tear of a pregnancy and delivery can be. I speak now because we, the ones giving birth, are often times unaware.
My friend, when she makes you feel as if you are not good enough it is often because she feels this way inside about herself and cannot fathom it. When her temper seems out of control and goes from zero to ten within seconds, she does not mean to lash out at you. She’s only trying to find herself. You can’t imagine what it’s like to feel as if a part of you has disappeared. When she laughs and seems joyous and one hour later she seems bitter and cold, it is not because she hates you or your newborn. It is because she is trying her best to cope with the unpredictability of her new unknown self…her imbalance. She is searching for familiarity, her old self while simultaneously grieving. Subconsciously, she knows that she will never be who she once was. She must face, embrace and come into her new greatness and responsibility. Lets face it, to be responsible for one or many lives is damned right scary.
So be her rock and hold her tight. Remind her of how beautiful she is, for she has forgotten. Talk to midwives, even find a support group together. PPD is serious. It is nothing to be ashamed of. So educate yourself and love fearlessly.
I hope this helps my friend.
With love and strength,
xoxo Journey Ward xoxo
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )