“loser unhappy weepy mom”

24 May

oh hon….

You aren’t a loser. You’re not a bad person.

The first few weeks after birth are not always perfect. Actually, they aren’t perfect at all. They’re full of snot, milk, spooge, poop, scabs, lochia…so many smells and textures you’ve never seen before. They’re full of crying, little sleep, anger, sadness, joy, awe.

The first few weeks after having a baby is like taking your entire adolescence and bottling it up into a month or so. Then shaking it and adding responsibility and your nose.

Anyone who isn’t a little unsteady and unhappy is lying.

Maybe you’re like me, and you weren’t expecting or wanting any children. Maybe you were surprised by what your body did, the growing belly, the expanding breasts. Maybe you were saddened by capitulating to drugs, to their wishes. Maybe you’re sad because you don’t want the baby.

Maybe you’re sick, as I was.

I felt for a long time that it was my fault, that my rejection of my second born was something I caused. I still feel it sometimes, the guilt, the horror I felt at the sight of her. I see my blank stare in her blank stare those first few weeks. I’ve always felt responsible. She wasn’t a happy baby. I wasn’t a happy mother. But it wasn’t my fault.

PPD is a sickness-post partum depression is not your fault, it’s no one’s fault. If anything, it’s the fault of our medical system that it doesn’t do more to root it out, to prevent it, just to understand it. You aren’t a bad mother. You are NOT a loser. So many of us feel this way, after the birth, and long after. PPD doesn’t just go away. You deal with this for years-mother’s aren’t supposed to not want their children, to feel sad because of them.

We’re supposed to be joyous, and happy.

Happy took a long time for me. I don’t like babies. I see infants and I feel a tightening in a my chest, an awareness of all I lost by being unable to enjoy that first year, that year that I lost to my fucking disease. I barely remember my second born as an infant-I was too sick. But I’m past blaming myself. I’m not a terrible mother. I’m just a mother with a sickness that will never end. I’m a mother who couldn’t have fixed it.

My bipolar diagnosis was almost a gift horse-it made me understand that this isn’t my fault. That the weepy, unhappy me originated in bad chemistry, not in a bad person. I’m not a bad person. I’m just a mother with a brain that doesn’t always work as it should. Or it works too well. I’m not sure which yet.

I’m not a loser because of it. And neither are you. Talk to your doctor, your mother, your spouse, someone. Talk.

5 Responses to ““loser unhappy weepy mom””

  1. Netter May 24, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Not to mention the pain of unrepaired tears. We can’t talk about PPD enough. We need to remove the stigma, for all mental illness. But, I think the stigma of PPD is heavier because nothing has been as sanctified and sainted as the glowing new mother. Meanwhile, I was crying and screaming as much as the baby.

  2. Marcy May 24, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    Hear, hear!

  3. Oh, The Joys May 24, 2007 at 12:27 pm #

    I cried for three weeks straight.

  4. allyo May 25, 2007 at 8:08 am #

    I found out about a wonderful organization in my state recently. It’s in Cleveland, and it’s a nonprofit with a program targeted at new moms and ppd prevention. It’s wonderful – they have a free help line, in-home visits, support groups, and access to resources so that no new mother, regardless of financial situation, has to go without help.

    It’s a much needed resource for the moms, but also goes a tiny way towards normalizing ppd and the needs of new moms.

  5. Gwen May 25, 2007 at 10:44 am #

    I agree that PPD needs to be talked about as much as possible.

    And if it’s any consolation, I don’t like babies either. At all. I tolerated my own because they were my own but I am not a baby person. And I’m okay with that!

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