Rain Rain Go Away

31 Oct

April writes:

Does it go away? How can you tell? I have ppd. first time blogging but who can answer this but someone who knows. I am getting treatment and I am getting better. Anxiety is gone and I sleep now. I just want me back completely. I fear it will come back and I think that is holding me back from moving on. I feel consumed by this. There is no support groups where I live.

April, we’ve been there. Many of the women who interact on this site have sat where you sit, wondered the same things. You are not alone.

But it struck me, your fear of never moving past the depression, your want for you back.

I suffer from Bipolar, which was aggravated by pregnancy, and exploded out of me during the post partum period, nearly manifesting itself in psychosis. I tried to convince my husband to give her up for adoption. I thought about walking into the woods behind our house, sometimes with her, sometimes without her. I fixated on ending my life, sometimes fantasized about ending hers.

It was one of the worst periods of my life. The loathing I felt for myself was incomparable. Here I was with a beautiful life-two lovely daughters, a caring and loving husband, a good job, a house, a comfortable middle class existence. And yet I wanted to kill my weeks old daughter, and off myself as well. It didn’t make sense. I should have been happy! Hell, the world was telling me I should be happy.

And April, that just compounded it even more. I wasn’t the uber mother society tells us to be-you know the one-she who has a great job, cooks great meals, is great looking and above all loves her children more than life itself. I just wasn’t her. My sense of self dwindled and dwindled to almost nothing. I felt like I was beginning to not exist.

So why not kill myself?

Eventually I started to get treatment-convinced by my inlaws who my husband had called to our home a province away in a panic. Convinced by my family that what I was feeling was just not normal. Convinced by a lactation consultant who listened dumbfounded on the phone as I sobbed and sobbed when she asked a simple question about breastfeeding.

I got better. Sorta. I’m still sick, but it’s not PPD. Thankfully, that ended once I stopped beating myself up about everything, and got into therapy.

My first and best advice is this: Focus on now. I was able to get through that first hellish year (I don’t even like babies, which didn’t help) by focusing on the small things-the wonder in her eyes as she saw snow, her first steps, her interactions with her sister. I focused on each day, and didn’t look past it. Frankly, I don’t remember too much of her in that first year. I was focused on making things better for me.

It worked. Perhaps it’s a sacrifice some won’t make, but I had to make it. I don’t remember the first time she sat up, or when she rolled over. But I remember the relief I felt as she smushed icing in her ears on her first birthday.

Then April, focus on you. Do something, anything just for you, be it learning to knit, taking dance lessons or hogging the Chunky Monkey. You need space to heal, and space to find your new voice. Being a mother, becoming a mother is hard work. There’s no switch you turn on and frankly, some of us just suck at figuring it out. You need some quiet to find your footing. How can you be there for someone else if you can barely be there for you?

Lastly, admit that it does suck. Babies suck! You spend so much time gratifying this little thing which rarely does anything back for the longest time. You have to carry it everywhere, feed it, clean it-it’s hard work with few rewards for awhile! So admit it-it’s boring drudgery. No one says you have to enjoy it. I personally love toddlers-2-3years is just awesome. Younger than that, I can’t deal with it. I’m honest enough with myself to know my limitations. Sometimes I mourn the baby years I missed. But I refuse to feel guilty about it anymore.

PPD does go away. It does get better. With time. Give yourself some.

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5 Responses to “Rain Rain Go Away”

  1. charlotteotter November 1, 2007 at 2:25 am #

    Having a baby, and then two more, was the hardest thing I ever did. I was lucky enough not to have PPD, but my world was turned upside down and it took me years to get my breath back and say ok, this me and I feel whole again. It’s a shattering experience. But how great that there’s support out there – like this post – for mothers who are suffering so that they can find empathy and understanding.

  2. nursemyra November 1, 2007 at 5:53 am #

    that must have been a really really hard time for you.

    was the PPD only when you had your second child? or did you have it both times?

  3. thordora November 1, 2007 at 6:56 am #

    Myra-I had it both times, but with my first it was a cakewalk in comparison. The second pregnancy kicked the bipolar into high gear. It was NOT pretty.

  4. daisybones November 1, 2007 at 9:45 am #

    See, ‘Dora, this is what I love about you. That you take your experience and you reach out with it like a small but brilliant flame in the dark. Your empathy and nakedness is so inspiring to April, (I hope) and me and others.

  5. Gabriel... November 2, 2007 at 3:58 am #

    “There is no support groups where I live.”

    There are always support groups. If you can’t find a physical space where meetings are held — a church, a library, after hours at a school, then there’s help you can find by phone or through the Internet. If you feel a need to connect to people who have gone through what you’re going through then you need to look through the phone book for (in Canada) your local Canadian Mental Health Association. Wherever you’re receiving treatment should be able to help you find one. Or look up ‘PDD+your community’ on Google. Or just ‘PDD’ to find the online groups you can become a part of… or keep coming through here, T. Dora’s got a great community of people who know all about what you’re going through.

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