This is a blog that I have written in my head many times, but have yet to share. Not because I fear putting this information out there, but mostly because I wasn't sure how I wanted to approach it. With humor? Medical facts? Also it isn't something you just bring up in conversations, so I wasn't sure how to begin to talk about it.
Enter, stage left, Things I'm Afraid to Tell You. It's all over the blogosphere and it is so freeing to read that people with perfectly styled homes and adorable children don't have it all together. And I felt like it was the perfect time to discuss something I've been dying to talk about for some time.
So here goes..
About four months after Hunter was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. It's no secret that after you have a baby, your hormones are out. of. con. trol. In the first two weeks I was home, I cried over everything: breast feeding, limited movement due to my episiotomy, no blueberry yogurt in the fridge. I left the house for no more then 45 minutes for a doctor's appointment and when I got home I was bawling my eyes out because I missed Hunter so much. It's just awful.
Eventually, I began to even out and found a "new" normal. I didn't feel like my old self, and I credited it because I was a different person now: I wasn't Lizzie anymore, I was Hunter's mom and this was a change I accepted. However, I started to realize that no matter how much my life had changed, certain feelings I had were not normal.
First off, I want to be very clear: I never had any desire to hurt either Hunter or myself. NEVER. I know that these can be signs of PPD, but I never experienced it. What I did have was a lot of depression. I couldn't get excited about upcoming events, and I felt very detached from the people around me, include JEGs and Hunter. I had a hard time concentrating on any task and I couldn't remember anything. Even though I never wanted to hurt Hunter, I lived in fear of doing something to hurt him. I refused to carry him into our kitchen because I was afraid I would drop him on the tile floor. I was afraid to leave the house because I thought someone would rear-end me in the car and hurt him. I was afraid to leave him at daycare because what if something happened and I couldn't get to him? I spend an entire afternoon upstairs because I was afraid I would drop him if I tried to carry him downstairs. I literally stood at the top of the steps and hyperventilated as I imagined him tumbling down.
I was in complete denial that anything was wrong with me. I thought I was just in a "funk" and fought to get out of it. When I didn't feel better, I got frustrated with myself and the depression deepened. Finally, as we got ready for bed one night, I tearfully confessed to JEGs that something was wrong and I needed help. I made an appointment with my family doctor and was prescribed Zoloft. After about two weeks I started to feel like me -- a feeling I didn't think I would ever feel again.
Through this whole process I've realized that even though I am 'Hunter's Mom', I can still be 'JEGs' wife', 'PoppaBear's co-worker', and, most importantly, 'Lizzie'. I'm not saying it isn't hard to juggle all these different roles, because lawdy is it hard, but I can be more then just a machine-driven-child-provider.
I am not looking for sympathy or pity parties, or even apologies for not knowing; I am not ashamed of what I have gone through, and I don't think any mother should be. I have found once you start talking about PPD, you begin to find other's have experienced it. My hope is that this confession makes other mothers and mothers-to-be comfortable enough to know that if you don't feel quite right, it is OK to admit it and ask for help. We as a society pit mothers against each other, forcing us to compare ourselves and feeling like we are coming up short (don't even get me started on TIME's article).
I'm still on the Zoloft and probably will be for another couple of months. I have my good days and there are days when the anxiety builds. I try to take my medication every day, and I keeps JEGs in the loop with how I am doing.
And now it's out there for the world to see. And I feel so much lighter to have unloaded it.
Always & Forever,